Excerpts from readers' letters

RELOOK KINDERGARTEN CHANGES

The Ministry of Education's (MOE's) announcement that it would give priority to pre-schoolers attending its kindergartens for Primary 1 admissions is a move that lacks systems thinking and begs further evaluation.

First of all, we all agree every child in Singapore has the right to high-quality school education and that includes accessibility to schools near their homes.

If the aim is to allow for more seamless adjustment for children from pre-school to primary school, primary schools should focus on cultivating a relationship with all pre-schools in the neighbourhood, not just with the co-located MOE kindergarten.

Second, it is regressive and short-term planning to take the easy route of giving priority to MOE kindergarten children to enter MOE co-located primary schools, with all its obvious benefits.

This change could create other problems.

For example, parents are now going to try to secure a place for their children in MOE kindergartens, with unhealthy competitive behaviour.

There will also be less diversity in early childhood education and there could potentially be a greater social divide. There would be a sad waste of early childhood manpower resources if private kindergartens exit the scene.

Lee Meng Chian (Mrs)


WHERE IS 'CHRISTMAS' IN LIGHT-UP?

I was mesmerised by the Christmas decorations along Orchard Road, and was filled with excitement as I walked down the famous shopping stretch.

But my joy was disrupted by the noticeable absence of the word "Christmas" or the greeting "Merry Christmas". It is, after all, the reason for the decoration. What a disappointment.

The street decorations showcase Orchard's gateway with signage which says "Christmas On A Great Street" at both ends but thereafter, all one sees are the words "Endless Wonder".

Surely somewhere along the 2.2km run of decorations, a simple greeting like "Merry Christmas" could have been put up. If we want to celebrate Singapore as being multi-religious, we should celebrate each religious activity and not fudge it and make it a generic, characterless celebration.

Florence Veronica Minjoot


STIFFER ENFORCEMENT FOR PMDs

The actions of the Land Transport Authority, where e-scooters are concerned, sometimes strike me as being contradictory (LTA impounds e-scooter used on expressway; Nov 27).

YEAR-END BONUS FOR PIONEERS?

It is heartening to know that the Government will be giving one full month's salary as a bonus to all civil servants, in view of the projected growth of Singapore's economy by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent. This is a clear indication of the Government's appreciation of the 84,000 civil servants' consistent hard work in carrying out its policies (One month's bonus for civil servants; Nov 28).

However, the Government should not forget the retirees and pioneer citizens who contributed enormously to what Singapore is today.

As we are working towards an inclusive society, the Government should let them have some money to spend and enjoy the forthcoming Christmas and New Year. It would be a pity to leave them out, especially so when the economy is projected to grow between 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent. It would be a wonderful idea to give retirees and the pioneers a small bonus each time the economy does extremely well.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

By approving the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs), the authority has opened the floodgates.

Incidents like the one reported are not uncommon.

It is happening islandwide on a daily basis, especially along roads, footpaths, and the void decks of Housing Board flats.

Often, users will be travelling at high speed. Do we have sufficient enforcement officers to ensure compliance?

Going by anecdotal evidence, it does not appear so.

Until we can really be effective in enforcing proper and safe usage of such devices, we can expect to hear and see more of such ugly incidents.

Leng Kok Meng


TALK OF RAISING TAXES WORRYING

In his recent address, the Prime Minister spoke of raising taxes to fund Singapore's increasing spending needs in healthcare, infrastructure and the economy.

For many Singaporeans, this is extremely worrying.

It signals that government spending is growing faster than the Singapore economy, and that we are taking the easy way out by increasing taxes. Personal income tax was just raised in 2015 and in slightly more than two years, there is talk of another round of tax hikes.

This is not right. We are abandoning the values of hard work and spending within our means that made Singapore what it is today.

By increasing taxes at a time when university graduates are having difficulties finding jobs, the cost of living is ballooning and confidence in public infrastructure is at an all-time low, the Government is hurting the very people it claims to want to help.

Singapore needs to tighten its belt, focus on the economy and truly put the people first. The rest will naturally follow.

Nicholas Soh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'Excerpts from readers' letters'. Print Edition | Subscribe