Ahad, 16 Februari 2014

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Striking out as your own boss

Posted: 16 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

WHILE many of his peers have just started working, Mohamed Juffrie Mohamed Juma'at, 24, runs his own videography firm. "I have the freedom to direct and I can choose which projects to take on and pick the crew I want to work with," he says.

The bachelor graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a diploma in new media in 2009. He started working as a freelance videographer in 2010 while doing national service and set up his own firm last year.

The desire to be rid of office routine and answering to bosses, and the wish for empowerment, flexibility and job satisfaction are driving many young graduates to start their own businesses.

Experts from universities and human resource firms say the trend has been growing since 2009.

Associate Professor Hooi Den Huan, director of Nanyang Techno­logical University's Nanyang Techno­preneurship Centre, estimates that the number of students striking out on their own after graduation has jumped "by about 50%" from 2009 to last year, although the base figure remains small.

At the National University of Singapore (NUS), more graduates from the NUS Overseas Colleges programme are returning to start companies, says Dr Lily Chan, chief executive of NUS Enterprise.

The programme arranges internships for students in start-ups overseas, such as Stockholm in Sweden and Silicon Valley in the United States. "There are more than 100 start-ups by returning students since 2005," she says.

The Singapore Management University says it has 174 students who started 58 ventures over the last three to four years.

Experts say the trend shows that young Singaporeans are becoming more adventurous.

Associate Prof Hooi says one reason for the greater willingness among younger Singaporeans to venture out is that they do not feel as much pressure to bring home a pay cheque as people 10 to 20 years ago did. "Many kids these days are well-provided for and have understanding parents, who support their plans," he said.

Juffrie recalls borrowing between S$5,000 (RM13,120) and S$8,000 (RM20,992) from his parents to start his videography business. "They were hoping I'd work in a company but remained supportive. I've since paid them back and make it a point to take them out for meals now that my income is sustainable."

Associate Prof Hooi adds that most students will give the professional ladder a shot first before venturing out on their own.

Being your own boss is not always plain sailing, of course.

Some young entrepreneurs cite unstable income and the lack of medical benefits as some of the cons.

"Some months, when we earn less, we pay ourselves less. The future is unknown and there is increasing competition," said one

"Entrepreneurship is a journey and not a bed of roses," says another. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Number of marriages failing after five years, on the rise

Posted: 16 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

THE first five years of marriage are proving a challenge for more Singapore couples – that is when partners stray, and a rising number of marriages break down.

A study on straying couples by Touch Family Services found that slightly more than half the 164 respondents polled had affairs within five years of marriage.

For one in three, the affairs happened in the first two years of married life.

The number of marriages which ended in divorce under five years rose from 272 in 1980 to 1,268 in 2012.

But those married for five to nine years continued to make up the largest group of divorcing couples over that period – 617 in 1980, and 2,084 in 2012.

The total number of divorces in 1980 was 1,551, and in 2012, the figure was 6,893.

There were 22,444 marriages in 1980 and 27,936 in 2012.

Most of the respondents in the Touch survey remained in their marriages, but lawyers say unfaithfulness is one of the main reasons marriages end.

"From the cases I see, infidelity is the No.1 reason for divorce and it is happening early in the marriage," said senior divorce lawyer Tan Siew Kim.

The Touch study, done over the past two years, invited individuals who had unfaithful spouses to complete questionnaires online.

Close to 1,000 people responded, but only 164 met the criteria of having been married and of having an unfaithful spouse.

The researchers found that nine in 10 of the troubled marriages involved dual-income couples and one in three cheating spouses earned more than S$5,000 (RM13,120) a month.

The relatively high socio-economic status of those who stray was also borne out in an earlier study on infidelity by Dr Terence Yow, a director of Reach Family Service Centre.

He found that 65% of the 227 individuals who sought help at social service agencies after discovering their spouses' affairs lived in four-room or larger flats and earned S$5,000 or more a month.

Counsellors point to several reasons the crisis point of the modern marriage seemed to be arriving sooner, and especially among better-off working professionals.

They say there is a diminishing stigma attached to divorce and some couples are more willing to give up on a troubled marriage.

Elysia Tan, a counsellor at Touch Family Services and part of the research team behind the latest study, said many couples are stressed during the year after having their first child.

"The level of marital satisfaction tends to drop as they transit into their new roles as parents. Some do not feel as important in the marriage or feel they do not have enough support from their spouse," she said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Longest green belt to be complete by year end

Posted: 16 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

SINGAPORE'S longest green corridor was unveiled by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the South West Community Development Council (CDC).

When completed by the end of 2014, Tengah Nature Way will be lined with trees and shrubs to help the movement of small animals like birds and butterflies.

The 13km stretch will connect the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves in central Singapore, to the Western Catchment area where the Safti (Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute) live-firing area is located.

It will comprise community gardens and greenery planted along roads in residential areas to bring biodiversity closer to the neighbourhood.

The green corridor will also create a route for small animals to travel between the two wooded areas in central and western Singapore.

Tengah Nature Way will be the longest of seven nature ways in Singapore.

Work has already started on the longest green belt with plants lining more than half the 13-km stretch.

These were planted by NParks and about 21 community groups, corporate organisations, schools and South West District neighbourhoods.

They include Hillgrove Secondary School, NatSteel and Almukminin Mosque. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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