More than 9 in 10 internet users in Singapore have facebook

[photo credit: BET] 

Singaporeans are the fondest of using Facebook and WhatsApp, a research by GlobalWebIndex (GWI) shows.

When it comes to social networking sites, more than nine in 10 Internet users in Singapore have a Facebook account. This is higher than the average of nearly seven in 10 globally.

YouTube and Google+ comes in second and third, at 69 percent and 64 percent respectively. Globally, this is 51 percent and 55 percent.

About a quarter of respondents in Singapore who have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts have also “logged in to see what’s happening without posting/commenting on anything myself”.

When it comes to mobile messaging application, 55 percent of Singaporeans use WhatsApp, while Facebook Messenger comes in second at 30 percent.

Globally, WhatsApp ranks third and fourth in Asia Pacific. This is because users in markets like China, the United States and Japan are keener towards using other chat apps.

The most popular mobile messaging application globally and in the Asia Pacific is actually WeChat, primary because it has “a huge active audience in China”.

But WeChat comes in at third place in Singapore, with only 18 percent of respondents who use the app. Skype also ranks third in Singapore, followed by Line and Viber.

According to GWI, social networking is the second-fastest growing online activity in the world. Its activity has risen 187 percent globally and 242 percent in the Asia Pacific over the last five years. Online dating grew the fastest.

Globally, there are four in 10 users who use mobile messaging applications, or a total of 616 million users. This is a slightly higher 46 percent in the Asia Pacific.

This has resulted in the number of users who have “messaged a friend in the last month” on Facebook declining globally. In the first quarter of last year, there were 512 million who did so but this has dropped to 313 million in Q3 this year.

Conversations are also shifting onto mobile chat apps because these apps are free and quicker than using social networking sites or text messaging. Plus, more and more friends are using these apps.

Sources: CNA, TRS


Lee Kuan Yew was opposed to Chinese education

Despite being a Chinese, Lee made English the main language in Singapore and shut all Chinese and Tamil schools.

By Roslan Bistamam

LEE KUAN YEW_300There is an interesting posting by Zainuddin Maidin a.k.a. Zam in his blog regarding how one-time Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was opposed to Chinese education and Chinese schools. (READ HERE

Lee was reported to have said that only he is able to teach the Chinese, meaning keep the Chinese in check. This was mentioned in the book “Men in White: The Untold Story of Singapore’s Ruling Political Party”.

“After 1965, we had to make a decision on the common language. If we made Chinese the common language then Chinese culture would be dominant and it would have led to a breakup in society,” said Lee.

1965 was when Singapore left Malaysia. The Chinese then demanded that Lee make Chinese the official language of Singapore. Lee, however, made English the main language and all other languages were to be given equal status. Lee then closed down all the Chinese schools, colleges and universities and replaced them with English medium institutions. Lee also closed the Tamil schools.

Lee then summoned the Chinese language activists for a meeting and warned them that he would not allow Chinese language to be exploited as a political issue. When the activists persisted, Lee arrested them and deported those who were Malaysian citizens.

It is surprising that Malaysian Chinese are quite militant about Chinese schools and Chinese education whereas in a ‘Chinese’ island state like Singapore they cannot get away with half of what they get away with in Malaysia.

The Chinese condemn Umno as a racist party for not meeting all their demands while Singapore will not give them an inch and yet Lee Kuan Yew is not regarded as a racist or anti-Chinese.

The Chinese lament about why Malaysia can’t be just like Singapore. If Malaysia did become just like Singapore that would be the end of Chinese schools and Chinese education in Malaysia.

I suppose the Chinese should be grateful that Umno is not like PAP and Najib Tun Razak is not like Lee Kuan Yew. If not there will be only one type of school in Malaysia.

I wonder if they have Chinese schools in Japan or does everyone have to learn Japanese to get an education in Japan?

Roslan Bistamam is an FMT columnist

Article first published on Free Malaysia Today on Nov 23, 2014.

How the PM’s son’s email saga could be a heartening development for Singapore: Gerald Giam

By Gerald Giam, on 14 July 2007

Army Second Lieutenant (2LT) Li Hongyi’s June 28 email complaint sent to all the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) head honchos has caused ripples on the Internet for the past two weeks. Much mud has been slung at 2LT Li for his brash act.


“Who does he think he is anyway? He thought he could go to Uncle Chee Hean and complain,” said one of my friends. (Teo Chee Hean is Singapore’s Minister for Defence.)

A “blatant abuse of family ties,” cried another blogger.

As it turns out, the son of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did end up getting formally charged and was administered a reprimand after a summary trial by the military for not adhering to the chain of command when making his complaint.

This incident has also made its way to the international news wires, with Reuters having reported it this morning. Despite all the brickbats that Li Hongyi, Mindef and the “Elite Establishment” are receiving over this incident, I feel that the way this saga has played out is actually quite heartening for Singapore.

