Saturday, 5 October 2019

Forum: Singapore kids are where they are because of challenges

Image for illustration only

Examinations are stressful, and slightly different-formatted questions requiring students to think out of the box logically under time constraints are more challenging still. But these are a necessary process of education (Tough PSLE maths paper draws flak from some parents ST wed).

The only reasonable thing to be expected from examinations is the unexpected, and education boards have failed in their duties if exam candidates find nothing but ease, comfort, regularity and familiarity when confronted with a test script.

Examinations are a microcosm of life, full of twists and turns.

Parents have done their children a big disservice if they mollycoddle them through what is but a minor setback.

Life can be unkind, and a little crying better be followed up with a better game plan for the next probing catechism.

Our schools did not get to excel in the Programme for International Student Assessment rankings by setting easy questions that pose no challenge, requiring only regurgitated, effortless answers.

Similarly, Singapore will not thrive unless we continually find solutions to hard problems that won't yield to formulaic solutions which are found in a standard text.

The one helps to prepare for the other.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)


Pre-enlistees can use Safra gyms for free

Young men looking to keep fit before entering national service can use the facilities in six Safra gyms for a year without having to pay a cent under a new initiative announced yesterday.

The six EnergyOne gyms are located in Jurong, Mount Faber, Punggol, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun.

The Pre-Enlistees Exercise Programme for National Service (Prep4NS) will give those eligible access to the gyms during off-peak hours.

Registration for the programme, a joint effort by Safra and the Defence Ministry (Mindef), will be offered on a trial basis from next month. More details will be on the Safra website from next month as well.


Exceptional people: Bus driver in viral video awarded for putting out lorry fire

A bus driver was on Thursday (3 October) awarded for stopping her bus to put out a fire at the side of a lorry after a video of her efforts went viral online.

For her “quick-thinking and selfless act”, SBS bus captain Thian Siew Mui, 38, received the SCDF's Community Lifesaver Award, as well as the Singapore Road Safety Council's (SRSC) Commendation Award, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a Facebook post.

“Her swift actions prevented the fire from engulfing the entire lorry,” added the SCDF.


Plummet of alcohol consumption leading to hugh fall in deaths in Russia

Image for illustration only

A report by the World Health Organization shows that the traditional view of Russia as a hard-drinking nation may soon be overturned as consumption of alcohol fell by 43 per cent between 2003 and 2016.

Alongside this drop in drinking, there has also been a fall in the death rate – by 39% in men and 36% in women.

Life expectancy in Russia is at an all-time high and in 2018 was 78 years for women and 68 years for men. By contrast, the life expectancy for women in the UK is nearly 83 years and 79 years for men.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been keen to portray himself as a clean-living, teetotal hard man and his policy of alcohol control, implemented in 2011 and based on WHO recommendations, has paid off.