Best of our wild blogs: 19 Aug 13

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [12 - 18 Aug 2013]
from Green Business Times

NDP Rally speech and Singapore's shores
from wild shores of singapore

Paradise crossed
from The annotated budak

The Wild Side of Singapore!
from Dragonflies & Damselflies of Singapore

Dive against debris? Strive against debris!
from MNS Marine Group, Selangor Branch

Keyhole Sand Dollar
from Monday Morgue

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Paya Lebar Air Base to move to Changi, and Southern Waterfront City

Amir Hussain Today Online 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE — A new air base and a fourth runway will be built at Changi East, with the Paya Lebar Air Base to be moved to Changi later on, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally speech.

The move will not only free up a large 800 hectare area in Paya Lebar — an area bigger than Bishan or Ang Mo Kio — for new homes, offices, factories and parks, it will also remove height restrictions on a large area around Paya Lebar.

This would free up land to “develop new, exciting plans for the big chunk of eastern Singapore going down to Marina and Marina South”, Mr Lee said, adding that the full changes will take place 20, 30 years later. “The potential is there, we can dream,” he said.

Opened on Aug 20, 1955, to replace the old Kallang Airport, the Paya Lebar Airport became a base of the Republic of Singapore Air Force when Changi Airport opened in 1981. Besides being a venue for previous RSAF Open Houses, the air base also houses the Air Force Museum.

The plans are on top of earlier announcements to consolidate all port operations in Singapore that are currently spread across Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani and Pasir Panjang to Tuas, which will also free up space for developments, Mr Lee noted.

These port leases will end from 2027 onwards. The new port will be “bigger and more efficient, almost double the present capacity and then ... make sure business stays here,” the Prime Minister said.

With the prime land in Tanjong Pagar freed up, Singapore can then build a new Southern Waterfront City, the size of 1,000 hectares or 2.5 Marina Bays, stretching “all the way from Shenton Way to Pasir Panjang, from the east all the way to the west.”

In sketching out these possibilities, the Prime Minister said the ambitious, long-term plans reflect “our fundamental mindset and spirit — to be confident, to look ahead, to aim high”.

“If we can carry off these plans, we will not have to worry about running out of space or possibilities for Singapore. We are not at the limits. The sky is the limit,” Mr Lee said.

“We are creating possibilities for the future. We are opening up opportunities for our children, for their children to continue to build, to upgrade, to reinvent our city for many more years to come,” he added.

While very few countries or cities anywhere in the world can think or plan over such a long term, Mr Lee noted that “this is how we got here, and this is what we must do to be here tomorrow, next year and for many more years to come.”

New terminal to double Changi Airport’s capacity
Amir Hussain Today Online 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE — A new terminal will be built at Changi by the mid-2020s to double the airport’s current capacity, allowing it to stay ahead of regional competition and create more opportunities for Singaporeans.

Announcing this at the National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that Changi, which handled 51 million passengers last year, is approaching its limits as an air travel boom lifts passenger traffic. Singaporeans are travelling all over the world, he said, along with others in Asia as incomes across the continent rise.

He gave as an example his recent holiday in Japan, during which he visited Mount Fuji and encountered more Singaporeans than Japanese on the iconic peak.

Mr Lee said other regional airports are expanding to take advantage of the opportunities created by the boom in air travel: Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi are both aiming to serve 100 million passengers a year.

But while they are both geographically better placed to be South-east Asia’s air hub, he said, they are not Changi, and that makes a difference.

“The question,” he asked, “is whether we want to stay a vibrant hub in South-east Asia, or let others take over our position, our business, and our jobs?”

His answer: “I think we must be part of this growth, plan ahead and continually build up Changi.”

Mr Lee, who sketched out plans already afoot to upgrade the airport, including building the new T4 terminal, noted that while Changi is an icon of Singapore, it is more than an emotional symbol.

“It is how the world comes to Singapore and how Singaporeans connect to the world,” he said, adding that it is a reason “we thrive as an international hub for business, trade and tourism”.

The airport and related services provide 163,000 jobs and account for 6 per cent of GDP, he said.