White Horses not immune from punishment

Firstly, the fact that the son of the prime minister got charged for contravening a relatively minor military General Order shows that not even a “white horse” (the son of a VIP) is immune from punishment for wrongdoing. I say “relatively minor” because 2LT Li’s misdemeanour was his overzealousness in reporting an offence.

He was not derelict in his duties as a soldier, nor did he cause any injury to anyone. Furthermore, he sent his email only to fellow servicemen within the Mindef Intranet, and not to anyone outside Mindef.

Nevertheless, he was wrong to have emailed the Minister for Defence, the Chief of Defence Force, the Chief of Army and so many other servicemen (possibly hundreds, based on the distribution lists in his carbon copy list). There are many more senior officers in the chain of command above his Officer Commanding (OC) that he could have reported this incident to.

Public spiritedness

Secondly, after reading 2LT Li’s email, one can discern that it wasn’t just some immature rant against the army (like so many of us, myself included, like to write). It was a detailed account of what is wrong with the system of enforcing discipline in his army unit. It demonstrates that this young man was intent on setting things right before he disrupted his service for overseas studies.

Our views of government ministers’ children are probably coloured by Wee Shu Min (pictured left), the daughter of a PAP MP who wrote a very haughty blog last year. 2LT Li’s email is different. It shows a degree of public spiritedness that is sorely lacking in most of our young Singaporeans nowadays.

Complaint taken seriously by Mindef

Thirdly, Mindef took this complaint seriously. The lieutenant that 2LT Li complained about will be court martialled soon and will probably be sentenced to Detention Barracks (DB) for a couple of days. The lieutenant’s superiors were also issued warning letters for not meting out harsh enough punishment when the infraction was first reported to them.

Critics would say that Mindef took action only because the son of the PM made this complaint. If this was the case, why didn’t 2LT Li’s OC and Commanding Officer take appropriate action when he first reported it?

Mainstream media, New Media

Fourthly, 2LT Li’s wrongdoing was not exactly covered up because of his status as the son of the PM. Even before the mainstream media reports came out today, and the chatter on the Net took off a week earlier, the Commanding Officer of 2LT Li’s unit had given a speech to the entire unit the next day (presumably the day after he wrote the letter) about “following the chain of command”.

That in many ways amounted to a public, albeit informal rebuke. Today’s mainstream media’s reports about 2LT Li’s punishment (complete with pictures of the young officer) all signal a gradual relaxing of the Singapore media’s unofficial policy of self-censorship to avoid embarrassment to senior government officials.

It is unclear whether 2LT Li’s charge was issued before or after the news got leaked on the Net. It appears that his email only got circulated widely on the Net late on Thursday, 12 July.

But given that he committed his offence on June 28, and Mindef announced to the press less than two weeks later (on July 12) that he had already been charged at a summary trial, indicates that relative quick action was taken against this offender.

Lastly, there is no doubt that the new media helped to highlight this matter to the public. There would be no Straits
Times or Channel NewsAsia report, nor would Mindef have issued a statement, if not for the fact that this was already a widely discussed issue on the Net.

It is heartening to note that the new media is fast becoming an effective watchdog on the powers-that-be in Singapore.

4 major travel agencies boycotting NATAS fair

The boycott was due to disagreements over entrance fees that NATAS charges the public and how the proceeds from the fair were used, sources told TODAY.

SINGAPORE: The popular mega travel fair organised by the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) has been hit by the boycott of four of the biggest travel agencies here, which are planning to hold a rival fair in March on the same dates as the next NATAS travel fair.

TODAY understands that the breakaway arose from disagreements over the entrance fees that NATAS charges the public and how the proceeds from the fair were used.

NATAS, which organises two travel fairs each year, has been holding the trade shows since 1987. Each fair attracts tens of thousands of visitors and generates millions in sales.

The four agencies, SA Tours, Chan Brothers Travel, Dynasty Travel and CTC Travel, have been participating in the NATAS fair for as long as two decades.

The pullout of the agencies – which are considered the Big Four in the industry – could have a significant impact on sales. The most recent NATAS fair, which was held in August, had 165 exhibitors taking up a total of 1,226 booths. The exhibitors comprise travel agents, attractions, hotels, national tourism organisations and other travel-related companies.


Sources told TODAY the four agencies would organise their own fair next year at Marina Bay Sands and admission would be free. When contacted, the four agencies would say only that a press conference would be held next week and the media would be informed of any developments in due course.

It is understood that other travel agencies and participants at previous NATAS fairs – which have been held at Singapore Expo – have been approached to cross over to the rival trade show.

However, some participants, such as cruise-ship operator Royal Caribbean International, were in the dark. Nevertheless, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said it would continue to take part in the NATAS fair.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, NATAS said: “We are aware that some agents may want to organise another event on dates that coincide with the NATAS fair.”

