Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another 100k Foreign Talents Needed in Next Few Months : PM Lee

He is informing us that he will increase the number of foreign talents. His growth at all cost theory is coming back. The disapproval signal is clear but he choose to ignore because he knew that he will definately win the election.

He is not concerned about people, many office workers like me are now working 10 over hours for an 8hrs salary. Some even work 7 days a week because there is just too much work, as this monster drive his productivity programs into our lives. There is no life in Singapore anymore. This is absolutely because of him.
Towkay wrote:
Singaporeans who believe that the government will regulate the import of cheap foreign workers have absolutely no idea how Singapore works.

Let me, the Towkay give you the basics:

1. Profiting Elites and Towkays is the only priority.

2. Cheaper foreign workers can do the job, so why hire Singaporeans? Why? Why? Why? Nobody has given me a good answer to this because they know there is no reason to hire more expensive Singaporeans.

3. Singaporeans only matter when we need you to work for free i.e. free security quards (NSmen), free volunteers for YOG, etc. Again refer to point 1, we earn more if we can get Singaporeans to work for free.
15% economic growth does not benefit me at all.

I am a civil servant, and my pay will not rise by 10% because of the boom. I don't expect 5 months bonus or even a GDP-related bonus. That's strictly reserved for the top of the top, the best of the best, and not for mere mortals like us.

Cost of living is increasing. The cost of food in our office canteen has increased by 20%. Rent is up, so is cost of food.

Big freaking deal about having the best economic growth when none of us get to share in it.

I also hate it when Filipinoes (or Burmese or PRC or M'sian) become HR personnel. Instead of hiring Singaporeans or the best candidate for the job, they almost always end up hiring the best Filipino for the job.
The best thing for the PAP about all this is that the opposition still remains weak and divided, with 50% walkovers by PAP at the next elections still a high possibility, let alone forming forming the next govt.

And somehow they can always managed to make 60% or more happy, whatever the circumstance.

And the minority who are not happy do not dare to openly protest, except through blogs.

And don't forget, those who criticise PAP strongly on the Internet may not necessarily be unhappy, but do for the fun of it. Just like the massive crowds at past opposition rallies compared to PAP ones doesn't mean they support the oppositions as the final results had shown and which is what really mattered.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HDB Flats - Still Affordable

Would be interesting to hear from Mah Bow Tan regarding the latest increases in HDB prices. Are they still affordable?

The prices of HDB rose by 4.1% in the 2nd quarter (April - June) of this year. This rise is also mirrored in private properties which rose more than 5% in each of the last 2 quarters of this year - that is a whopping rise of more than 10% in 6 months. There are many negatives associate with the increase in property prices. Property prices rising much faster than income means that ordinary Singaporeans have to take up more debt for housing. The price rise also worsens the effect Singapore's income gap which is already the highest among developed countries - middle and lower income families have to purchase smaller homes and are unable to upgrade while wealthier Singaporeans more than 1 property can enjoy the wealth effect of higher prices by selling at these lofty prices.

Things are not going to get better with another 100,000 extra foreign workers that PM Lee said will be here in the coming months. They too will need housing and that will worsen the situation. In the recent BTO for Ponggol Waterway Terraces, the number of applicants was 18 times the units on offer. We have a very hot market set to get hotter in the coming months unless HDB does something to meet the demand. One can argue whether we are in a bubble or not. Bubbles are obvious only on hindsight. However, price rise that is so much faster than income growth means that the debt burden for ordinary Singaporeans buying homes has increased rapidly in the past few quarters. For an economy that depends on workers to be faster, better and cheaper, rising debt burdens and increase in cost of living will undermine their ability to save, cause their living standard and quality of life to fall and lower their ability to start a family and have children. The govt is asking workers to be cheaper while it does little to arrest the risning cost of housing.

Last week NMP Viswa Sadasivan urged the govt not to focus solely on GDP growth and use other economic indicators that measure the general well being of the ordinary Singaporean. I would go even further than that by saying that the high GDP growth is negatively correlated with improvement in quality of life for a large segment of the population. For many Singaporeans, the GDP growth in recent years simply translate to increase cost of living without the correspondng rise in wages. It has to do with the way the PAP govt generate such high growth by importing foreign labor. When the economy grows, you see headlines like the on today's Straits Times "Resale HDB Prices hit new highs" but you won't see headlines like "Wages of Singaporeans go up by 5% last quarter". property prices, transport costs, utility rates, conservancy charges rise to negate any economic benefit of growth.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Casino Levy Returned to Community - Minister Lied

With over $200 million collected so, and all given to the ToteBoard, one wonder why the NKF and the other charity organisations are still struggling to raise money, desperately canvassing for donation publicly and on TV Charity shows. It simply has got to be some big white lie by these Pap Ministers. None of them (including the custodian of the reserves - the President) even know how much reserves there are in the govt coffers.
Casino fee given back to public
By Rachel Chang

THE money collected by the two casinos in entrance fees from Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) is already being recycled back to the community.

