A study by health technology company Royal Philips found that Singaporeans now get an average of 6.9 hours of sleep every night in 2020 – compared to 6.4 hours in 2019 (CNA, Mar. 13) – but beyond the descriptive information there is little explanation for the increase in the number of hours. In other words, among the 1,000 surveyed respondents*, why are they getting more sleep over the last year? As per the study findings, is it solely related to caffeine intake? More proper bedtime or wake-up schedules? Or the increase in the take-up of reading?
In response to a parliamentary question by MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng, manpower minister Josephine Teo revealed that 84 per cent of eligible fathers in the public sector make use of their paternity leave, compared to the national rate of 53 per cent (ST, Feb. 27). The ostensible talking point seemed to focus on the observation that “the public sector utilisation rate is even higher than those in Nordic countries, which are well-known for their family-friendly policies and strong support for parenthood”. Yet missing from this exposition are (causal) explanations for the phenomenon in Singapore.
Shannon Ang, a sociology graduate student at the University of Michigan, penned a case study on the number of PMET (professionals, managers, executives, and technicians) retrenchments in Singapore, which was at the centre of the legal case between the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). Ang’s piece is not focused on the court’s decision or on taking sides, but is instead premised upon the better use of statistics to make arguments.
A study by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and National University of Singapore economist Jessica Pan found that women in Singapore still earn less than men, but whereas ST went with the headline “Singapore women earn 6% less than men, but gap has narrowed: Study” (ST, Jan. 9) (emphasis mine), TODAY chose “MOM’s first nationwide study shows gap growing slightly between median wages of men and women” (TODAY, Jan. 10) (emphasis mine). The difference, related to the two measurement methods, was that ST compared the gap in adjusted median pay (8.8 per cent in 2002 and six in 2018) while TODAY compared the gap in unadjusted median pay (16 per cent in 2002 and 16.3 in 2018).
Even though a ST report (Sept. 16) shed some light on the lack of socio-economic diversity among medical and dental undergraduates at the local universities – finding that two-thirds of them come from households earning more than $9,000 a month – a complete picture of socio-economic diversity among medicine and dentistry students remains elusive. We do not know how the income representation of students has changed over time. And in addition to household income, we do not know the socio-economic distribution of these students based on per-capita income, housing type, parental education and employment, as well as their past schools.