Singapore digest news (19.12-24.12)

Photo by:Кофейный репорт Victor9V

Live performances, Christmas markets draw crowds at Singapore malls

Shopping malls are banking on enthusiasm for live experiences and interactive activities this festive season, after two years of COVID-19 restrictions. They are turning to attractions like carnival rides, live music and craft markets to draw in the crowds and boost footfall at their premises. But while the festive spirit is present, businesses are mixed on whether it will bring in any Christmas bonus.


NUS researchers discover new peat tree species

Researchers from the NUS Environmental Research Institute (NERI) have discovered a new species of peat tree in southern Sumatra. The 40m-tall peat tree they studied was found to be an undiscovered species which has been named Lophopetalum tanahgambut. The name translates as “the peatland crowned petal” from Latin and Bahasa Indonesia.

The research was part of the Integrated Tropical Peatlands Research Programme (INTPREP) at NERI which aims to provide a deep understanding of the mechanisms in peat decomposition and revegetation of forests and plantations in tropical peat systems. The Lophopetalum tanahgambut is the team’s second peat tree discovery in southern Sumatra under the NUS research programme. Their first discovery, which is the first new find of a peat swamp tree in almost 60 years, was published in January 2022.


Singapore’s construction industry slowly but surely tackling cost, labour issues

Optimism is building up in Singapore's construction industry, as it overcomes cost and labour issues brought about by recent global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sector has struggled to meet both demands and deadlines, in the face of a one-two punch from higher material costs and a persistent manpower crunch.

Now, firms are slowly catching up. A drop in metal prices has given them some breathing space, but they still have to contend with a labour shortage that has affected their productivity.


Singapore needs more doctors, but setting up a fourth medical school isn’t the answer

Singapore’s healthcare needs will only increase with time. With the number of seniors expected to double in 2030, many more of us will live with chronic conditions such as diabetes, dementia and cancer.

This will certainly mean a greater demand for healthcare workers. We are already feeling the effects of a healthcare manpower crunch, with long wait times at emergency departments – with some patients asked to wait up to 50 hours for a hospital bed in October.

After a recent MOH Holdings tender on recruiting doctors from India sparked debate online, the Ministry of Health has said that Singapore’s main source of doctors continues to be local medical schools, but that foreign doctors are also recruited to help ease workload.


New workplace anti-discrimination law should ensure reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities

Singapore’s plan to codify workplace anti-discrimination legislation, covering people with disabilities among others, is thus a welcome move and has the potential to improve the employment rate of people with disabilities, which stood at 30.1 per cent for those aged 15 to 64 in 2020 and 2021.

But if the law is to be effective in addressing the barriers disabled people face, there is a need for provisions that ensure reasonable accommodations in accessing employment and in the workplace.

From screen readers and sign language interpreters to the installation of ramps, flexible work arrangements and online meetings, they are what is required for people with disabilities to perform on a level playing field to their non-disabled peers.