This is being done via the Tote Board which is given all the money collected.

It then hands them out as grants to community projects, said Second Minister for Finance Lim Hwee Hua at a dialogue with Bukit Gombak residents.

Mrs Lim, who is also Second Minister for Transport, did not specify the types of projects that gained from the collection.

The Tote Board website, however, states that it donates to six areas: arts and culture, education, social services, health, community development and sports.

'So if we have more money coming through, in other words more money will be available for all these different projects,' said Mrs Lim. 'That's one consequence of it.'

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Male Version of Ris Low - found

Hu Hanxiong...

Meet "the male version of Ris Low". That's what some netizens on file-sharing site YouTube and citizen journalism site Stomp are calling this Singaporean.

He's Hu Hanxiong, Mr Singapore World 2010.

The 25-year-old events organiser is being slammed online for his poor English in a self-introduction video for the Mr World finals held on March 27 in Incheon, Korea.

The video was first uploaded on the pageant's website, but has since found its way to YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 8,000 times, and Stomp, where it received more than 5,000 hits.

Low, you'll remember, was crowned Miss Singapore World last year but had to relinquish her crown after it was discovered that she had been convicted of credit card fraud.

She was flamed for her bad English and for using nonsensical words like "boomz".

Netizens who compared Hu to Low were particularly caustic about his poor pronunciation.

Hu began his video by saying: "Harrow everybody, I'm Hanxiong, twenty-fise years of age..."

Other boo-boos include pronouncing basketball as "buttsketball", and saying "I love any sports that leads me to a healthy lifespou..."and "warming hospitality".

Netizens also jeered at how often Hu blinked his eyes in the video, with one claiming he blinked more than 65 times in the 30-second clip.

When The New Paper contacted Hu over the phone at work, he called the video "tragic".

He had first seen the clip when he was competing in Korea and wished he could record it again.

He is aware of the brickbats on YouTube.

Sounding light-hearted throughout the interview, he added: "While I was waiting for my turn to film the video clip, I had prepared in my head what I was going to say.

"I wanted to talk about how I prepared for the competition, and how much I loved Korea.

"But when I sat down to do the video, the producers (from the UK) told me that I only needed to give my name, age, where I was from and my hobbies."

He confessed that he got nervous and tongue-tied.

It was hard to fill up those 30 seconds, he said. Hu, who was unplaced in the finals, also didn't want to do a second take like some of the other pageant contestants allegedly did.

"The producers had spent the whole day filming and they weren't in a very good mood. I wanted to make Singapore proud by going for just one take.

"I didn't want them to think that Singaporeans can't speak proper English," he admitted.

When asked about the excessive blinking in the video that netizens complained about, he explained that there were several strong spotlights shining on him during filming, which made his eyes very dry.

He admitted that he was initially upset by the harsh comments,but he has learnt to take things lightly.

"Everyone has their point of view and I can still accept their criticism," he said.

"They don't know me and I can't tell every one of them that I'm not that bad in real life."

During the interview, even though Hu's English was occasionally ungrammatical , he spoke confidently and conveyed his thoughts well enough.

Hu said he barely spoke English in school and was more fluent in Mandarin.

On being called Mr Ris Low, Hu said he thought it was funny, especially because they are friends. They met when she took part in Miss Singapore World last year

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kerin Peh Finally Did It

They say if you don't succeed the first time, you must keep trying until you succeed. Kerin seemed to have this dogged determination to do just that, but in her case, her strength lies in wanting to end her life. There is really no competition to talk about here. She finally won her right to kill herself on Monday night. I strongly believe this has nothing to do with the Argentinians getting bashed by the Germans or the Spanish win over Paraguay.

At least she has a more valid reason to kill herself than those young punks who leapt off the balcony of FoxConn's Iphone City.

Ms Kerin Peh, 27, is believed to have jumped from the block where her family lives at Hougang Ave 8. Paramedics who arrived at the scene around 2am, pronounced her dead.

The widow of bridegroom Vernon Leong, who mysteriously fell to his death from the Hilton Hotel on the night of his wedding last November, died early Monday.

