Expenses incurred from working at home qualify for tax deductions (Singapore)

Source: Business Times

Firstly, note that Business Times is part of SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) and hence is a rather reliable source.

This is quite a good news for large families or large households. For small households, the total expenses saved may be quite negligible (maybe just $10 per month). Another thing is that the calculation seems quite difficult and hard to justify (for example whether increased air con usage due to work from home is justified as electricity expenses).

Another scenario where it is useful is maybe those telemarketers who use their own phone to call at home.

Currently, this source from Business Times seems to be the sole source of information. Probably when more official sources appear, there will be more information on how to calculate and provide justifications for the tax expenses savings. Some worked examples would also help, for people to gauge what is the typical amount they can claim.

WORKERS working from home can claim deduction against employment income for charges such as electricity and telecommunication expenses not reimbursed by employers.

An Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) spokesperson told The Business Times: “Tax deduction against employment income is allowable for expenses incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of employment income. ”

To qualify for deduction, the expenses must be incurred while carrying out official duties, not reimbursed by the employer, and not capital or private in nature.

These expenses include the additional power and telecommunication bills incurred when employees are required to work from home. This is not limited to the “circuit breaker” period, the taxman said.

The Business Times

Boeing mocked Lion Air calls for more 737 Max training before crash

Source: Straits Times

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) – Indonesia’s Lion Air considered putting its pilots through simulator training before flying the Boeing 737 Max but abandoned the idea after the planemaker convinced them in 2017 it was unnecessary, according to people familiar with the matter and internal company communications.

The next year, 189 people died when a Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea, a disaster blamed in part on inadequate training and the crew’s unfamiliarity with a new flight-control feature on the Max that malfunctioned.

Read more at: https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/boeing-mocked-lion-air-calls-for-more-737-max-training-before-crash

Quite unbelievable that such lack of regard for safety was demonstrated by Boeing. Note that the above news is taken from a major newspaper in Singapore, the Straits Times.

Another news by Bloomberg: Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9 -an-Hour Engineers.

The real reason Boeing 737 Max crashed twice is a software problem!

According to the video below, the real reason why the Boeing 737 Max crashed twice is none other than a software problem! (The software called MCAS keeps pushing the nose of the airplane downwards.)

Latest SG Education News

Policies In Brief: Tuition fee subsidies

Income eligibility criteria for the Mendaki Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy scheme will be revised upwards from August. … Students previously unable to take part in Outward Bound Singapore adventure training or overseas volunteer programmes organised by Youth Corps Singapore may get opportunities …

More Malay students from low-income families to benefit from revision of Tertiary Tuition Fee …

SINGAPORE: The Government will revise the income eligibility criteria for the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) scheme to benefit more Malay students from low-income families. The TTFS scheme, introduced in 1991, covers tuition fees at tertiary institutions and benefits 11,000 students currently.

Subsidies for master’s courses to be removed or reduced for foreign, PR students: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE — From next year, foreign students will no longer receive subsidies for most of the vocation-based master’s degrees and post-graduate … For example, according to the tuition fee schedule for students admitted in the Nanyang Technological University last year, international students pay …

NUS to offer three new degrees in 2018, including a first in veterinary medicine

After that, the students will spend another three years in Melbourne to complete their studies. While they will pay prevailing NUS and University of Melbourne tuition fees during their time in Singapore and Australia, Singaporean students can expect to pay about 15 per cent less in tuition fees for the DVM …

RGS student who had learning disability pays it forward

But her business was unsustainable as her students couldn’t pay tuition fees. I believe in … She then founded HER Planet Earth (HPE) last year to raise funds for underprivileged women affected by climate change and organisations such as Zero Waste SG and World Wide Fund Singapore. Today, the …

Polytechnic courses to be cut by 20%, more Normal (Academic) students to enter poly via through …

If there isn’t any PFP, some students who have the potential to succeed in polytechnic cannot enter the school only because they didn’t do well in their O-Level exams,” said Mr Yap, who has an offer to study information systems at the Singapore Management University (SMU). “Imagine if there’s only a …


Mathematicians Are Overselling the Idea That “Math Is Everywhere”

This article provides an alternative viewpoint on whether mathematics is useful to society. A good read if you are writing a GP (General Paper) essay on the usefulness of mathematics, to provide both sides of the argument.

