News Beat
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We bring you news close to your heartbeat!

Our aim is to get down to the micro level of societal matters and cover news that concerns you as individuals, free from political influence and censorship, following the journalistic code of ethics and practices.


This section covers all local news, including events, politics, social, and economic news.

Forum page for citizens feedback and Editorial comments are also found here in this section.

Mature age job seekers face discrimination
We take a look at the people from forty years upwards and find out how they fair in the job market.

Critics concern over social impact of casinos
Different views are being expressed by the public on the issue of casions operating in Singapore. Our reporter gathers feedback.


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  • October 18, 2005
    Mature age job seekers face discrimination
    Mature Age In a city-state where employment of older workers is not protected by legislation, Singapore mature age job seekers are faced with discrimination by hirers.

    Our reporter talks to mature age job seekers and the hirers to find out their views on the matter.

    posted at 1:00AM by Edmond Ng

    Employers are age biased when hiring new workers, according to a report on the profile of older workers in Singapore.

    The report by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department said although older workers have lower turnover and unemployment than their younger counterparts, they are more vulnerable to job loss and longer unemployment duration. This can be attributed to the higher cost of hiring older workers and the perception among some employers that they are less productive and receptive to new ideas.

    Former treasury officer, Melissa Yeo, 45, who has lost her job two years ago, said she has been actively seeking re-employment since, but has yet to receive any offers. Her colleagues who also lost their jobs during the same time have however found jobs almost immediately as they are younger and in their twenties or early thirties.

    "My ex-colleagues and I have applied for the same jobs, and although I have more experience than them in the area of job applied, I was seldom granted an interview by potential employers. My ex-colleagues on the other hand were hired fairly quickly, and this is notwithstanding the fact that I have even asked for a lower remuneration," said Yeo.

    Former information technology consultant, Huang Juncai, 42, who has only found a job recently after being retrenched three years ago, said although employers are careful not to use the word "age" in their advertisements, most still indicate their preference for "young and energetic" or for "candidates between 20s and early 30s", even when the job does not require any physical ability.

    Huang said that while the government encourages people to upgrade themselves through higher education or skills training to gain employability, chances of mature aged person getting re-employed are slim. He said despite attending many training courses, he does not get interviews for the same jobs applied by his younger course mates.

    A comment by a blogger, The Singapore Commentator, said a letter published in Singapore's broadsheet national newspaper, The Straits Times, states that many mature age possessing post-graduate degrees are also left jobless for more than a year, suggesting the mindset that companies in Singapore prefers to hire young or younger graduates.

    An employer of a shipping company said he would "rather train and employ a young school leaver than a slow, over 40 unemployed supervisor" because the mature aged person is "burnt out, not agile, and tend to have accidents at the work place".

    The Ministry of Manpower in a press statement said while various measures can contribute to the continued employment of older workers, success hinges on employers changing their attitudes so as not to base employment decisions on pre-conceived ideas about age. Studies have shown that older workers can perform better in many jobs especially those involving services and human contact such as retail, counselling, social services and consultancy. Mature workers are also able to maintain high levels of performance in jobs that require substantial amount of training and experience such as professional and highly skilled technical work.

    In a recent review on the labour force shows mature residents aged 40 and above increased marginally from 5.4 per cent to 5.5 per cent, with the less educated experiencing a large increase from 5.9 per cent to 6.8 per cent. This group of mature age unemployed with education below secondary accounts for one in four or 24,900 of the local job seekers in June 2005.

    posted at 1:01AM by Edmond Ng

    October 17, 2005

    Critics concern over social impact of casinos
    Casinos Many citizens are expressing their concerns over social ills that may inhibit the city-state because of gambling.

    With the approval of casinos operation in Singapore, our reporter finds out from expert in the medical field, religious leader, opinion leader and and the public their views on the matter.

    posted at 1:00AM by Edmond Ng

    With the approval for the operation of casinos in Singapore, many citizens are expressing their concerns over social ills that may inhibit the city-state because of gambling.

    In February, a gambling related suicide case was reported involving a family of four who have been found dead in unusual circumstances at Tampines, east of Singapore. The victim Mr Simon Lee reportedly troubled by gambling debts, was found at the foot of a public housing block while his wife and two children were found dead in their flat. This incident has triggered concerns among citizens over the social costs of having a casino here.

    According to a private practitioner psychiatrist Dr Chia Boon Hock who has been studying suicide trends in Singapore, 56 suicides associated with gambling have been reported between 2000 and 2003, making up about 4.1 per cent of the 1,356 resident suicides for the period. Of the 56 suicides, 48 were mostly Chinese men between 20 and 59 years of age who are "economically active" and from different categories of profession. Over half of them are aged between 30 and 49 years, which echo recent report from a survey by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), which states similar profile of high-risk gamblers of mostly Chinese males between the age of 30 and 49, and drawing a monthly salary of $2,000 or above.

    In a web site hosted by a non-government organised group known as Families Against the Casino Threat in Singapore (FACTS), petitions of 19,500 names have been submitted in April to the President of Singapore to request the government not to approve the operation of casinos here. Decision, however, was made by the government to go ahead with the casino proposal for economic reasons and FACTS has expressed disappointment. Ongoing petitions received to-date at FACTS web site show the number of petitions has now increased to 29,583.

    "We express our disappointment that the decision to set up the casino was made. We are still opposed to gambling and all the effects of that vice," associate general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Singapore Lim Kay Tham told Agence France Presse (AFP).

    Roman Catholic Archbishop Nicholas Chia has expressed similar regrets over the government's approval.

    "We can understand the economic quantum to the casino, but we are very worried about the cost to human, family and social well-being," Chia told AFP.

    "We will try to dissuade people from being addicted and educate people on the ill-effects of problem-gambling," Chia added.

    "I don't think education can help solve gambling addiction. Once a person is addicted, he or she can lead to self-despondent and other ills," said information technology consultant, Desmond Ng, 42, who is also a Christian.

    "From an economic point of view, social cost may prove too much for social benefits," said Belle Yang, 19, an undergraduate.

    "Having casinos may bring in the needed revenue for Singapore and prevent unnecessary outflow of local currency to stimulate economic growth, but the underlying social cost may be a high price to pay if robberies increase amongst desperate people or even murder for money which is unacceptable for most Singaporeans," Yang added.

    As part of the Government's measure to tackle gambling problems and provide social safeguards for casino operations, a National Council on Problem Gambling has been formed recently to educate, assess, counsel, support and tackle gambling issues. The 15-member team consisting of experts in public communications, psychiatry and psychology, counselling and rehabilitative services, will provide advice and necessary feedback to the MCYS on education programmes in promoting public awareness on problem gambling.

    posted at 1:01AM by Edmond Ng