Last December, she also tried to take her life by slashing her wrists at the home of her parents-in-law in Balam Road.

Friends of the couple said then that Ms Peh had been an emotional wreck after her husband's death, and family and friends had had to keep close watch over her.

With the monthly MRT suicide quota rising, and those who gas or smoke themselves to death, one wonders what kind of help are the PAP members doing to help, besides talking about it in Parliament and interviews.

What have the PAP done to repair shattered lives, besides helping to shatter lives with their fines, prison terms, long queues, packed trains, costly homes and cars, and money-sucking technologies?

Miss Kerin Peh, 27, the widow of the groom who fell from Singapore’s Hilton Hotel a few hours after their wedding dinner in Nov 2009 has been admitted to the A&E department of Tan Tock Seng Hospital on yesterday morning. She was found with cuts to both her wrists and the Police has classified the case as attempted suicide.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force and the paramedics who arrived at Kerin Peh’s parents-in-law’s home found her unconscious on a bed with some unidentified pills beside her.
Widow falls to her death
She had been an emotional wreck since her husband’s death and had slashed her wrists soon after the incident

By Kimberly Spykerman & Ted Chen

THE widow of a man who mysteriously fell to his death from the Hilton Singapore hotel on his wedding night last November was herself found dead yesterday.

Ms Kerin Peh, 28, fell from the sixth floor of a 12-storey HDB block opposite her family home in Hougang Avenue 8 around 2am.

A member of the public called for help after seeing her bleeding, motionless body lying face-down at the bottom of the block.

Paramedics pronounced her dead 15 minutes later.

Ms Peh had been an emotional wreck ever since her husband’s body was found in the driveway of the Orchard Road hotel on Nov 4, just hours after their wedding banquet.

She tried to take her own life a month after the incident by slashing her wrists in a bedroom of the Balam Road flat belonging to her parents-in-law.

Unidentified pills were found beside her, and she was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Since then, her family has kept a sort of ’suicide watch’ on her.

What happened to her husband, computer peripherals salesman Vernon Leong, 31, remains a mystery, and his case is due to appear before the coroner’s court, but no date has been given.

The couple had a suite on the 10th floor of the hotel. After the dinner, they adjourned to the room with a few friends where they had more drinks and continued the celebration.

Friends contacted later said the mood that night was merry.

After everyone had left, Ms Peh took a shower. But after she emerged from the bathroom, she discovered that her husband was not in the room and raised the alarm.

Security cameras showed Mr Leong leaving the room clad in shorts and a T-shirt at about 3am and rushing barefoot through the hotel’s second floor.

Minutes later, he was dead, having fallen from a height and landing on the hotel’s driveway.

No other details have emerged.

Yesterday, neighbours told The Straits Times they had heard loud crying coming from the family’s home around 1am. Not long after, Ms Peh’s barefoot body, clad in pyjamas, was discovered.

Ms Peh had moved back to live with her mother and elder sister earlier this year.

A 72-year-old neighbour said Ms Peh’s mother had watched over her carefully, especially after she expressed a wish to kill herself.

His domestic helper said she had seen Ms Peh with her sister the day before her death, and she ‘looked happy’.

Ms Peh’s body arrived home at around 4pm yesterday.

Family members tearfully declined to be interviewed, after saying Buddhist prayers for her.

About 60 people attended the wake in the evening. When asked if they knew anything about Ms Peh’s state of mind, they declined to comment.

Counsellors told The Straits Times that families need to seek help if a relative has shown signs of being capable of hurting him or herself.

Watching over the person all the time can also be ‘difficult and draining’ on family members, said the executive director of Samaritans of Singapore, Ms Christine Wong.

One option is to admit them to hospital to get the help they need, she said.

‘But this can be a difficult process for the individual as well as the family members, who then will not be able to see and be there for their loved ones at all times.’

Police have classified the case as unnatural death, and are investigating.
I remember one colleague mentioned that when a person chooses to end his life, he is already not himself. Because for one conscious mind to take the very first step to kill own self will take a great deal of "courage" and determination.

Recently, 2 suicidal news caught my attention. The news were on the Korean star and Ms Kerin Peh (I will call her the Bride). I realised how tough times can be, to cause such distress to human beings like us who are educated and "were taught how to handle things in life". Some of us learnt vicariously, while others have to go through the harder way, i.e. personal experience.

