Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 14

Singapore Related Abstracts

14 Location and Group Specific Differences in Human-Macaque Interactions in Singapore: Implications for Conflict Management

Authors: Srikantan L. Jayasri, James Gan

Abstract:

The changes in Singapore’s land use, natural preference of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) to live in forest edges and their adaptability has led to interface between humans and macaques. Studies have shown that two-third of human-macaque interactions in Singapore were related to human food. We aimed to assess differences among macaques groups in their dependence on human food and interaction with humans as indicators of the level of interface. Field observations using instantaneous scan sampling and all occurrence ad-lib sampling were carried out for 23 macaque groups over 28 days recording 71.5 hours of observations. Data on macaque behaviour, demography, frequency, and nature of human-macaque interactions were collected. None of the groups were found to completely rely on human food source. Of the 23 groups, 40% of them were directly or indirectly provisioned by humans. One-third of the groups observed engaged in some form of interactions with the humans. Three groups that were directly fed by humans contributed to 83% of the total human-macaque interactions observed during the study. Our study indicated that interactions between humans and macaques exist in specific groups and in those fed by humans regularly. Although feeding monkeys is illegal in Singapore, such incidents seem to persist in specific locations. We emphasize the importance of group and location-specific assessment of the existing human-wildlife interactions. Conflict management strategies developed should be location specific to address the cause of interactions.

Keywords: Wildlife management, Southeast Asia, primates, Singapore

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13 The Test of Memory Malingering and Offence Severity

Authors: Kenji Gwee

Abstract:

In Singapore, the death penalty remains in active use for murder and drug trafficking of controlled drugs such as heroin. As such, the psychological assessment of defendants can often be of high stakes. The Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) is employed by government psychologists to determine the degree of effort invested by defendants, which in turn inform on the veracity of overall psychological findings that can invariably determine the life and death of defendants. The purpose of this study was to find out if defendants facing the death penalty were more likely to invest less effort during psychological assessment (to fake bad in hopes of escaping the death sentence) compared to defendants facing lesser penalties. An archival search of all forensic cases assessed in 2012-2013 by Singapore’s designated forensic psychiatric facility yielded 186 defendants’ TOMM scores. Offence severity, coded into 6 rank-ordered categories, was analyzed in a one-way ANOVA with TOMM score as the dependent variable. There was a statistically significant difference (F(5,87) = 2.473, p = 0.038). A Tukey post-hoc test with Bonferroni correction revealed that defendants facing lower charges (Theft, shoplifting, criminal breach of trust) invested less test-taking effort (TOMM = 37.4±12.3, p = 0.033) compared to those facing the death penalty (TOMM = 46.2±8.1). The surprising finding that those facing death penalties actually invested more test taking effort than those facing relatively minor charges could be due to higher levels of cooperation when faced with death. Alternatively, other legal avenues to escape the death sentence may have been preferred over the mitigatory chance of a psychiatric defence.

Keywords: Singapore, capital sentencing, offence severity, Test of Memory Malingering

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12 Stressors Faced by Border Security Officers: The Singapore Experience

Authors: Jansen Ang, Andrew Neo, Dawn Chia

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Border Security is unlike mainstream policing in that officers are essentially in static deployment, working round the clock every day and every hour of the year looking for illegitimate entry of persons and goods. In Singapore, Border Security officers perform multiple functions to ensure the nation’s safety and security. They are responsible for safeguarding the borders of Singapore to prevent threats from entering the country. Being the first line of defence in ensuring the nation’s border security officers are entrusted with the responsibility of screening travellers inbound and outbound of Singapore daily. They examined 99 million arrivals and departures at the various checkpoints in 2014, which is a considerable volume compared to most immigration agencies. The officers’ work scopes also include cargo clearance, protective and security functions of checkpoints. The officers work in very demanding environment which can range from the smog at the land checkpoints to the harshness of the ports at the sea checkpoints. In addition, all immigration checkpoints are located at the boundaries, posing commuting challenges for officers. At the land checkpoints, festive seasons and school breaks are peak periods as given the surge of inbound and outbound travellers at the various checkpoints. Such work provides unique challenges in comparison to other law enforcement duties. This paper assesses the current stressors faced by officers of a border security agency through the conduct of ground observations as well as a perceived stress survey as well as recommendations in combating stressors faced by border security officers. The findings from the field observations and surveys indicate organisational and operational stressors that are unique to border security and recommends interventions in managing these stressors. Understanding these stressors would better inform border security agencies on the interventions needed to enhance the resilience of border security officers.