Source: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/mathematicians-are-overselling-the-idea-that-math-is-everywhere/?WT.mc_id=SA_WR_20160817


Most people never become mathematicians, but everyone has a stake in mathematics. Almost since the dawn of human civilization, societies have vested special authority in mathematical experts. The question of how and why the public should support elite mathematics remains as pertinent as ever, and in the last five centuries (especially the last two) it has been joined by the related question of what mathematics most members of the public should know.

Why does mathematics matter to society at large? Listen to mathematicians, policymakers, and educators and the answer seems unanimous: mathematics is everywhere, therefore everyone should care about it. Books and articles abound with examples of the math that their authors claim is hidden in every facet of everyday life or unlocks powerful truths and technologies that shape the fates of individuals and nations. Take math professor Jordan Ellenberg, author of the bestselling book How Not to Be Wrong, who asserts “you can find math everywhere you look.”

To be sure, numbers and measurement figure regularly in most people’s lives, but this risks conflating basic numeracy with the kind of math that most affects your life. When we talk about math in public policy, especially the public’s investment in mathematical training and research, we are not talking about simple sums and measures. For most of its history, the mathematics that makes the most difference to society has been the province of the exceptional few. Societies have valued and cultivated math not because it is everywhere and for everyone but because it is difficult and exclusive. Recognizing that math has elitism built into its historical core, rather than pretending it is hidden all around us, furnishes a more realistic understanding of how math fits into society and can help the public demand a more responsible and inclusive discipline.

In the first agricultural societies in the cradle of civilization, math connected the heavens and the earth. Priests used astronomical calculations to mark the seasons and interpret divine will, and their special command of mathematics gave them power and privilege in their societies. As early economies grew larger and more complex, merchants and craftsmen incorporated more and more basic mathematics into their work, but for them mathematics was a trick of the trade rather than a public good. For millennia, advanced math remained the concern of the well-off, as either a philosophical pastime or a means to assert special authority.

The first relatively widespread suggestions that anything beyond simple practical math ought to have a wider reach date to what historians call the Early Modern period, beginning around five centuries ago, when many of our modern social structures and institutions started to take shape. Just as Martin Luther and other early Protestants began to insist that Scripture should be available to the masses in their own languages, scientific writers like Welsh polymath Robert Recorde used the relatively new technology of the printing press to promote math for the people. Recorde’s 1543 English arithmetic textbook began with an argument that “no man can do any thing alone, and much less talk or bargain with another, but he shall still have to do with number” and that numbers’ uses were “unnumerable” (pun intended).

Far more influential and representative of this period, however, was Recorde’s contemporary John Dee, who used his mathematical reputation to gain a powerful position advising Queen Elizabeth I. Dee hewed so closely to the idea of math as a secret and privileged kind of knowledge that his detractors accused him of conjuring and other occult practices. In the seventeenth century’s Scientific Revolution, the new promoters of an experimental science that was (at least in principle) open to any observer were suspicious of mathematical arguments as inaccessible, tending to shut down diverse perspectives with a false sense of certainty. During the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, by contrast, the savants of the French Academy of Sciences parlayed their mastery of difficult mathematics into a special place of authority in public life, weighing in on philosophical debates and civic affairs alike while closing their ranks to women, minorities, and the lower social classes.

