The first individual Olympic medal clinched by Singapore since the 1960 Rome Olympics should have been something to shout about, except that some of the metal clinched in London is heading back to China. So what's there to cheer up the people Gallup polled "least likely worldwide to report feeling positive emotions"?
The man-made mechanical forest of 18 super trees towering up to 50 meters high in the Bay South garden was finally opened to the public on June 29. Project organizers are hoping the completed Gardens by the Bay will become an eco-tourist destination showcasing sustainable practices and plants from across the globe. The estimated $1 billion undertaking was launched 7 years ago by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally.
Two pandas from China, Jia Jia and Kai Kai, were welcomed to their new home at River Safari in September, a 1,500-square-metre lush and green oasis custom built for their comfort at a reputed $8.6 million. Chairman of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Claire Chiang, was coy about the cost of the annual upkeep and who's picking up the bill, estimated at $1 million for each of their 10 years' paid holiday in Singapore.
Singapore's motorsports industry welcomed the contract renewal of the Singapore Formula One race for another five years. Who cares about the disruption to business when the area goes into lockdown for the three-day extravagance? Apparently not Iswaran, who has yet to present a report card for the economics of the past events, and refused to release the latest financial commitment on grounds of "commercial confidentiality." The cost of each of 5 more races is about $150 million, with the government co-funding 60 percent of the amount.
Madam Tan the 66 year old cleaner was not so enthusiastic about the good news in July from National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), recommending a pay hike of $50 to workers earning less than $1,000. If she accepted the $50 increase offered by her employer, her rent would have gone up from $26 to $111, "I'm thankful that the authorities are giving this increase but I'll be $35 worse off ". Needless to say, Madam Tan can hardly afford the entrance charges to view the super trees, pandas and formula one cars.