Keywords: Operations, stress, Border security, Singapore

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11 A Comparative Study of Dengue Fever in Taiwan and Singapore Based on Open Data

Authors: Wei Wen Yang, Emily Chia Yu Su

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Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical infectious disease caused by the dengue virus. After infection, symptoms usually start from three to fourteen days. Dengue virus may cause a high fever and at least two of the following symptoms, severe headache, severe eye pain, joint pains, muscle or bone pain, vomiting, feature skin rash, and mild bleeding manifestation. In addition, recovery will take at least two to seven days. Dengue fever has rapidly spread in tropical and subtropical areas in recent years. Several phenomena around the world such as global warming, urbanization, and international travel are the main reasons in boosting the spread of dengue. In Taiwan, epidemics occur annually, especially during summer and fall seasons. On the other side, Singapore government also has announced the amounts number of dengue cases spreading in Singapore. As the serious epidemic of dengue fever outbreaks in Taiwan and Singapore, countries around the Asia-Pacific region are becoming high risks of susceptible to the outbreaks and local hub of spreading the virus. To improve public safety and public health issues, firstly, we are going to use Microsoft Excel and SAS EG to do data preprocessing. Secondly, using support vector machines and decision trees builds predict model, and analyzes the infectious cases between Taiwan and Singapore. By comparing different factors causing vector mosquito from model classification and regression, we can find similar spreading patterns where the disease occurred most frequently. The result can provide sufficient information to predict the future dengue infection outbreaks and control the diffusion of dengue fever among countries.

Keywords: Taiwan, aedes aegypti, Singapore, dengue fever

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10 Using the Theory of Reasoned Action and Parental Mediation Theory to Examine Cyberbullying Perpetration among Children and Adolescents

Authors: Shirley S. Ho

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The advancement and development of social media have inadvertently brought about a new form of bullying – cyberbullying – that transcends across physical boundaries of space. Although extensive research has been conducted in the field of cyberbullying, most of these studies have taken an overwhelmingly empirical angle. Theories guiding cyberbullying research are few. Furthermore, very few studies have explored the association between parental mediation and cyberbullying, with majority of existing studies focusing on cyberbullying victimization rather than perpetration. Therefore, this present study investigates cyberbullying perpetration from a theoretical angle, with a focus on the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Parental Mediation Theory. More specifically, this study examines the direct effects of attitude, subjective norms, descriptive norms, injunctive norms and active mediation and restrictive mediation on cyberbullying perpetration on social media among children and adolescents in Singapore. Furthermore, the moderating role of age on the relationship between parental mediation and cyberbullying perpetration on social media are examined. A self-administered paper-and-pencil nationally-representative survey was conducted. Multi-stage cluster random sampling was used to ensure that schools from all the four (North, South, East, and West) regions of Singapore were equally represented in the sample used for the survey. In all 607 upper primary school children (i.e., Primary 4 to 6 students) and 782 secondary school adolescents participated in our survey. The total average response rates were 69.6% for student participation. An ordinary least squares hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to test the hypotheses and research questions. The results revealed that attitude and subjective norms were positively associated with cyberbullying perpetration on social media. Descriptive norms and injunctive norms were not found to be significantly associated with cyberbullying perpetration. The results also showed that both parental mediation strategies were negatively associated with cyberbullying perpetration on social media. Age was a significant moderator of both parental mediation strategies and cyberbullying perpetration. The negative relationship between active mediation and cyberbullying perpetration was found to be greater in the case of children than adolescents. Children who received high restrictive parental mediation were less likely to perform cyberbullying behaviors, while adolescents who received high restrictive parental mediation were more likely to be engaged in cyberbullying perpetration. The study reveals that parents should apply active mediation and restrictive mediation in different ways for children and adolescents when trying to prevent cyberbullying perpetration. The effectiveness of active parental mediation for reducing cyberbullying perpetration was more in the case of children than for adolescents. Younger children were found to be more likely to respond more positively toward restrictive parental mediation strategies, but in the case of adolescents, overly restrictive control was found to increase cyberbullying perpetration. Adolescents exhibited less cyberbullying behaviors when under low restrictive strategies. Findings highlight that the Theory of Reasoned Action and Parental Mediation Theory are promising frameworks to apply in the examination of cyberbullying perpetration. The findings that different parental mediation strategies had differing effectiveness, based on the children’s age, bring about several practical implications that may benefit educators and parents when addressing their children’s online risk.