Societies across the world were transformed in the nineteenth century by wave after wave of political and economic revolution, but the French model of privileged mathematical expertise in service to the state endured. The difference was in who got to be part of that mathematical elite. Being born into the right family continued to help, but in the wake of the French Revolution successive governments also took a greater interest in primary and secondary education, and strong performance in examinations could help some students rise despite their lower birth. Political and military leaders received a uniform education in advanced mathematics at a few distinguished academies which prepared them to tackle the specialized problems of modern states, and this French model of state involvement in mass education combined with special mathematical training for the very best found imitators across Europe and even across the Atlantic. Even while basic math reached more and more people through mass education, math remained something special that set the elite apart. More people could potentially become elites, but math was definitely not for everyone.

Entering the twentieth century, the system of channeling students through elite training continued to gain importance across the Western world, but mathematics itself became less central to that training. Partly this reflected the changing priorities of government, but partly it was a matter of advanced mathematics leaving the problems of government behind. Where once Enlightenment mathematicians counted practical and technological questions alongside their more philosophical inquiries, later modern mathematicians turned increasingly to forbiddingly abstract theories without the pretense of addressing worldly matters directly.

NTU to open three new alumni houses with free membership for graduates

This is great news for NTU alumni.

(Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/ntu-to-open-three-new-alumni-houses-with-free-membership-for-graduates)

SINGAPORE – Graduates of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) can look forward to free membership at three new alumni houses.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of NTU’s inauguration as a university, and it announced on Wednesday (Aug 10) that it will open a 10,000 sq ft alumni house – equivalent to nine five-room flats – in Marina Square mall in November.

The second facility will be at NTU’s main campus’ North Spine Plaza, and it will open by the end of this year; the third will be at one-north and will open next year.

Munich shooting: Attacker’s Psychology Book

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/23/europe/germany-munich-shooting/

(CNN) The teen gunman who killed nine people in a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday was a mentally troubled individual who had extensively researched spree killings and had no apparent links to ISIS, police said.

Condolences to the victims of the Munich shooting.

The next generation of shooting prevention technology lies in psychology, to detect such shooters before they even act. According to Wikipedia, Gun legislation in Germany is considered among the strictest gun control in the world, yet the attacker (Ali Sonboly) managed to get hold of a gun (this fact seemed yet to be explained in the news).

Dr Peter Langman, the world expert on this matter, has written such a book: Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters. There are some patterns that can be detected, maybe Big Data can help.

Dr Langman's table of correlated traits of school shooters
Dr Langman’s table of correlated traits of school shooters. Once enough traits are gathered, Data Analysis will be useful in finding out potential patterns that emerge.

According to Dr Langman, “The end of the book will not present anything like: A + B + C = School Shooter. The subject is too complicated for that, and there is much that we do not know. Nonetheless, I believe this book will shed light on a phenomenon that, despite massive media coverage, has remained mysterious.”.

Another interesting fact found in Dr Langman’s book is that attackers are not typically loners, unlike what mainstream media usually claims. Dr Langman states that, “A popular sound-bite view of school shooters is that they are loners, a status seen as a contributing factor in their rampages. This is inaccurate. Whereas 9 out of 10 of the shooters we discuss were depressed, only 1 out of 10 was a loner. The others all had friends and acquaintances with whom they engaged in a variety of social activities.”

Overall, review of Dr Langman’s book is highly positive. Definitely useful for teachers in USA to read.

Flyers surface in Batam warning of bomb attacks targeting Singaporeans

This is indeed scary news. Just went to Batam not long ago.

On a side note, the flyers seem to be counter-intuitive, why on earth would the terrorists send a warning letter stating where they are going to bomb? More likely a scare tactic or a hoax, but better be safe than sorry.

Update: Outdated MFA advisory falsely linked to letters warning of attacks on Batam

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/flyers-surface-batam-warning-bomb-attacks-targeting-singaporeans?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter&link_time=1467873063#xtor=CS1-2

Flyers and letters warning that bomb attacks will be carried out at a number of locations in Batam and Bintan in the Riau archipelago have surfaced, an Indonesian news website has reported.