Saw some comments about the news about The Bride who took her life just yesterday. Some were sympathetic while others criticised and preached how precious life is. I am not here to judge but I think one has to go through a great deal of trauma to understand. For me, I took a sympathetic stand. Really felt sorry for her having to go through the pain and yet not able to "recover" from the heartache.

As for the Korean actor, it was said that the stress and guilt in juggling his career and his ill dad pushed him to choose this path. He said life was hard.

Indeed, life was very difficult for the 2 cases. Depression is a trap. To get out, you have to be willing to leave a part of you and free the rest of yourself. Some are lucky enough to pull themselves away while others need others to give them a thug. Of course, there are also some who "choose" to fall deeper and deeper.

What we have learnt in schools is somewhat "fairytale" and usually good things happen in life. We were taught the moral values and good behaviours. We were taught how to handle academic topics, how to solve problems in Maths, in Science. Real life experience is hard to teach, no doubt. Still, with the increasing pace and expectation of the society nowadays, the issues on handling extreme emotions cannot be undermined.Groom caught on CCTV minutes before death
Read also:
» Photos
» New groom falls to death just hours after wedding

THE bridegroom who died hours after his wedding dinner was caught on three of Hilton Singapore's surveillance cameras.

Footage revealed that Mr Vernon Leong, 31, headed towards the fire escape staircase on the 10th floor - the same floor his wedding suite was on - at around 3am.

He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts when he left the room. He was also barefooted and empty-handed.

The bridegroom was next seen on the second floor of the hotel approximately eight minutes later. He appeared to be in a rush and was scrambling.

Shops line the second floor and there are no windows or openings. It is not clear where he went or what he did after this.

At around 3.16am, the third time he was seen on camera was when his body was already on the driveway. He was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

During investigations, police found the door of the fire escape exit on the 5th level open. They are not ruling out the possibility of Mr Leong exiting at this floor before he went down to level two.

CCTV footage also revealed that he was never at the roof-top garden on the 24th floor. Before the videos were viewed, this was the most likely place where he could have fallen from.

His wife, Ms Peh, 34, had initially thought that her husband had gone there to smoke.

Authorities are still unsure as to which floor the bridegroom fell from and mystery surrounds the circumstances of his death.

According to Shin Min Daily, the body was found facing upwards.

Police have classified the case as unnatural death and the management of Hilton Singapore has also issued a press statement, extending their condolences to Mr Leong's family and that they are cooperating with the authorities in the investigation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Genting Singapore to divest its UK Operations

Shares of Genting Malaysia Bhd fell as much as 10 per cent today over concerns that its proposed acquisition of casino operations in the UK from its Singapore affiliate was too risky.

Genting shares dropped 28 sen, the most in nine years, to hit a low of RM2.46 before recovering to RM2.62 as at 12.15pm. OSK Research has also cut its fair value for Genting shares from RM3.15 to RM2.55 and downgraded the stock from “Buy” to “Sell”.

Malaysia's sole casino operator had proposed to acquire the casino operations in UK (Genting UK) from its affiliate company Genting Singapore Plc for about RM1.7 billion. It had also separately proposed to develop a video lottery facility at the Aqueduct “racino” which combines racing with casinos.

OSK Research said in a report today that it felt the acquisition and development cost was not compensated by meaningful earnings growth prospects. It also said that there was inherent risk of future “value destructive related party transactions” and as a consequence is attaching no value to the group’s net cash balance.

“We view these developments negatively as the relatively high acquisition and development cost is not compensated by meaningful earnings accretion to the group despite Genting UK casinos’ long established operating track record,” said OSK Research.

It said that it was “cautious” on the medium-term viability of the US racino project pending more details on the development expenditure of the Genting bid.

It also noted that the winning bidder has to pay an upfront US$300 million (RM971 million) in non-refundable payment, which could be deemed a licensing fee.

“As such, we think that the cost of development could easily exceed RM1 billion,” said OSK. Genting said in a statement yesterday that the proposed acquisition of Genting UK complemented its long-term international expansion plans. The acquisition however will have to be approved by Bank Negara and the British Gambling Commission.
S.African businessman gets 7 months' jail for cheating at RWS casino
SINGAPORE : A 33-year-old South African businessman has been sentenced to seven months' jail for cheating at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino.

Sibongile Arthur Mgxashe had committed the offences at two different roulette tables on different days.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gay Hui Yi told District Judge Thian Yee Sze that he first entered the casino at around 10:41pm on May 20 this year.

Mgxashe went to one of the roulette tables and placed his bet after the winning result was declared. As a result, he received cash chips amounting to S$7,000.

