Transition of Leadership in Singapore Signals a New Era Ahead

Long-time Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced his decision to step down and pass the baton to his designated successor, Lawrence Wong, on May 15. This transition comes ahead of an impending election slated for next year.

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Wong has long been recognized as the prime minister-in-waiting, a position he assumed in April 2022 after the previously appointed successor withdrew unexpectedly. This disruption in the meticulously planned leadership succession, customary in Singapore, has been carefully navigated to ensure continuity.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wong emerged prominently as the co-head of the government’s COVID-19 task force. His adept management of the crisis, which included implementing movement restrictions and overseeing contact-tracing efforts, garnered widespread acclaim. He not only succeeded in containing infections and minimizing fatalities but also excelled in communicating government policies transparently to the public.

Having served as Lee’s principal private secretary from 2005 to 2008, Wong subsequently held key ministerial positions in education, national development, finance, and eventually ascended to the role of deputy prime minister in 2022.

In accepting this new responsibility, Wong expressed humility and a profound sense of duty. He articulated his commitment to serving the nation wholeheartedly, pledging to be guided by the aspirations and concerns of the people.

Lee, in acknowledging the significance of the leadership transition, emphasized its importance for the nation’s progress. The Prime Minister’s Office affirmed Wong’s leadership, highlighting unanimous support from the People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs.

Wong’s call to action encourages Singaporeans to actively participate in shaping the country’s future. He invites citizens to share their ideas, aspirations, and concerns, emphasizing the collaborative effort needed to build a brighter tomorrow for all.

Addressing the financial concerns of Singaporeans remains a key priority for the incoming leadership. Recent surveys indicate significant apprehension among citizens regarding their financial security, with factors such as rising household expenses and inflation weighing heavily on their minds. Issues such as soaring rental costs and the anticipated increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) further underscore the need for proactive measures to alleviate financial burdens and ensure economic resilience.

As Wong assumes office, he commits to addressing these challenges head-on, working tirelessly to build a prosperous and inclusive Singapore.

Sources: 1,2, & 3


Singapore’s Total Number of Monkeypox Cases Grew to Four

Infection with the monkeypox virus causes the rare disease called Monkeypox. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, which includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus, and cowpox virus. This disease, which can cause serious skin rash, appears to be spreading via direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person.


On July 8, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one more imported case of Monkeypox in the country. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to four since June. The country’s Monkeypox cases consist of one local infection and three imported ones. The fourth case is a 30-year-old patient who lives in Singapore and had recently returned from Germany.

The man experienced rashes in the groin area last June 30 and had a fever a week later. He sought medical treatment and was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on July 7. He tested positive for monkeypox on July 8 and is currently in a stable condition, according to MOH. Contact tracing is ongoing.


Health authorities in Africa are treating its expanding Monkeypox outbreak as an emergency. To avoid the immense problems seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are exhausting their resources and are asking for other leaders to share the world’s limited supply of vaccines.

Monkeypox has been spreading in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, however the weak surveillance and the lack of laboratory diagnosis contribute to many cases being left undetected. Currently, countries in Africa have reported more than 1,800 suspected cases including 70 deaths with only 109 of them being lab-confirmed.

Ahmed Ogwell, the acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control, said:
“This particular outbreak for us means an emergency. We want to be able to address monkeypox as an emergency now so that it does not cause more pain and suffering.”


The World Health Organization said that the expanding monkeypox outbreak was worrying but did not yet warrant being declared as a global health emergency. The U.N. health agency said it would reconsider its decision if Monkeypox continued spreading across more borders, began infecting vulnerable groups, and showed signs of increased severity.

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Worldwide, more than 5,000 cases of Monkeypox have been reported in 51 countries (in time of writing). The majority of these cases are in Europe and no deaths beyond Africa have been reported.

Sources: 1,2, 3, & 4


S’pore Chosen As BioNTech’s New Regional Headquarters

Since vaccination against COVID-19 began, countries have exhausted their efforts to secure sufficient doses that will inoculate their population. Securing enough doses to cover the population is not an easy feat. Manufacturing setbacks, travel limitations, and other factors have slowed down the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in some countries.

The World Health Organization explained that the vast majority of COVID-19 shots have been received by developed countries, while developing countries have obtained less than 1% (as of April 2021). In Singapore, a total of 4,047,651 vaccine doses have been administered as of May 30, 2021.