Keywords: Social Media, Parental Mediation, Singapore, theory of reasoned action, cyberbullying perpetration

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9 [Keynote Speech]: Guiding Teachers to Make Lessons Relevant, Appealing, and Personal (RAP) for Academically-Low-Achieving Students in STEM Subjects

Authors: Nazir Amir

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Teaching approaches to present science and mathematics content amongst academically-low-achieving students may need to be different than approaches that are adopted for the more academically-inclined students, primarily due to the different learning needs and learning styles of these students. In crafting out lessons to motivate and engage these students, teachers need to consider the backgrounds of these students and have a good understanding of their interests so that lessons can be presented in ways that appeal to them, and made relevant not just to the world around them, but also to their personal experiences. This presentation highlights how the author worked with a Professional Learning Community (PLC) of teachers in crafting out fun and feasible classroom teaching approaches to present science and mathematics content in ways that are made Relevant, Appealing, and Personal (RAP) to groups of academically-low-achieving students in Singapore. Feedback from the students and observations from their work suggest that they were engaged through the RAP-modes of instruction, and were able to appreciate the role of science and mathematics through a variety of low-cost design-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities. Such results imply that teachers teaching academically-low-achieving students, and those in under-resourced communities, could consider infusing RAP-infused instructions into their lessons in getting students develop positive attitudes towards STEM subjects.

Keywords: Curriculum Instruction, STEM Education, Singapore, STEAM Education, Academically At-Risk Students

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8 Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Health Product E-Commerce Market in Singapore

Authors: Andrew Green, Jiaming Liu, Kellathur Srinivasan, Raymond Chua

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Introduction: The size of Singapore’s online health product (HP) market (e-commerce) is largely unknown. However, it is recognized that a large majority comes from overseas and thus, unregulated. As buying HP from unauthorized sources significantly compromises public health safety, understanding e-commerce users’ demographics and their perceptions on online HP purchasing becomes a pivotal first step to form a basis for recommendations in Singapore’s pharmacovigilance efforts. Objective: To assess the prevalence of online HP purchasing behaviour among Singaporean e-commerce users. Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study targeting Singaporean e-commerce users recruited from various local websites and online forums. Participants were not randomized into study arms but instead stratified by random sampling method based on participants’ age. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was used to explore participants' demographics, online HP purchasing behaviour, knowledge and attitude. The association of different variables with online HP purchasing behaviour was analysed using logistic regression statistics. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of HP e-commerce users in Singapore (%) and variables that contribute to the prevalence (adjusted prevalent ratio). Results: The study recruited 372 complete and valid responses. The prevalence of online HP consumers among e-commerce users in Singapore is estimated to be 55.9% (1.7 million consumers). Online purchasing of complementary HP (46.9%) was the most prevalent, followed by medical devices (21.6%) and Western medicine (20.5%). Multivariate analysis showed that age is an independent variable that correlates with the likelihood of buying HP online. The prevalence of HP e-commerce users is highest in the 35-44 age group (64.1%) and lowest among the 16-24 age group (36.4%). The most bought HP through the internet are vitamins and minerals (21.5%), non-herbal (15.9%), herbal (13.9%), weight loss (8.7%) and sports (8.4%) supplements. While the top 3 products are distributed equally between the genders, there is a skew towards female respondents (12.4% in females vs. 4.9% in males) for weight loss supplements and towards males (13.2% in males vs. 3.7% in females) for sports supplements. Even though online consumers are in the younger age brackets, our study found that up to 72.0% of HP bought online are bought for others (buyer’s family and/or friends). Multivariate analysis showed a statistically significant association between purchasing HP through online means and the perceptions that 'internet is safe' (adjusted Prevalence Ratio=1.15, CI 1.03-1.28), 'buying HP online is time saving' (PR=1.17, CI 1.01-1.36), and 'recognition of HP brand' (PR=1.21 CI 1.06-1.40). Conclusions: This study has provided prevalence data for online HP market in Singapore, and has allowed the country’s regulatory body to formulate a targeted pharmacovigilance approach to this growing problem.