Mgxashe received another S$7,000 in cash chips the next day by using a similar method to cheat at another roulette table. However, he was soon detained by security as he was walking out of the casino.

Mgxashe originally faces six charges in total but four of them were taken into consideration. He could have been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years' jail and fined for each cheating charge.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Joscelin Yeo to Marry New-Creation Pastor

From: wiseguy

Wedding bells are ringing for Singapore’s most decorated swimmer, 31-
year-old Joscelin Yeo.

The former national swimmer will marry her boyfriend of three years,
Joseph Purcell, in HortPark on July 9 this year.

Mr Purcell, 27, who relocated to Singapore from the US in 2004, is an
assistant pastor at New Creation Church. Miss Yeo works with the
church’s youth.

The three-time Sportswoman of the Year told The Straits Times last
year that she and Mr Purcell have “similar values which is really
important to me.”

“We click… We just really enjoy each other,” the star swimmer said of
their relationship.

Mr Purcell, who has three siblings, moved to Singapore with his family
6 years ago from Oklahoma. His parents, Joseph and Mary Purcell, are
directors of the Rhema Bible Training Centre in Singapore.

Miss Yeo hopes to have three children as her parents did because of
the close relationship she shares with her two brothers, Leonard, 32
and Gerard, 30. Like Joscelin, both her siblings were star athletes.
Leonard was a former national swimmer and water polo player, while
Gerard was the country’s top triathlete in the 1990s.

While the former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) avoids talking
to the media about her relationship, she appears more open about it
online, posting photos of both of them on her Facebook and Twitter

The swimming champ told The Straits Times that she took on the
challenge of being an NMP because she felt she could contribute to
sports in Singapore.

“There was an opportunity and it’s something I see as an honour. If we
want to be a top sporting nation we need a change in mindsets. We need
people to see the value of sports and we need to allow people to enjoy
sports so that more will get involved,” she told the paper last year.

Miss Yeo, the country’s most celebrated sportswoman, was the only
Singaporean to ever compete in four Olympic Games, starting with
Barcelona in 1992. This was just two years after the then 11-year-old
competed at the Beijing Asian Games.

By the end of her 17-year swimming career three years ago, she had
bagged a staggering 40 gold medals at the Southeast Asia Games.

Graduating from the University of Texas with honours in kinesiology
and health education in 2003, she now works full-time in the New
Creation Church’s youth ministry.

After blazing a trail of glory in Singapore’s sporting history and
even dabbling briefly in local politics, a walk down the aisle is the
icing on the cake for this swim queen.

Singapore workers' median wage to rise to $3100

ESC targets $3,100 median wage for S'pore worker

SINGAPORE: Raising the wages of the average Singapore worker by one-third in the next decade is one target of the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC).

This would mean moving from a median wage of $2,400 today to about $3,100 in 10 years.

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that to achieve this, Singapore must have workers with top quality skills and make the island one of the top liveable cities in the world.

He was speaking at a dialogue on the ESC Report and Budget 2010.

Singapore has never had it as good as now, and for the next five to ten years, said the Finance Minister.

The opportunities play to the country's strengths and its companies.

One area is that of urbanisation, with prospects in water management and sanitation, and organising a city that's liveable.

Mr Tharman said: "Everything to do with urban management, water, sanitation, clean air, traffic management, organising a city that is liveable, that is something we have some experience in, and where we have something to offer and something we are seeing a growing number of Singapore companies developing as leading specialists.

"So it's a trend that will play to our advantage. And it's not just Asia, it's an emerging market as a whole. The number one problem that they have is water management.

"The second reason why things have never been so good for us is the middle-class services - there's a huge wave of demand emerging in Asia from healthcare, travel, better education, entertainment, financial services, things that play to our strength, things that play to the experience we have and the products we have introduced in the market over the years and we have a whole slew of Singapore companies."

But a bigger challenge is to meet these opportunities with a limited manpower.

Mr Tharman said: "It's a bit of a puzzle as to why despite a good education system, good schools system and one of the better rated university system in the world, we are not achieving as much with the workforce in terms of skills, expertise and therefore productivity - there is a gap.

"And it requires a different motivation, moving beyond paper qualifications towards wanting to become expert on the job, more of us must want to be like that.

"Not just wanting to do something competently, being honest, being diligent but being very good at it.

"And how do you get this different motivation going? It's not just about incentives, it's not the promise of bonuses, it is the feeling that they are contributing to the company as a whole and the way the industry is moving ahead.