Building T5, which he described as “sounding like a terminal, but actually, it’s a whole airport by itself, as big as today’s Changi Airport”, will allow Singapore to keep its pole position as an international hub.

The move to build the new terminal, the Prime Minister said, is among the “tangible things” being done to build the city and improve the living environment.

Citing Punggol Waterway, the Jurong Lake District and Sports Hub as other examples of this, Mr Lee also announced that there would be another project to transform Changi Airport.

Code-named “Project Jewel”, it will involve converting the open-air car park into an oasis of sorts.

As an animated artist’s impression of what appeared to be a glass-encased dome flashed on the giant screen behind him, Mr Lee said “Project Jewel” would expand T1’s capacity and would have shops, restaurants and an indoor garden.

This “Gardens by the Airport”, he said, would not be just for visitors, but would be for Singaporeans who want a day out, newlyweds taking bridal photos and, he quipped, students studying.

During his speech, Mr Lee also touched on a personal connection to Changi Airport.

Noting that the country’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, had pushed for it to be built against the advice of experts who recommended that the old Paya Lebar Airport be expanded, he said he was a “guinea pig” for Changi.

He revealed how he was among the first passengers to use Changi Airport in 1981, when he was still with the Singapore Armed Forces, and took off on a test flight before it opened to help test the systems.

Mr Lee returned to Singapore a few weeks later, after the move from Paya Lebar was completed, and found Changi to be a vast improvement over the old airport.

ND Rally: Further plans to redevelop Changi Airport
Channel NewsAsia 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE: Passing on a better Singapore to future generations than what has been inherited, said Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong -- that is what the country will do as it continues to create more opportunities and build for the very long-term.

Among them are plans to further redevelop Changi Airport.

Changi Airport has been progressively upgraded since its humble beginnings in 1981.

Mr Lee said it has become part of the Singapore identity. It is also a symbol of renewal and change.

The airport came about after former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had the vision in the 1970s for the old RAF Changi Air Base to become an international airport, replacing Paya Lebar.

Today, Changi Airport is approaching its limits -- handling 51 million passengers in 2012. Capacity will be increased when Terminal 4 is ready by 2017.

Mr Lee said: "Kuala Lumpur International Airport -- they are planning to service 100 million passengers per year. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is also aiming for 100 million passengers a year.

"Both of them are geographically better placed than Singapore to be the hub in Southeast Asia because from Europe to Southeast Asia to the far east -- whether its Hong Kong, Japan or China -- Kuala Lumpur is nearer and Bangkok is nearer still. But we are the hub. Why? Because they are not Changi Airport... That makes a difference!"

More will be done to ensure Singapore remains an international hub, like redeveloping the carpark at Terminal 1 into a 'Jewel'.

Mr Lee said: "'Project Jewel'... will expand Terminal 1. Terminal 1 will be connected with it as to with the other (terminals), but it will have shops, restaurants and a beautiful indoor garden. We have Gardens by the Bay, this one is Gardens at the Airport. Not just for visitors, but for Singaporeans too -- families on Sunday outings, students maybe studying for exams and newlyweds taking bridal photos."

By the mid-2020s, Mr Lee said Changi's current capacity will be doubled when Terminal 5 is ready.

Beyond that, there will be a new Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) air base and fourth runway at Changi East. Paya Lebar Airbase will move to Changi, freeing up 800 hectares of land.

The area which is bigger than the size of Bishan can be used to build new homes, offices and factories. Mr Lee said relocating the air base also removes height restrictions on a large area around Paya Lebar. This will allow for new, exciting plans for eastern Singapore.

Singapore also wants to maintain its position as a leading world port. For this, there will be a new port in Tuas.

The container ports at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani and Pasir Panjang will move to Tuas when their leases expire from 2027 onwards. This will free up prime land for the building of a new Southern Waterfront City.

Mr Lee said these are ambitious long-term plans which will create possibilities and opportunities for the future.

He said: "These are not plans, these are acts of faith in Singapore and in ourselves. Faith that a generation from now, Singapore will still be here and will still be worth investing in for the sake of our children and their grandchildren. Faith -- that we can thrive in the world, whatever the challenges and hold our own against the competition -- bigger, stronger, but we are there."

