Why It Matters

Every day on Page 2 of The Straits Times, reporters write about why certain news reports matter to readers. This is a weekly round-up of the columns.

Education reporter Calvin Yang noted that the number of physical education, art and music teachers has jumped by nearly 20 per cent in the past five years. This reflects a shift towards holistic learning in Singapore's education system. http://str.sg/47rF

Taiwan unveiled a major defence review recently. But experts have pointed out that Taiwan does not have the resources to enter into an arms race with China. Taiwan correspondent Jermyn Chow noted that Taiwan faces many hurdles, from a plan to scrap conscription to difficulty in buying arms. http://str.sg/47EX

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's conciliatory remarks on his first trip to China have been a welcome surprise for China. However, China bureau chief Goh Sui Noi pointed out that Mr Tillerson's stance has been slammed by US critics who think he has conceded too much, while Chinese experts remain cautious, warning of the need to see if his words will be carried through in deeds. http://str.sg/472F

Four taxi firms - SMRT, Premier, Trans-Cab and HDT Singapore Taxi - are rolling out a "dynamic pricing" option. Transport reporter Adrian Lim said that while flat charges are a welcome alternative to the complicated taxi fare structure, they are less transparent and could result in cabbies hiding and waiting for fares to creep up. http://str.sg/47nk

Extreme views are gaining ground around the world and divisive speech had a role to play in widening the gaps between communities. Such speech cannot be allowed to take root in Singapore, as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's recent call to keep watch on exclusivist statements signalled. Reporter Charissa Yong said his reminder to focus on what unites Singaporeans is worth repeating. http://str.sg/47mT

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Why It Matters '. Print Edition | Subscribe