Let’s not forget the real pioneer spirit this Bicentennial


And so the Singapore Bicentennial is upon us as a nation – and so far without much public fanfare or excitement. Could this be due a rather unique Singaporean trait to emasculate our own past as is evident by the habit to reduce concepts and places to acronyms?

Even if the history is being told in school texts, it tends to be largely bracketed and reduced to the two Rs – Raffles and the Republic. The first is a man in white or rather a statue in marble white next to the Singapore River whom most Singaporeans don’t really know much about except that his name has been hijacked for a hotel, school, business hub and  shopping mall among others. The second R would be the story of the Men in White,  led by the most prominent Lee Kuan Yew or LKY for short.

More tangible endeavours are needed to awaken the Singaporean consciousness of our rich historical heritage. The forebears of modern Singapore were mostly of immigrant stock – from the surrounding Malay Archipelago, China and South Asia. What many wanted was simply make a living. Instead, they brought their cultures and customs, built communities and shaped the development of Singapore through its various phases.

From this melting pot, there emerged as rags-to-riches entrepreneurs, community leaders and also philanthropists. They founded banks that have evolved into OCBC and UOB; transport companies that are forerunners of SBS; numerous schools including SCGS & MGS (so that girls can also get an education), hospitals (Tan Tock Seng), parks (Hong Lim), theme parks (Happy, New and Great World) and more.

What a colourful and resourceful lot they were. These pioneers were the real deal: They came; they saw, they dare to dream, they built and they gave back to the community. These endeavours are veritable proof that history is living and need not be confined to dusty archives. The moniker of the Little Red Dot reminds one of a record button and the onus to preserve and keep our history alive especially for the younger generation, on where we came from and the roots of our collective identity and national soul. But to stay buoyant in a world rocked by continuous disruptions – entrepreneurs must remain resourceful but they need fresh perspectives to deal with the changed global economic and financial landscape. Our pioneers were successful as they were immigrants free from the constraints of their previous homelands and used their ingenuity to make things happen. Their pioneering spirit is however only a ballast as we have to do more than just look back into the past to achieve success in the new millennium. Like the saying goes, let’s not take a step back in history. We need to march forward.

GEM aims to give a leg-up to listings and stocks liquidity in Singapore – but where is the excitement?


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a new three-year $75m initiative with effect from 15 Feb 2019 in a bid to enhance Singapore’s status as a regional hub for new equity listings.

The move will also boost equity research with MAS releasing funds to back the equity research ecosystem in Singapore

Known as the Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS), the scheme will help defray costs such as legal and underwriting expenses for Singapore Exchange (SGX) listings, as well as provide funds to encourage more research and coverage of listed small-and mid-cap enterprises.

Eligible firms can receive up to 20 per cent ( of funds from an SGX grant) for their listing expenses, up to a limit of S$ 200,,000. while those in high-growth sectors including advanced manufacturing, hub services, logistics and healthcare with a minimum market cap of $300 million will enjoy a higher cap of S$500,000

In a move in line with Singapore’s push towards a digital economy, technology companies with a S$300 million market cap including those in fintech, consumer digital technologies and on-demand services will be able to co-fund their initial public offer (IPO) expenses by 70% of up to S$1 million.

In a nutshell, the move hopes to rev up the development of the future economy in Singapore by attracting smaller or mid-cap, high-growth and tech-oriented companies where IPO expenses can take up a significant portion of the listing proceeds.

The increased and improved quality of research coverage of non-index stocks will also help investors spot companies with promising growth potential and will also enhance their stock liquidity due to better information and valuations. On average, there are more than 15 analysts covering the top 30 listed companies compared to between two and six analysts covering the next 200 companies.

The MAS grant will help, to a certain extent, revive the sluggish Singapore IPO market which only managed to raise about $730 million from 15 IPOs last year.

But will these initiatives be enough to stimulate higher investor interest in shares on the SGX and drive better share valuations ? How can more investors be convinced to invest in shares and not other investment options created by the rise of digital currencies and new asset classes?

If share trading volumes remain weak and valuations continue to be low. companies may not be attracted to list and for listed companies, they may consider shifting to more vibrant exchanges while the investors themselves will seek more exciting investment options.

Big Data in Corporate Communications


The dawn of the digital age may have started with the humble personal computer (PC) which gave rise later to mobile laptops, but has since taken several exponential leaps such as the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s to Cloud technology and development of the ubiquitous daily apps and social media platforms.

In other words, we are now living in the age of Big Data where data pervades our daily lives and there is a need to make sense of what is relevant and useful

Some time back, organisations focus on the amount of data available. But now, the  focus shifts from size of data to its importance and  the depth, quality and benefits of  data-driven decisions.

Today, individuals and organisations are exposed to a constant, overwhelming flow of information. Big data is now impacting business, industry, land and air transport, Inevitably, it has to be incorporated into communication strategies.

Data-driven superior  integrated communication tools enable people to anticipate trends/events, evaluate outcomes, to act more quickly and intelligently.

By using data, PR professionals can “predict” news cycles and newsmaking trends, detect what kinds of stories do best in different places and  where to invest in  relationship building.

More than 90 cent of worldwide data is now stored digitally and there is a plethora of options to access and mine it. So, companies and organisations should not dither in leveraging this big store of knowledge to refresh brands and create innovations  to delight customers and stakeholders.

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