Singapore: Singapore on Sunday kicked off celebrations to mark 50 years since it became an independent state.
The festivities started with a recording of Singapore’s founder, late Lee Kuan Yew reading the Proclamation of Independence, aired all across the island nation.
The recording, made in 2012, was broadcast at 9.00 a.m radio and TV channels. Participants at the ceremonies also sang the national anthem, The Straits Times reported.
The proclamation was read by an announcer over Radio Singapore though it was issued in Lee Kuan Yew’s name in 1965. To make up for this, Lee Kuan Yew agreed to do a recording of himself reading the proclamation in 2012.
“Exactly 50 years ago, a radio announcer read the Proclamation that marked the birth of our nation. This morning, at National Day Observances, we remembered and celebrated that pivotal moment,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on a Facebook post.
This year’s independence day celebration is the first without Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March at age 91. Lee played a key role in breaking away Singapore from Malaysia.
Madrid, October 22, 2017 : Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has outlined plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders and take control of the separatist region.
Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region’s parliament but put forward plans for elections, BBC reported.
The measures must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.
Large crowds have gathered in Barcelona to protest against direct rule from Madrid. It comes almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum.
Spain’s Supreme Court had declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has ignored pleas from the national government to abandon moves towards independence.
Rajoy said the the Catalan government’s actions were “contrary to the law and seeking confrontation”. He said it was “not our wish, it was not our intention” to impose direct rule.
This will be via Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, which allows it to impose direct rule in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.
Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.
Reports say that Spain’s interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia’s Mossos police force and remove its commander Josep Lluís Trapero, who is already facing sedition charges.
The government is also considering taking control of Catalonia’s public broadcaster TV3, El País newspaper reported.
Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras said Rajoy and his allies had “not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy”.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a “serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere” and called for demonstrations.
The president of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said the club gave its “absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people”.
But he called for any reaction to be “civil and peaceful” and said dialogue was the only way to a solution.
Eduard Rivas Mateo, spokesman for the Catalan Socialist party — which supports the Spanish government’s stance but also wants constitutional reform — said he could not accept a “harsh application” of Article 155.
But Ines Arrimadas, head of the centrist Ciudadanos party in Catalonia, which is against independence, said holding fresh elections would “restore goodwill and democracy” in the region.
Rajoy’s use of Article 155 had been widely anticipated, but his announcement when it came still had a huge impact. The article has never been invoked before, so there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding its potential reach and meaning.
Although Rajoy insisted that Catalonia’s self-government is not being suspended, many will disagree. The removal from office of Carles Puigdemont and all the members of his cabinet, to allow ministers in Madrid to take on their duties, amounts to a major reining in of Catalonia’s devolved powers.
The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia with these measures.
Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution. (IANS)
Singapore, September 13, 2017 : Halimah Yacob became on Wednesday the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.
However, Yacob’s selection was overshadowed by criticism that it was undemocratic to give her the top post without a vote. Halimah Yacob, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony due to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office said.
Yacob was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post. This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates. Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Yacob, accompanied by her husband and greeted by about 750 supporters, spoke outside the People’s Association building and called for unity in a speech delivered in English and Malay.
“We need every Singaporean to stand together shoulder to shoulder … we have not reached the peak yet and the best is yet to come,” Yacob said, urging citizens to “focus on the similarities that we have and not on the differences.”
In 2016, Singapore’s Parliament approved a constitutional reform which stipulated that the presidential elections would be reserved for one of the ethnicities of the multicultural city-state if no candidate from this group has occupied the post in the previous 30 years.
“I am a President for everyone,” said Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive.
Yacob was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.
The mother of five started her political career with the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been governing the country since 1959, and entered the Parliament in 2001.
She secured her first portfolio in 2011, as State Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.
In August 2017, Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the PAP to be able to run for President. (IANS)
The definition of ‘Independent women’ is always weighed with the money she earns.
Societies see bread earners as the ones who run the family.
This societal taboo disrespects the woman’s choice.
People are of the opinion that an educated woman limiting herself as a housewife is “squandering” her qualification. Women often hear, “what’s the use of studying, if you have to become a housewife”. The choice of staying at home or going to work is completely a personal decision. Both sexes pertain the right to take decisions of their lives.
It’s not necessary that the option to stay at home is always imposed on women, some may opt to become a housewife. The ‘taboo’ of a woman wasting her degree by sitting at home, relegates the choice made by her. Women education is questioned, if they decide being independent by not spending eight hours outside of their homes.
The work profile of a housewife gets restricted to the domestic drudgery in many societies. Had home-making been doing just the domestic chores, then why do working mothers prefer leaving their kids with English-speaking maids or send them to creches, where their baby is under the guidance of educated people. Why do they not randomly pick someone?
An educated woman can make better decisions in home-making. The quality of life of the family would be better in terms of nutrition, cleanliness, health and stress when the person devotes a lot of her time at home. From choosing the right kind of household items to childcare, her qualifications would play a huge role. Young minds benefit from interactions with an educated person. The housewife’s qualifications would help her decide the kind of school her child would fit in, the kind of environment is required for his/her growth, and most importantly the lessons and values to be given to her children.
The contribution made by a housewife gets quantified with money. She is asked, “Do you not feel ashamed while asking for money from your husband?”. Does the woman’s time, effort and sweat in cleaning and maintaining the house, not anything? The definition of ‘Independent woman’ is often misconstrued. The self-earned cash is an important sign of freedom, however, being independent is only weighed with earning money. People fail to understand that, a lady taking the onus of the whole family, making wiser decisions for the well-being of its members qualifies to “being independent”.
The relationship between a husband and a wife is mutually dependent. Both are reliant on each other for physical and mental support. If a lady homemaker needs money from her husband, then the latter needs cooked food, ironed clothes, clean house and good parenting for his child.
[bctt tweet=”The definition of independent women if always misconstrued with money]
Working parents juggle the responsibilities of home and work, which makes them stressed. In such situations, some choose to be the multitasker, while some want to stay at home. Every individual chooses the best for themselves. Rather than judging them, we should respect their decision and show some compassion. Women education never gets wasted if, they willingly decided to take part in the selection of household items. And, we must never forget that education passes on wisdom, and wise decisions always succeed
Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya
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