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  Straits Times 23 Jul 07
Lead by example on biodiversity

MY LIFE Mr Speaker, if I could address this House... YouthInk readers select a topic they desperately want to bring to the attention of the nation's policymakers

Lead by example on biodiversity

SINGAPORE has no laws making Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) on biodiversity compulsory.

The recent incident at Resorts World at Sentosa exemplifies how a proper EIA study could have avoided the need for a last-minute relocation of the corals in the area.

Singapore's commitment to the environment and conservation via the Kyoto Protocol and the Rio Convention has placed an immense responsibility on us to lead by example.

Even though a lack of economic means and political will is a perceived hindrance towards pro-environment legislation in developing countries, many of them, such as Ghana and Chile, have formal EIA laws.

Singapore may have lost much of its natural heritage, but as a country with means, we should take a firm stand towards preserving the biodiversity we have left.

We can start by formally including EIAs in legislation, and encouraging all stakeholders to take our biodiversity seriously.

LIANA TANG, 22, graduated with honours in biology from the National University of Singapore (NUS)

More about the Sentosa IR reclamation

Train locals in all professions

OUR open-door policy on foreign talent, though well-intentioned, may pose problems. Citizens are increasingly concerned about the lack of integration of these migrants into the population and the stiff competition faced by locals in the job market, which leads to the stifling of local talent.

According to government figures, Singaporeans took up 51 per cent of new jobs created last year, while the rest went to foreigners. Can this ratio be sustained when the economy is weaker and fewer jobs are created?

While we welcome such talents to our shores, we need to increase our investment in educating locals in all professions - not just high-value ones. Hopefully, this can help make up for the current shortfall of skilled workers in Singapore.

KENNY TAN, 21, is a second-year economics student at the Singapore Management University

Need to redress work-life balance

I RECENTLY took up an internship at a notoriously hardworking branch of the civil service. It was a fruitful experience, but it helped crystallise a key social issue in dire need of remedy - Singapore's unhealthy work-life balance.

Singaporeans dedicate undue amounts of time to their careers. Something must give, and it is our personal and family life that has suffered the consequences.

With our stellar communications infrastructure, employees can clearly be given greater flexibility to work from home. I have observed many tasks that need not confine workers to the office.

Yet there remains an unhealthy tendency to correlate an employee's value with the time spent in the office. Whatever happened to rewarding efficiency? Archaic notions of desk-bound employees have no place in meeting the challenges of the present.

ABDULLAH LUQMAN HUSSIN, 24, is pursuing an honours degree in sociology at NUS

Teach CPR in schools, workplaces

IT IS necessary to implement safety measures in the wake of recent sudden deaths due to heart failure. These include that of Police Senior Staff Sergeant Dennis Kok and triathlete Thaddeus Cheong, both of whom were apparently in the pink of health and in their prime.

Worryingly, only one in five who suffer from heart attacks outside hospitals receives first aid or CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). Hence, the survival rate is only 2.7 per cent.

Measures should be introduced to teach CPR in schools and workplaces, and heart defibrillators should be installed at public locations. There should also be a nationwide CT scan campaign for all ages - let us not take any chances.

EISEN TEO, 22, is a third-year history student at NUS

Build religious awareness in youth

BEING a multi-religious society, we have always recognised the importance of religious tolerance. What is often overlooked is the fact that knowledge and understanding must precede true tolerance. I have observed that many young people are indifferent to religious discussions and attribute it to a fear of upsetting others.

Unfortunately, this climate of fear leads to religious ignorance - one that is unstable in the long run. This fear can be reduced if schools educate the young on the boundaries of such discussions. Such lessons can be conducted in the form of enrichment classes, imparting to youth a basic yet important understanding of the different religions in our multi-religious society.

KOO ZHI XUAN, 21, is a first-year law student at NUS

Beware of 'popular vote' pressure

I WOULD like to commend the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) on the wonderful work it has done thus far. Singapore is a resounding success.

Yet it is imperative that it recognises that popular support has gradually declined through the years. The 1984 collapse was an unpleasant surprise. The year 2001 was good, but 2006 reminded us that a third of the voters voted for the opposition, even when ruling party candidates were arguably more qualified.

To the Government: You must ask yourselves if you can juggle forever what is best for Singapore against what its people want. They might just vote you out of office if they do not get the policies they want from you.

EDWARD CHOY, 27, is a postgraduate theatre studies student at NUS

More about the Sentosa IR reclamation
Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues and Singapore biodiversity
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