That faith, Mr Lee said, was vividly expressed in the National Day Parade in the singing of the anthem, reciting the pledge, the radiant faces of participants, and the response of the crowds.

He said: "Watching them, feeling them, made me and my colleagues more determined to do the best for Singaporeans. They bolstered our conviction that it's worth doing and we can do it."

Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to work with the government to create a better future for all.

- CNA/ac

Changi expansion sign of faith in Singapore's future

Other plans include moving Paya Lebar Airbase to Changi East
Karamjit Kaur Straits Times 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE is embarking on the largest expansion of its iconic Changi Airport and the plans include two new terminals and a complex codenamed Jewel that will adorn the east with its shops, restaurants and indoor garden.

Terminal 4 will be ready by 2017. When Terminal 5 is completed in about a decade, it will double the airport's existing capacity of 66 million passengers a year.

"And we have one more trick, outside T1," Mr Lee said. "We will build something special."

Where an open-air carpark now sits in front of the airport's first and oldest terminal, a multi- storey complex codenamed Jewel will be built.

"So we have Gardens by the Bay, this one is Gardens at the Airport!" Mr Lee said.

He also announced plans to move Paya Lebar Airbase to Changi East after 2030. That will free 800ha of land, bigger than the size of Ang Mo Kio, for new homes, offices and factories.

The moving of the military facility, which is the largest of four airbases run by the Republic of Singapore Air Force, will also remove height restrictions on large areas around Paya Lebar.

This "frees us to develop new, exciting plans for the big chunk of eastern Singapore...

"You are talking about 2030 and beyond and it won't fully happen for maybe 20, 30 years after that... But the potential is there. We can dream."

A fourth runway will also be built at Changi East - the location for the airport's future Terminal 5. Changi is expanding to meet growing traffic but so are other airports, Mr Lee stressed.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi are gearing up to serve 100 million passengers each a year.

Both are geographically better placed than Singapore to be the region's air hub, he said.

"But we are the hub. Why? Because they are not Changi Airport! That makes a difference," he said to rousing applause.

These are very ambitious and long-term infrastructure projects, Mr Lee said, but they are not merely plans.

"These are acts of faith - in Singapore and in ourselves," he added.

They reflect "our fundamental mindset and spirit - to be confident, to look ahead, to aim high".

"We are creating possibilities for the future. We are opening up opportunities for our children, for their children to continue to build, to upgrade, to reinvent this city for many more years to come."

There are few countries that can think or plan over such a long term but Singapore has been able to do so, he observed.

Changi Airport was the result of such long-term thinking. It exists because in the 1970s, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had the vision and pushed for it, against external experts' advice.

Today, Changi Airport is an icon to travellers, and for Singaporeans, it is a welcome landmark when they return home.

"But Changi Airport is more than an emotional symbol... It is why we thrive as an international hub for business, for trade, for tourism."

Container port operations will also move to Tuas, freeing up prime land in Tanjong Pagar.

"If we can carry off these plans, we don't have to worry about running out of space or possibilities for Singapore.

"We are not at the limits. The sky is the limit," he said.

A first look at Changi Airport’s new ‘Jewel’
Today Online 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE — The Changi Airport Group (CAG) today (Aug 19) released its concept plans for “Project Jewel”, a mixed-use complex linking Terminals 1, 2 and 3 with the architect behind the Marina Bay Sands leading the team of design consultants.

To be built on a 3.5-hectare plot of land, in place of the open-air car park in front of Terminal 1, Project Jewel will be seamlessly connected to Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Project Jewel is being drawn up by a consortium of design consultants led by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the Marina Bay Sands, and comprising Benoy and local architects RSP.

Project Jewel is being designed to be architecturally iconic, with a stunning glass and steel fa├žade that presents an impressive view of the complex — from both Airport Boulevard and from above. A key feature of the complex is a large-scale, lush indoor garden with a breathtaking waterfall.

CAG said that it is working with CapitaMalls Asia — one of the largest listed shopping mall developers, owners and managers in Asia — on the concept and plans of Project Jewel.

