SINGAPORE: Wanting to create a parent-friendly workplace, Ms Joerin Yao, managing director of human resource consultancy Enable Group, has been allowing employees to work from home since the business started seven years ago. But telecommuting was largely unheard of back in 2013 and some likened the idea to “giving people time off for no reason”, Ms Yao recalled. Fast forward to 2020 with the world in the midst of a global pandemic, and working from home is no longer an alien concept. In Singapore, many companies and workers have done so for nearly two months since a “circuit breaker” shut down non-essential workplaces. For most, the experience is a first and consultants like Ms Yao have been busy helping firms to navigate the shift. Through the process, some are seeing proof that the idea of working from home may not necessarily mean time off or less work done. “This pandemic has accelerated a change in perception in employers,” said JLL Asia Pacific’s chief research … [Read more...] about Goodbye office: Is the future of work in our homes?
What does 3 subdued mean
SINGAPORE: Recession. Retrenchments. Reskilling. As COVID-19 ripped through the Singapore economy, such words have become part of daily life. When the then little-known disease made its way to Singapore in January, few could have anticipated the impact on people and businesses. Very quickly, people’s normal routines – working in the office, eating out, face-to-face gatherings with loved ones and friends – were changed. Firms had to return to the drawing board to work out contingency plans to stay in business. The economy swiftly slipped into contraction, setting a grim record for the second quarter even with nearly S$100 billion in stimulus, and is now set for its worst-ever recession. READ: COVID-19 downturn to be more prolonged than past recessions, slow recovery for jobs market: MAS With uncertainty about when the COVID-19 crisis will come to an end, coping with hurtling changes has been the only constant. Economic scarring aside, the pandemic has, among other … [Read more...] about IN FOCUS: After COVID-19, where are the Singapore economy, workforce headed?
SINGAPORE: Gold has been one of the best performing assets this year. It reached an all-time high of US$2,031 an ounce on Aug 7. Since attaining that pinnacle, it has retreated 8 per cent to a three-month low of US$1,859. However, there are signs that there could be renewed interest in the metal. Its price has recovered above that and, importantly, the movement of the gold price this year has defied conventional wisdom. GOLD VS EQUITIES Since the start of the year, an ounce of the yellow metal has risen from $1,514 an ounce to $1,890 today. The 24 per cent rise has outperformed Singapore’s Straits Times Index’s 21 per cent decline, and the US Dow Jones Industrial index’s somewhat flattish performance for the year. It has also outstripped the pedestrian 4 per cent rise in the MSCI World Index, which is a broad measure of the global stock market’s performance. But it has not quite matched the Nasdaq’s 32 per cent gain this year. READ: Commentary: Stock market valuations … [Read more...] about Commentary: Gold may have lost some of its shine but don’t write it off just yet
BEIJING: The situation across the Taiwan Strait has seemed to be on the brink of crisis since 2018. Beijing has sent numerous sorties of military aircraft to conduct exercises near Taiwan and frequently crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. It has been rumoured that the mainland is considering seizing Taiwan’s outlying islands, suggesting that it is increasingly eager to take Taiwan by force. With the exception of missile exercises during Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996, Beijing has historically been restrained in its military intimidation, choosing to vent its anger through rhetoric or symbolic sanctions. WHY CHINA APPEARS MORE ASSERTIVE? Its recent assertiveness is best explained by its rising military power status and stronger expressions of motivation for reunification. Improved amphibious warfare and anti-access or area denial capabilities mean the military balance is tipping in the mainland’s favour over Taiwan and the United States. … [Read more...] about Commentary: China is in no position to take Taiwan by force
EAST CHINA SEA: Taiwanese coast guard commander Lin Chie-ming is on the frontline of a new type of warfare that China is waging against Taiwan. China's weapon? Sand. On a chilly morning in late January, Lin, clad in an orange uniform, stood on the rolling deck of his boat as it patrolled in choppy waters off the Taiwan-run Matsu Islands. A few kilometres away, the Chinese coast was faintly visible from Lin's boat. He was on the lookout for Chinese sand-dredging ships encroaching on waters controlled by Taiwan. The Chinese goal, Taiwanese officials say: Pressure Taiwan by tying down the island democracy's naval defences and undermining the livelihoods of Matsu residents. Half an hour into the patrol, Lin's nine-man crew spotted two 3,000-ton dredgers, dwarfing their 100-ton vessel. Parked just outside Taiwan's waters, neither of the dredgers clearly displayed their names, making it difficult for a crew member to identify them as he peered through binoculars. Upon spotting … [Read more...] about China’s latest weapon against Taiwan: The sand dredger