Pointing out that it had “always been committed to providing an equal platform for all members, whether small, medium or large, to reach out to the public”, the association added: “Moving forward, we will continue to strive to cater to the needs of our members and provide them with equal opportunities to make their mark in the local travel and tourism industry.”

Citing falling visitor numbers at the NATAS fair, an industry player who is aware of the developments said the four agencies could also have been trying to negotiate a discount on participation fees.

The unhappiness could have been accentuated by the fact that NATAS had raised admission fees over the years. The entrance fee for the NATAS fair was increased by a dollar to S$4 in 2010. “When the market is good and people make money, they don’t complain,” he added.

He said his travel agency is adopting a wait-and-see attitude, adding that it would hold discussions with NATAS and might consider participating in both fairs.

NATAS said its next travel fair would be held from March 27 to 29. The venue has not been finalised. “We will do our best to make it a success,” the association said.

New citizen: Not all new citizens want to vote for the PAP

Dear Native Singaporeans, New Citizens and TRS,

It seems apparent to me that there is a preconceived notion about new citizens voting for PAP out of gratuity. It also seems apparent to me that there is definitely a disparity in how the government treats its own citizens and foreigners brought into the different sectors such as education and workplace, even though it may not be an explicit intention of the government. I would like to assure you guys that we new citizens are not all daft about all these. We have eyes and ears to see and hear how the grievances from our fellow native Singaporeans had all went to deaf ears.

new citizen

Please spare me your attention , and before you tick me off the list of “Foreigners” stealing jobs and disrespecting norms and cultures, I would like to say that I am with you in disapproving what the PAP does, and therefore, I am an opposition supporter.

To me, it is very simple, I don’t vote PAP just because they are the “hands that feed me” I am not a dog, and I don’t do it out of gratuity, though I can’t speak the same for the rest of the new citizens. But I would like to appeal to fellow new citizens, and citizens-to-be, to open your eyes and ears more, put yourself into the shoes of native Singaporeans, and ask yourself if that is how you would like to be treated back in your home country. From NS full time and reservist obligations, to scholarships given to more foreigners than local students, to a suppressed freedom of speech, to a puppet-controlled media, to a late retirement age depriving our elderly of the privilege to enjoy the later years, and to many many more unending woes, Native Singaporeans have suffered quietly without protests, under the PAP’s pretext of social security. They have lost jobs to us foreigners in the workplace because of their NS obligations, and theirs kids have lost opportunities and access to scholarships that had otherwise been reserved for some of us. Yet despite all the sacrifices native Singaporeans have made, it did not seem that they have a clear priority above foreigners in many aspects. If PAP can do this to them, they can do this to us too. This utmost disregard of its own citizens is unforgivable, and unfathomable.

Think about it. If your respective government treats your child this way, if your government treats you this way despite all the sacrifices you have made, how would you feel? When I was still in my native country, I had always known that the politicians here are paid the highest in the world. To be paid highest in any organizations, it means you are DAMN good. It didn’t puzzle me as Singapore was and is still a good country, good economy and good reputation. But when I came here, what I saw and felt completely blew me away. How could the highest paid and presumed best government (based on salary), treat its own citizens this way? Yes, they are very good in making money, but they definitely don’t in caring for their own citizens. And it disgusts me how shameless they can be continue drawing such a high salary, despite doing such a poor job.

I came from a country where corruption is rampant, and economy is weak. Although the government sucked in doing their job, and in making our nation better, they still had the citizens’ hearts at its core.

Fellow new citizens, if you are truly grateful of being granted citizenship and a new home here, express your gratuity not by voting for PAP, but by supporting native Singaporeans in their desire for a change. In occasions, you may feel on top of the natives in the workplace or in schools because the government here favours you more, but bear in mind, all these are temporary, and we should not gain at the expense of native Singaporeans here.

A New Citizen, on TRS

Former Singapore PM recovering after cancer surgery: spokesman


Former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is recovering after successfully undergoing cancer surgery at a local hospital, his office said Saturday.

Goh, 73, “is expected to make a full recovery as the cancer was localised and detected early,” his press secretary Heng Aik Yeow said in a statement to AFP late Saturday.

“(He) underwent a successful surgery for prostate cancer,” Heng said, adding that Goh would remain at Singapore General Hospital for a few more days for observation.

Goh served as prime minister from 1990 to 2004, stepping down in favour of current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, the son of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew.

A former civil servant and top executive for Singapore shipping giant Neptune Orient Lines, Goh was drafted by the senior Lee to the People’s Action Party and won a parliamentary seat in 1976 representing the suburban Marine Parade constituency.

Within a year, he was named minister of state for finance and later held other positions in the ministries of trade, education, and health.

Goh was serving as deputy prime minister when Lee Kuan Yew, now 91, picked him as his successor. Lee served as premier from 1959, when Singapore gained self-rule from colonial ruler Britain, until he stepped down in 1990.