The two parties are also exploring a joint venture partnership to develop and manage Project Jewel when it is completed. This process is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

In a release, CAG said that it envisages Project Jewel to be a world-class, signature lifestyle destination that will capture the imagination of tourists and promises to be a destination for Singaporeans as well.

The complex, which will sit on a new multi-storey basement car park, will offer aviation and travel-related facilities, a wide range of retail offerings and unique leisure attractions.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to create at Changi Airport an iconic global attraction that will capture the hearts of both tourists and Singaporeans,” said Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CAG’s Chief Executive Officer.

“For tourists, we envisage Project Jewel to be a must-visit Singapore attraction, located strategically at the doorstep of one of the world’s busiest air hubs, and an extension of the Changi brand promise that many travellers worldwide have come to know us for.

“For Singaporeans, it will be an exciting world-class destination right here at home, where they can relax and enjoy with their loved ones, again and again.”

As part of the redevelopment, T1 will also be expanded to allow more space for the arrival hall, baggage claim areas and taxi bays to increase the terminal’s passenger handling capacity to 24 million passengers per year.

When completed, Project Jewel, together with Terminal 4, will boost Changi Airport’s handling capacity to 85 million passenger movements a year. CAG plans to increase its staff strength by about 180 over the next four years, with around 80 new employees to be recruited during the course of this year alone, to staff the teams working on these two developments as well as other upcoming infrastructure projects.

Project Jewel was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in yesterday’s National Day Rally. Mr Lee also said that Changi Airport will be getting a fifth terminal by the mid-2020s.

New town could be built when Paya Lebar Air Base moves to Changi: analysts
Saifulbahri Ismail Channel NewsAsia 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE: Property analysts expect a new town to be built on the area once Paya Lebar Air Base has moved to Changi.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced that a new military airbase and fourth runway will be built at Changi East.

800 hectares will be freed up -- an area bigger than Bishan and Toa Payoh.

Analysts said such an area is enough to draw up a masterplan integrating residential, entertainment, and commercial developments. They believe it will probably take another 20 years for the new township to be developed.

Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, said: "Based on the plot ratios and planning parameters, that plot of land can actually potentially build about 50,000 to 60,000 new homes.

"80 per cent of these new homes could be HDB flats and there could also be accompanying facilities such as commercial developments and parks, schools."

Relocating the airbase also removes height restrictions around Paya Lebar.

Ku Swee Yong, CEO of International Property Advisor, said: "In the case of HDB flats, for example around Paya Lebar Air Base, we now have flats in Aljunied and in Tampines going at about 12 to 15 stories. That could now be a thing of the past.

"New flats build there could be 30 to 40 stories as an average height, as well as new condominiums, new office towers -- (all of them) could go up to that height."

Presently, many warehouses are located near the airbase. Property watchers said these industrial areas may also be expanded.

Residents in Paya Lebar also welcomed the news of the move.

"There's going to be (a new) development after that. -- so it's probably going to help us in terms of the property prices," said one resident.

The Paya Lebar Air Base was originally built in 1955 as Singapore International Airport. The airforce took over the airbase when Changi Airport opened in 1981. The airbase hosted the previous RSAF Open House, and also houses the Air Force Museum.

- CNA/ac

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Volunteer youth corps to help ‘change Singapore’

Today Online 19 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE — With many young Singaporeans participating in community projects here and abroad, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday the Government will set up a volunteer youth corps to tap their idealism, energy and passion to “change Singapore and the world for the better”.

The youth corps will help by directing resources to young Singaporeans — especially students in the vocational and tertiary institutes — in the form of funding for projects, time off for full-time community service, as well as grants to continue serving the community after graduation, he said. Mentors will also be on hand to guide and advise these volunteers.

The initiative will match youths with “critical community needs” and help them “make a difference to our nation”, said Mr Lee.

Project NEPAL (Never Ending Passion and Love), which was started last year by Singapore Polytechnic students, was one of the examples that Mr Lee cited of young Singaporeans who were “doing good work”.