According to Batam Today, the flyers claim that attacks would occur at the Batam Center Ferry Terminal and Nagoya on the island of Batam, as well as the Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal and Tanjung Pinang on the island of Bintan.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/flyers-surface-batam-warning-bomb-attacks-targeting-singaporeans?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter&link_time=1467873063#xtor=CS1-2

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Message to Youths

PM to youth: Go for your dreams, don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/pm-to-youth-go-for-your-dreams-dont-be-afraid-to-make-mistakes

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong marked Youth Day by posting a jump shot on Facebook yesterday accompanied with a message to the “young and young at heart” to experiment and try things out, saying they should not be afraid of making mistakes.

Engineering matters for Singapore’s future, says PM Lee Hsien Loong

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/engineering-key-to-singapores-future-as-smart-nation-pm


Singapore has boosted its water supply by recycling water and increased its physical size by reclaiming land – all feats of engineers.

Indeed, just as engineering helped transform Singapore into a modern state, it will continue to play a key role as the country strives to be a smart nation and overcome its lack of resources, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

But it has since become harder to attract top students to study engineering and do engineering jobs, as many opt for the humanities, business and finance, he noted.

Engineering is among the major professions here with the most vacancies in the past few years.

What holiday? More kids spending school break at tuition centres

Full article: http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/more-parents-sending-their-children-study-between-terms

Interesting article with some points to ponder. One quote seems true: “Force-feeding children to learn during their holidays might cause them to develop a resistance to it. This is why some children have low resiliency levels and they eventually don’t want to study.”

Self-motivation is very important for learning, otherwise the child may go for the tuition classes but end up daydreaming during lesson. Check out some motivational books which can motivate your child and improve English at the same time: https://mathtuition88.com/2014/11/16/motivational-books-for-the-student-educational/

Jack, 12, in his own words

We would always go on holidays in June and December, for as long as I can remember.

But in May, when I asked Mummy where we were going in June, I heard the bad news.

She said she was worried and stressed because I had done badly for my term one papers, getting only Bs and Cs.

“We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “You have to study.”

I feel her decision is unfair because I know how to manage my time.

She wants me to get in the school of her choice through Direct School Admission (DSA) – that is why she insisted that I must still continue with my piano and wushu lessons on Sundays.

I used to have tuition only for Mother Tongue and Maths. Now, plus all that, I have to go for intensive study sessions for Mother Tongue, Maths and English.

But Mummy does not know that having different teachers makes it more confusing for me.

I cannot focus and they both tell me different things, so I don’t know how to answer the questions best.

I wish we could travel as a family. I’m sad that we are not travelling this time.

Travelling could have been a fun time for me to recharge and then I can focus on the BIG PSLE.

I know Mummy has my welfare and well-being in mind, but it is also hard to pretend that I do not mind.

Just yesterday, I asked if I can have one day free before the holidays are over to go to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and she said very angrily: “NO.”

She said that I do not know how to prioritise my needs. I feel she is unfair.

She keeps telling me it is “just for a few months”. But June is just one month, and it is the holidays.

Anyway, I hope I can get into DSA so my suffering can be lessened and Mummy will take me on a holiday after PSLE.

She told me I have to set a good example for Mei Mei (Mandarin for sister).

I hope I can.

– See more at: http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/more-parents-sending-their-children-study-between-terms#sthash.CgqYD8XP.dpuf

Getting a degree in Singapore set to become costlier: Study

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/getting-a-degree-in-singapore-set-to-become-costlier-study

The cost of a university degree in Singapore is set to rise, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Released yesterday, the study projected that a four-year degree will cost 70.2 per cent of an individual’s average yearly income in 2030, up from 53.1 per cent last year.

Since 2010, tuition fees at local universities have gone up every year for most undergraduate courses, mainly due to rising operating costs.