Keywords: E-Commerce, Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacovigilance, Singapore

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7 Exploring the Prevailing Unfairness in Muslim Marriage and Divorce Laws in Singapore's Dual Court System

Authors: J. Jayaletchmi

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In seeking to manage a multiracial and multi-religious society, Singapore provides a unique solution – a dual court system whereby a common law system co-exists with a Syariah law system that administers Syariah law for the Muslim population. In this respect, Singapore seems to provide a feasible example of legal pluralism to countries grappling with a burgeoning Muslim population. However, problems have arisen regarding this peaceful coexistence of secular and religious laws that seek to balance the rights of women and religious freedom. Singapore’s interpretation of Syariah law in the context of marriage and divorce has resulted in certain inequalities for Muslim women, which are exemplified in light of the Women’s Charter, a landmark piece of legislation which provides the legal basis for equity between husband and wife, but excludes Muslims from its ambit. The success of Singapore’s dual court system has largely been at the expense of Muslim women’s rights, and, as a result, the Muslim community as a whole has begun trailing behind the progressive society it forms a part of. This paper explores the prevailing unfairness of rules governing Muslim marriage and divorce in Singapore, and puts forth bold reforms.

Keywords: Women’s Rights, legal pluralism, Singapore, Syariah law

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6 Housing Harmony: Social Integration in Singapore Public Housing

Authors: Lei Xu, Zhenyu Cao, Yingjie Feng

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In the process of urbanization, public housing is often a powerful means to deal with large floating population. In the developed countries like the U.S, France, Singapore, and Japan, the experience on how to make use of public housing to realize social integration in aspects of race, class, religion, income is gained through years of practice. Take the example of Singapore, the article first introduces the ethnic composition background and public housing development in Singapore, and then gives a detailed explanation and analysis on social integration in public housing from the views of Ethnic quotas policy, community organization construction and design of public space. Finally, combined with the Chinese situation, the article points out that the solution for social integration in China is the organic mix of different income groups in public housing.

Keywords: Urbanization, Singapore, floating population, social integration, public housing

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5 Parental Involvement and Students' Outcomes: A Study in a Special Education School in Singapore

Authors: E. Er, Y. S. Cheng

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The role of parents and caregivers in their children’s education is pivotal. Parental involvement (PI) is often associated with a range of student outcomes. This includes academic achievements, socioemotional development, adaptive skills, physical fitness and school attendance. This study is the first in Singapore to (1) explore the relationship between parental involvement and student outcomes; (2) determine the effects of family structure and socioeconomic status (SES) on parental involvement and (3) investigate factors that inform involvement in parents of children with specific developmental disabilities. Approval for the study was obtained from Nanyang Technological University’s Institutional Review Board in Singapore. The revised version of a comprehensive theoretical model on parental involvement was used as the theoretical framework in this study. Parents were recruited from a SPED school in Singapore which caters to school-aged children (7 to 21 years old). Pearson’s product moment correlation, analysis of variance and multiple regression analyses were used as statistical techniques in this study. Results indicate that there are significant associations between parental involvement and educational outcomes in students with developmental disabilities. Next, SES has a significant impact on levels of parental involvement. In addition, parents in the current study reported being more involved at home, in school activities and the community, when teachers specifically requested their involvement. Home-based involvement was also predicted by parents’ perceptions of their time and energy, efficacy and beliefs in supporting their child’s education, as well as their children’s invitations to be more involved. An interesting and counterintuitive inverse relationship was found between general school invitations and parental involvement at home. Research findings are further discussed, and suggestions are put forth to increase involvement for this specific group of parents.