Some 30 students, alumni and lecturers visited Shree Janakalyan Lower Secondary School in Nagarkot village in Nepal in the project’s first expedition in March last year. They conducted science practical lessons, organised sports and art and craft lessons, and constructed a classroom and a rainwater harvesting system for the school.

The fifth and sixth trips under the project, which is part of the Youth Expedition Project under the National Youth Council, will take place next month and plans are already in place for a seventh trip next year.

ND Rally: New volunteer youth corps to be set up
Tan Qiuyi Channel NewsAsia 18 Aug 13;

SINGAPORE: A new volunteer youth corps will be set up to give young people more opportunities to work in the community.

There will also be resources like allowances for young Singaporeans who take time off to do community service full time, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally Speech on Sunday.
Mr Lee noted that there are many young people doing good work in the community.

And he paid tribute to Singaporeans who have contributed in their own way, whether it was during the haze episode in June, or in volunteer projects overseas.

The government, he said, will do more to help those who want to serve.

Mr Lee said: "We want to encourage more young people to build a better world, and a better Singapore. You are our future, you're idealistic, full of energy and passion. Go forth, change Singapore, change the world, for the better."

The new volunteer youth corps will give young Singaporeans, especially those in polytechnics, Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) and universities, more opportunities and funding to run community projects.

And for those who intend to contribute full time, there's help coming in -- in the form of an allowance.

The youth corps will also match volunteers with critical needs in the community, which is especially important for those who are starting out.

Mentors will also be available to guide and advise young volunteers.

- CNA/al

Govt to fund volunteer youth corps
Elgin Toh Straits Times 19 Aug 13;

A VOLUNTEER youth corps will be set up to help spur the young to make a bigger difference to Singapore and to the world.

It is for those keen on community service and will be established and funded by the Government.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in announcing the move yesterday, urged young people to step up: "You are our future. You are idealistic, full of energy and passion. Go forth, change Singapore, change the world, for the better."

The new body will expand opportunities for community service in Singapore for young people, especially students from the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities. They may receive funding to start projects and, if necessary, be given time off from school to work full-time on community projects.

Grants will also be available for those who continue to be involved in the projects after graduation.

Young Singaporeans will receive guidance from mentors and be matched to areas where the community's needs are especially critical.

Young people who want to serve abroad can seek aid from the Youth Expedition Project, which will now be part of the new corps. The project, started in 2000, has supported more than 26,000 young people on 1,300 expeditions around Asia.

Among them is Ms Amanda Teng from Singapore Polytechnic, who went with fellow students to Nepal to build a classroom and a water system using rainwater.

"At first, the children looked at us funny because of the way we dressed and how we seemed to be from a different world. But when I was leaving, a 10-year-old boy, Galchen, cried," said the 19-year-old, who was in Nepal for two weeks.

"What I learnt was: the kids there don't have the best things but were very contented. Singaporeans should learn to appreciate better what we have."

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Malaysia: Peat fires in Selangor contributing to worsening haze

New Straits Times 8 Aug 13;

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Fire and Rescue Department has been struggling to put out peat fires at several areas in the state since Aug 8.

The department's operations assistant director, Mohamad Sani Harul, said the department receives 30 to 40 calls a day.

"We regret that most of the fires were started by irresponsible individuals. In some areas, we found that local residents started the fire themselves in order to clear their farm land."

A check around Shah Alam and the North-South Expressway Central Link (Elite Highway) yesterday revealed signs of haze, which limited the vision of road users.

Mohamad Sani said the department had to freeze the leave of the state's firemen during Hari Raya as they had to be deployed to fight fires at Bestari Jaya, Kuala Selangor and Pulau Kempas, Banting.

He explained that sufficient manpower was necessary as peat fires took a long time to be extinguished, and the ground had to be dug up to ensure the fire was really out.

He said the department had been working together with the Environmental Department, Public Defence Department, Forestry Department and various local councils to tackle the problem.

Regarding prosecution of those who started fires, Mohamad Sani said the Environmental Department had the jurisdiction to do so.

As of 3pm yesterday, the air pollutant index (API) in Kuala Selangor stood at 47, Shah Alam (54), Banting (56), while Putrajaya recorded an API level of 97.

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