To further increase the production of vaccines and to address the current situation, BioNTech announced that it will open a manufacturing site in Singapore. BioNTech has chosen the country as its new regional headquarters. It is going to be its first manufacturing facility outside of Germany.

This venture is supported by Singapore Economic Development Board — a government agency under the trade ministry. Moreover, this expansion initiative is expected to create up to 80 additional jobs.


BioNTech (Biopharmaceutical New Technologies) is a German biotechnology company that manufactures and developes active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches. It was founded in the city of Mainz in 2008. In 2020, it participated in the global fight against the pandemic by developing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

According to BioNTech, the Singapore manufacturing site will “address potential pandemic threats in Southeast Asia and will increase BioNTech’s global supply capacity of product candidates – also beyond vaccines – based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology”.

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The mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, prompt the body to make a protein that is part of the virus. This aims to trigger an immune response.

The new manufacturing site will be able to produce hundreds of million doses of mRNA-based vaccines each year, depending on the specific vaccine. BioNTech projects that its Singapore facility could be operational as early as 2023.

Sources: 1, 2, & 3


Get Blue Eyes Forever For US$5,000 At Strōma Medical

Whenever we see people with blue or green eyes, we get mesmerized because having these pair of eyes are considered unique in comparison with the norm. Eye color determined by two factors: the pigmentation of the iris and the frequency-dependence of the scattering of light.

If you want to change your eye color temporarily then, you will have to purchase colored contact lenses. For decades it is a characteristic that we cannot change permanently…until now.

A company named Strōma Medical, based in United States, developed a revolutionary technique to permanently alter one’s brown eyes to blue. Inventor and scientist Gregg Homer, JSD (PhD) has patented a non-invasive procedure of using laser through the eyes and it can be performed in under a minute!


Dr. Homer said that fundamental principle that makes all this possible is the fact that under every brown eyes are blue eyes. There is just a thin layer of brown pigment that covers the front surface of the iris giving it the color brown. So, the laser will disrupt the layer of pigment and take it away by the innate and gradual process of tissue removal.

For the first few weeks, the irises will become darker. Then once the tissue is totally removed, an underlying natural and permanent set of blue eyes will show. This process takes about several weeks.


Strōma Medical yet to be given the go signal to perform its procedures in the United States but it has performed a number of procedures in Mexico and Costa Rica. As of the present, no adverse effects have been reported. No effect was shown on the patient’s vision since it only treats the patient’s iris. And, pigmentary glaucoma did not occur in their pre-clinical or clinical studies.

Image Credits: Look Into My Eyes via Flickr

Image Credits: Look Into My Eyes via Flickr

Interested to get yours done? Well, you have to pay a fee of about US$5,000 or S$6,945.

Good thing 2 sets of blue colored contact lenses are S$6,900 cheaper than this procedure!


In UK, Oil is Cheaper than Packed Water

Can there be an economy where oil is cheaper than water? If yes, how will it affect its countrymen?

According to United Kingdom’s The Independent, a British national newspaper publication, Oil by barrel is now cheaper than the 6 packed bottles (1.5 liter each) of Evian Natural Mineral Water.

A liter of bottled water costs about 42 Pence (S$87 or US$0.66), while it costs about 24 Pence (S$0.49 or US$0.38) a liter for gas…that is 40 percent cheaper!

The price of oil has notably collapsed, affecting every single person in the country. A market analyst for Reuters named John Kemp, highlighted the bizarre state of economy on Twitter saying that not only that the current oil price represented “an unsustainable low level” – but that it was “impossible to predict how low prices might fall”.

Image Credits: Daniel Oines via Flickr

Image Credits: Daniel Oines via Flickr

This is not the first time it has happened globally.

In 2011, Saudi Arabia’s petrol costs about 0.45 Saudi Arabian Riyal or 0.16 Singapore Dollars and 0.12 United States Dollars, which is absolutely much cheaper than bottled water. Saudi’s government spends SAR26 Billion on water subsidies every year to keep down their citizens’ water bills (Finfacts, 2011). That is equal to S$26 Billion.

An interesting thought is that unlike any other countries in Southeast Asia, the tap water in Singapore is safe to drink. We can just get a glass of tap water then refill it for free. But, a liter of bottled water in the supermarket is still more expensive than United Kingdom’s liter of oil today.

Image Credits: Luis via Flickr

Image Credits: Luis via Flickr

Although this economic state in UK may cause lower annual prices of other goods easing the cost of living of the citizens…the falling energy prices may result to inflation and threaten the financial stability of the whole country. The Bank of England backs up this statement of warning.