Keywords: autism, Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, parental involvement, Singapore

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4 Implementation Research on the Singapore Physical Activity and Nutrition Program: A Mixed-Method Evaluation

Authors: Elaine Wong

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Introduction: The Singapore Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (SPANS) aimed to assess the effects of a community-based intervention on physical activity (PA) and nutrition behaviours as well as chronic disease risk factors for Singaporean women aged above 50 years. This article examines the participation, dose, fidelity, reach, satisfaction and reasons for completion and non-completion of the SPANS. Methods: The SPANS program integrated constructs of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and is composed of PA activities; nutrition workshops; dietary counselling coupled with motivational interviewing (MI) through phone calls; and text messages promoting healthy behaviours. Printed educational resources and health incentives were provided to participants. Data were collected via a mixed-method design strategy from a sample of 295 intervention participants. Quantitative data were collected using self-completed survey (n = 209); qualitative data were collected via research assistants’ notes, post feedback sessions and exit interviews with program completers (n = 13) and non-completers (n = 12). Results: Majority of participants reported high ‘satisfactory to excellent’ ratings for the program pace, suitability of interest and overall program (96.2-99.5%). Likewise, similar ratings for clarity of presentation; presentation skills, approachability, knowledge; and overall rating of trainers and program ambassadors were achieved (98.6-100%). Phone dietary counselling had the highest level of participation (72%) at less than or equal to 75% attendance rate followed by nutrition workshops (65%) and PA classes (60%). Attrition rate of the program was 19%; major reasons for withdrawal were personal commitments, relocation and health issues. All participants found the program resources to be colourful, informative and practical for their own reference. Reasons for program completion and maintenance were: desired health benefits; social bonding opportunities and to learn more about PA and nutrition. Conclusions: Process evaluation serves as an appropriate tool to identify recruitment challenges, effective intervention strategies and to ensure program fidelity. Program participants were satisfied with the educational resources, program components and delivery strategies implemented by the trainers and program ambassadors. The combination of printed materials and intervention components, when guided by the SCT and MI, were supportive in encouraging and reinforcing lifestyle behavioural changes. Mixed method evaluation approaches are integral processes to pinpoint barriers, motivators, improvements and effective program components in optimising the health status of Singaporean women.

Keywords: Older Adults, Singapore, lifestyle changes, process evaluation, program challenges

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3 Developing a Place-Name Gazetteer for Singapore by Mining Historical Planning Archives and Selective Crowd-Sourcing

Authors: Kevin F. Hsu, Alvin Chua, Sarah X. Lin

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As a multilingual society, Singaporean names for different parts of the city have changed over time. Residents included Indigenous Malays, dialect-speakers from China, European settler-colonists, and Tamil-speakers from South India. Each group would name locations in their own languages. Today, as ancestral tongues are increasingly supplanted by English, contemporary Singaporeans’ understanding of once-common place names is disappearing. After demolition or redevelopment, some urban places will only exist in archival records or in human memory. United Nations conferences on the standardization of geographic names have called attention to how place names relate to identity, well-being, and a sense of belonging. The Singapore Place-Naming Project responds to these imperatives by capturing past and present place names through digitizing historical maps, mining archival records, and applying selective crowd-sourcing to trace the evolution of place names throughout the city. The project ensures that both formal and vernacular geographical names remain accessible to historians, city planners, and the public. The project is compiling a gazetteer, a geospatial archive of placenames, with streets, buildings, landmarks, and other points of interest (POI) appearing in the historic maps and planning documents of Singapore, currently held by the National Archives of Singapore, the National Library Board, university departments, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. To create a spatial layer of information, the project links each place name to either a geo-referenced point, line segment, or polygon, along with the original source material in which the name appears. This record is supplemented by crowd-sourced contributions from civil service officers and heritage specialists, drawing from their collective memory to (1) define geospatial boundaries of historic places that appear in past documents, but maybe unfamiliar to users today, and (2) identify and record vernacular place names not captured in formal planning documents. An intuitive interface allows participants to demarcate feature classes, vernacular phrasings, time periods, and other knowledge related to historical or forgotten spaces. Participants are stratified into age bands and ethnicity to improve representativeness. Future iterations could allow additional public contributions. Names reveal meanings that communities assign to each place. While existing historical maps of Singapore allow users to toggle between present-day and historical raster files, this project goes a step further by adding layers of social understanding and planning documents. Tracking place names illuminates linguistic, cultural, commercial, and demographic shifts in Singapore, in the context of transformations of the urban environment. The project also demonstrates how a moderated, selectively crowd-sourced effort can solicit useful geospatial data at scale, sourced from different generations, and at higher granularity than traditional surveys, while mitigating negative impacts of unmoderated crowd-sourcing. Stakeholder agencies believe the project will achieve several objectives, including Supporting heritage conservation and public education; Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage; Providing historical context for street, place or development-renaming requests; Enhancing place-making with deeper historical knowledge; Facilitating emergency and social services by tagging legal addresses to vernacular place names; Encouraging public engagement with heritage by eliciting multi-stakeholder input.