"That motivation is important. And secondly, they want to feel empowered."

Mr Tharman went on to say: "What we really have to do when we talk about raising productivity is raise our game in every regard - higher skills, higher standards, higher aspirations, transform our economy in every sector so that we can take advantage of these opportunities.

"Grow productivity, grow wages and grow profits. That's what it really boils down to.

"The opportunities are large, the challenge of achieving growth with a limited labour supply is also daunting but we can raise our game and make the most of these opportunities in the next five to ten years."

One way is to adopt the three "R" strategy - Repositioning businesses, Restructuring processes and taking Responsibility for the quality of workers.

Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "Putting in incentives like profit sharing so that the workforce is motivated to raise their productivity and help the company improve the overall productivity.

"But productivity is also a partnership. It's not just about a company making efforts, it also involves the workers, so workers must take responsibility for their own skills upgrading."

In their efforts to enhance productivity, Singapore companies were also encouraged not to repeat some of the mistakes made in other countries.

Ministers on the panel emphasised that improving productivity levels does not necessarily mean down-sizing the workforce. Also, making workers work longer hours doesn't necessarily improve productivity.
Finance Minister aims for median income of $3,100 in 10 years' time
By Cai Haoxiang

IF SINGAPORE gets it right, the income of the average Singaporean could rise by one-third in 10 years' time, and the country will also be one of the most liveable cities in the world, not just Asia.

That was the vision sketched by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday at a dialogue with 600 bosses, finance and human resource managers organised by the Singapore Business Federation.

Putting it in dollars and cents, he said that the current median income in Singapore is $2,400 per month. That means that exactly half of income earners earn more than this, and the other half less than this.

But if Singapore succeeded in remaking the economy and seized opportunities that played to its strengths, the median income will rise to $3,100 in 10 years' time.

And after accounting for inflation, the figure will be around $3,800, Mr Tharman calculated.

'I think we've never had opportunities so good for Singapore as what we have seen now and what we are going to see in the next five to 10 years,' he said.

'A whole wave of opportunities is opening up for us, opportunities that play to Singapore's strengths and play to the strengths of Singapore companies.'

These included in areas such as dealing with urbanisation, water management and providing services to the region's growing middle-class in health, travel, education, entertainment and finance.

Mr Tharman was speaking at a panel discussion on the recommendations of the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) that he had chaired.

The proposals, which were unveiled in February this year, recommended new and creative ways to grow the economy for the long term. One key thrust of the ESC's report was to boost productivity growth to 2 per cent to 3 per cent annually from the dismal 1 per cent in the last 10 years.

'It's useful to ask ourselves where we want to be in 10 years' time, what is the sort of Singapore we want to see? And I would just like to highlight three facets of Singapore that the ESC thought of as being desirable and essential,' he said.

First, he said, the ESC wanted to see an economy that has top quality skills to raise incomes for the average Singaporean by one-third in the next 10 years.

To do this, Singapore needs to become a leading hub in Asia for global businesses and high-value, complex manufacturing, and possess top-notch service standards, he said.

A second facet is a substantially deeper base of local companies that were internationally competitive.

And finally, Singapore - currently ranked the 28th most liveable city in the world by human resource consulting firm Mercer - must aim to get into the top 10 of that list, and join cities like Zurich, Vienna, Vancouver and Munich.

But Singapore must be attractive not only to internationally mobile and talented professionals, but also for the average citizen to live in, he added.

Other than Mr Tharman, three other ministers were on the panel: labour chief Lim Swee Say, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office; Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong; and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua.

They answered a variety of questions ranging from tax deductions and productivity to the foreign worker levy.

Reacting to Mr Tharman's comments, economists said the median income target of $3,100 per month was broadly achievable.

'I don't think it's a stretch of imagination, assuming that inflation does not blow out of range,' said Barclays Capital economist Leong Wai Ho.

He also noted the significance of specifying a median income goal target, rather than just a gross domestic product growth goal.

'This implies that they will look at measures and policies that improve the trickle-down effect of economic growth,' said Mr Leong.

OCBC economist Selena Ling also welcomed the target, saying 'it's quite good to have a hard target for transparency and accountability'.

'From the Government's perspective, they must be fairly confident that they can deliver it,' she added.

But Mr Tharman also noted that outlining these goals was not the end of the process for the committee and Government.

'It's not about one report, one set of recommendations, one Budget or one set of measures,' he said.

'It's continuous work over the next 10 years: creative, energetic work across all sectors with a lot of interaction between Government and businesses.'