Singapore Education News

PSLE tweaks will come but as part of broader changes to education system: Heng
Straits Times
SINGAPORE – Changes being made to the Primary School Leaving … be done in the light of the broader changes to Singapore’s education system, …
SMU to broaden learning for freshmen
Straits Times
Freshmen entering the Singapore Management University (SMU) in August next year will go through a revamped syllabus, in the university’s bid to …
MOE to focus on tertiary, secondary education before turning to PSLE
Channel News Asia
SINGAPORE: With the Character and Citizenship Education syllabus being rolled out in all schools, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will tilt its focus …

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News: Math, reading performance is stagnant among US 12th-graders, assessment finds

Math, reading performance is stagnant among US 12th-graders, assessment finds
Washington Post
The nation’s high school seniors have shown no improvement in math and reading performance since 2009, and large racial achievement gaps …
Math, reading performance stagnates among US 12th-graders, assessment finds
Business Mirror
WASHINGTON—The United States’s high-school seniors have shown no improvement in math and reading performance since 2009, and large racial …
Social Math: Why Learning Math Involves More Than Writing Numbers
Huffington Post
My lifelong passion for creating better ways to learn math got its start in a school not unlike the Israeli one I visited — and at the very same age.
Math games aim to keep kids sharp over summer
Scranton Times-Tribune
JAKE DANNA STEVENS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kaylynn Howe, 8, left, and her sister, Destine Howey, play a math game at Bancroft Elementary …
Common Core math gains are worth the pain
New York Daily News
As more than a million New York students in grades 3-8 took the state math exams last week, a small but vocal cadre of parents railed at the new …
Lindblom Math and Science principal among Golden Apple winners
Chicago Tribune
The organization quickly realized that Mather, principal of Lindblom Math and Science Academy In Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood was the …
Math Learning – A Universal Language?
Huffington Post
Fifth-grade students at Woodward Elementary School had an interesting math assignment this fall: watching college football games. Though …
US students’ reading, math show no progress
WASHINGTON — In an abysmal showing, only about one-quarter of U.S. high school seniors performed solidly in math in a major assessment known …
Using math in the fight against cancer
But a local college professor says many people don’t like math because they don’t see a connection to it. In this Friday’s STEM 13 report, learn how the …
Math Day at Molly Stark honors memory of Gail Harwood
Bennington Banner
BENNINGTON — The Molly Stark School honored a longtime teacher on Monday with “Gail Harwood Math Day.” Harwood passed away in January …

News: Singapore Education Ranked Third in World

Singapore takes third spot in global education rankings
Straits Times
Teacher Anthony Tan conducting an English lesson with a class of Primary 6 pupils at Woodlands Primary School. Singapore’s education system has …
Singapore offers Saudi Arabia help in education
Arab News
PROPOSAL: Singapore Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan with Mazen Batterjee, vice chairman of the JCCI, on Wednesday. (AN photo by Irfan …
In Singapore, Training Teachers for the ‘Classroom of the Future’
Education Week News
Welcome to the Classroom of the Future—a mock-up housed by Singapore’s National Institute of Education (NIE) to demonstrate what learning might …
Singapore Polytechnic Assists CDIO Implementation At Malaysia’s Polytechnic
PUTRAJAYA, May 6 (Bernama) — Singapore Polytechnic is assisting Malaysia on the implemention of innovative engineering education framework …
Lift education standards: Linfox boss
The Australian
“Most of our graduates are now coming out of Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and China because they are just so well educated,” he said. “I can get …
In search of education
The News International
Unless we start investing massively in education, science, technology and innovation, as was done by Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, China and others, …
Sultanate, Singapore and the Indian Ocean
Oman Daily Observer
These are thoughtful words from your education minister (Heng Swee Keat), … a pragmatism which incidentally I believe we share with Singapore.
Direct School Admission not meant to lower academic standards
In Singapore, there is no compromising a good education. Having a talent does not give a student the licence not to pursue academic excellence.
NAFA inspires
The Hindu
The safe and comfortable cosmopolitan environment Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore makes it the perfect destination for education abroad.
Japan’s Education Minister visits SMU
Singapore Management University (SMU) received a special guest on its campus on 3 May 2014 – Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, …