After weeks of criticising the media for leading with eye-catching headlines of research findings but disappointing with thin exposition of the research methodology, TODAY – from a large-scale study with many different findings (many of which were aptly summarised in the news report) – did an excellent job of highlighting an interesting and seemingly paradoxical observation: “That while Singaporean respondents supported better labour conditions for foreign domestic workers, this sentiment did not necessarily translate into good employment practices” (TODAY, Dec. 19).
Ruggeri et al. (2018) are interested in the sharing decisions of Italian and Singaporean children and adolescents, examining – through an adapted dictator game with the use of a comic character, so as to experimentally study how the participants think goods should be shared – the influence of peers versus adults and of fair versus unfair suggestions. And while the unsurprising findings still offer useful insights to educators and practitioners who work with young people, there should also be greater attention on sample selection and the importance of research context.
Whereas Cheong Yip Seng’s “OB Markers: My Straits Times Story” was a more extensive account of “The Straits Times” (ST) – from the perspective of its former editor-in-chief – P. N. Balji offers a more succinct account of his stints as chief editor of “The New Paper” (TNP) and “TODAY”. His interesting editorial, journalistic, and political nuggets which shed light on the five different newspaper newsrooms of which he was a part were made even more readable by the fact that “Reluctant Editor” is explicitly not a self-aggrandising memoir.
In comparing two groups of Singaporeans – 311 millennials aged between 19 and 35 and 200 individuals aged between 60 and 69 (born between 1950 and 1959, thus part of the Merdeka Generation) – the focus of the research was on perceptions of life as a young Singaporean. In other words, the millennials were asked to reflect on their current life in the country today, whereas those belonging to the Merdeka Generation were asked to reflect on their life as a millennial during the 1970s and 1980s.
The news report that Singapore is the world’s “smartest” city (ST, Oct. 3) – based on the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index 2019, published by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) – is useful for exploring the two concepts of sampling and construct validity. First, how did the IMD and SUTD team collect the survey data and to what extent are the samples representative of the 102 cities (including Singapore); and second, how did the team define and operationalise “smart” and to what extent are the survey questions and responses reflective of whether a city is truly “smart”?