Keywords: Digital Heritage, Geospatial, collective memory, Southeast Asia, Singapore, crowd-sourced, geographical names, linguistic heritage, place-naming

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2 Flirting with Ephemerality and the Daily Production of the Fleeting City

Authors: Rafael Martinez

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Our view of cities is dominated by the built environment. Buildings, streets, avenues, bridges, flyovers, and so on virtually exclude anything not fixed, permanently alterable or indefinitely temporal. Yet, city environments can also be shaped by temporally produced structures which, regardless of their transience, act as thresholds separating or segregating people and spaces. Academic works on cities conceptualize them, whether temporary or permanent, as tangible environments. This paper considers the idea of the ephemeral city, a city purposely produced and lived in as an impermanent, fluid and transitional environment resulting from an alignment of different forces. In particular, the paper proposes to observe how certain performative practices inform the emergence of ephemeral spaces in the city’s daily life. With Singapore as its backdrop and focusing foreign workers, the paper aims at documenting how everyday life practices, such as flirting, result in production of transitional space, informed by semiotic blurs, and yet material, perceptible, human and tangible for some. In this paper, it is argued that flirting for Singapore's foreign workers entails skillful understanding of what is proposed as the 'flirting cartography.' Thus, spatially, flirtation becomes not only a matter to be taken for granted but also a form of producing a fleeting space that requires deployment of various techniques drawn upon a particular knowledge. The paper is based upon a performative methodology which seeks to understand the praxis and rationale of the ephemerality of some spaces produced by foreign workers within this cosmopolitan city. By resorting to this methodological approach, the paper aims to establish the connection between the visibility gained by usually marginalized populations through their ephemeral reclamation of public spaces in the city.

Keywords: Space, Singapore, ephemeral, flirting

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1 The Impact of Neighbourhood Built-Environment on the Formulation and Facilitation of Bottom-up Mutual Help Networks for Senior Residents in Singapore

Authors: Wei Zhang, John Chye Fung, Chye Kiang Heng

Abstract:

Background: The world’s demographics is currently undergoing the largest wave of both rapid ageing and dramatic urbanisation in human history. As one of the most rapidly ageing countries, Singapore will see about one in four residents aged 65 years and above by 2030 in its high-rise and high-density urban environment. Research questions: To support urban seniors ageing in place and interdependence among senior residents and their informal caregivers, this study argues a community-based care model with bottom-up mutual help networks and asks how neighbourhood built-environment influences the formulation and facilitation of bottom-up mutual help networks in Singapore. Methods: Two public housing communities with different physical environment and rich age-friendly neighbourhood initiatives were chosen as the case studies. The categories, participants and places of bottom-up mutual help activities will be obtained via field observation, non-structural interviews of participants, service providers and managers of care facilities, and documents. Mapping and content analysis will be used to explore the influences of neighbourhood built-environment on the formulation and facilitation of bottom-up mutual help networks. Results and conclusions: The results showed that neighbourhood design, place programming, and place governance have a confluence on the bottom-up mutual help networks for senior residents. Significance: The outcomes of this study will provide fresh evidence for paradigm shifts of community-based care for the elderly and neighbourhood planning. In addition, the research findings will shed light on meaningful implications of urban planners and policy makers as they tackle with the issues arising from the ageing society.

Keywords: Built Environment, Singapore, neighbourhood, Mutual help, Senior residents

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