Understanding economics, finance useful for youth, can help tackle real-world problems: DPM Heng
SINGAPORE - An understanding of economics and finance provides a valuable foundation for lifelong learning and can be applied to real-world problems, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (July 25) as he encouraged young people here to develop and deepen their interest in the topic.
Speaking at the final round of the virtual National Economics and Financial Management Challenge, Mr Heng said the basics of economics and finance can be applied to public policy, for example to address climate change or changing demographics in Singapore and globally.
"The discourse is not just theoretical, but it can lead to better outcomes that can improve the lives of billions of people on earth," he said.
The challenge was organised by the National University of Singapore's Economics Society to make pre-tertiary education students become interested and appreciate economics and finance.
Now in its 14th year, the challenge began this month with two earlier rounds that tested the participants' knowledge of tertiary-level economics and their ability to create a video applying economic and financial theories to an everyday life topic.
Sunday's round included a case study and presentation segment, where teams were given 1½ hours to work on a case question, and a buzzer round that tests participants' general knowledge.
Mr Heng also addressed concerns young people here might have about their future, given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: "I believe that while Covid-19 has closed some doors, it has also opened many new ones. The post-Covid-19 world will be quite different from the one before, but it will be no less exciting."
He noted that Covid-19 has accelerated structural changes that were already in motion, including the digital revolution and the renewed emphasis on environmental sustainability.
"Our youth are well-placed to seek out these new opportunities," he said.
Mr Heng added that the value of understanding economics goes beyond being prepared for the job market.
He said: "I believe economics can help each of us to make better choices - for ourselves and for our society. I hope that you will continue to deepen your interest in economics and finance, and use this knowledge to become active citizens and make a difference.
"This is the spirit of Singapore Together, where we can all play a part in building a better shared future."
G7: 'Mount Recyclemore' of leaders made from electronic waste in Cornwall
A sculpture of the G7 leaders shaped like Mount Rushmore made of electronic waste has been erected in Cornwall ahead of the G7 Summit.
It has been named "Mount Recyclemore" and bids to highlight the damage caused by the disposal of electronic devices.
Sculptor Joe Rush said he hoped it would show they needed to be made more easily reusable or recyclable.
He said: "It needs to be repairable or made to last longer because the stuff is going into landfill."
According to a United Nations report, more than 53 million tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019 - over 9 million tonnes more than five years earlier.
The seven leaders depicted in the sculpture are UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden.
Mr Rush, who was commissioned to create the artwork by musicMagpie, explained the highly-visible location for his piece was chosen across the water from the Carbis Bay Hotel, where the summit is due to take place this weekend, in the hope those depicted would notice "when they fly over".
"We have this looking at them and hopefully we're going to prick their conscience and make them realise they're all together in this waste business.
"The key message is 'talk to each other' and let's sort this mess out," Mr Rush added.
India records world's highest daily Covid-19 deaths after state revises numbers
BENGALURU (REUTERS) - India reported on Thursday (June 10) the highest single-day death toll from Covid-19 in the world, at 6,148, after a big eastern state revised its figures to account for people who succumbed to the disease at home or in private hospitals.
The health department of Bihar, one of India's poorest states, revised its total Covid-19 related death toll on Wednesday to more than 9,400 from about 5,400.
India's total Covid-19 case load now stands at 29.2 million after rising by 94,052 in the past 24 hours, while total fatalities are at 359,676, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Yee Jing Man spared a third director but ordered his superior to eat a red packet containing $20 that the man had given him for Chinese New Year.
He then barricaded the office entrance with tables and chairs and pointed the chopper and a knife at his colleagues to stop them from calling the police, before he stabbed and slashed himself with the weapons.
The 24-year-old Malaysian was sentenced to 20 years' jail on Wednesday (June 9) for the attack on March 11, 2019 at the office of e-commerce company Jiji in Sungei Kadut Loop.
He pleaded guilty to one count of culpable homicide for killing Mr Lin Xinjie, 29, and causing grievous hurt with a dangerous weapon by slashing Mr Li Mingqiao, 30.
Eight other charges were taken into consideration, including one of criminal intimidation for threatening the third director, Mr Ryan Pan Zai Xing, 29, and four of wrongful confinement.
After his arrest, Yee was assessed to be suffering from major depressive disorder, which significantly reduced his responsibility for his actions.
The High Court heard that he started working for the company in March 2017 after his girlfriend, who was an employee, recommended him to Mr Lin.
Yee initially performed well at work. Mr Lin gave him a red packet with $999 for Chinese New Year in 2018 and offered to promote him to warehouse manager with an increase in salary from $1,700 to $2,000.
Yee rejected the offer, as he did not want the additional workload and stress, the court heard.
From September 2018, his performance deteriorated and he did not show up at work with increasing frequency.
Court documents stated that he was absent for 69 days starting from Dec 1, 2017.
He also bore grudges against his bosses. He felt that Mr Lin had scolded him unreasonably and that Mr Li was sarcastic to him.
By February 2019, Yee began to visualise killing the directors with a chopper, especially Mr Lin and Mr Li.
He had a better relationship with Mr Pan, who helped him with his work and talked to him frequently, said prosecutors.
Yee also decided that he would take his own life after killing the trio as he did not want to be a fugitive and felt there was no purpose to life if he had to constantly worry about working.
On Feb 12, 2019, after his girlfriend told him that Mr Lin wanted to fire him, Yee bought a chopper from a provision shop. But he eventually changed his mind about killing Mr Lin.
Yee then took the rest of the month off and spent his time at home playing mobile games and searching online for ways to kill people efficiently.
He returned to work on March 1, 2019 but stopped showing up by March 6.
On March 11, his girlfriend forwarded him a message from Mr Pan saying that Yee no longer needed to come to work.
Angered by the message, he decided to carry out his plan to attack the three directors and headed for the office with the chopper and a ceramic knife in his bag.
At about 12.55pm, Yee walked to Mr Li, who was at his desk, and slashed his head and neck from the back.
Yee then swung the chopper at the back of Mr Lin's neck a few times, slashing the back of his head, neck, right forearm and right index finger.
He then threatened Mr Pan with the chopper and the director complied with Yee's demand to put the red packet in his mouth.
One of the employees who was barricaded in the office called the police.
Yee then stabbed his stomach and slashed his wrist, uttering "I have no other way to go".
Police arrived at about 1.05pm and restrained him after a struggle.
Mr Lin was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Mr Li underwent emergency surgery and was discharged on March 16.
Mr Li suffered significant scarring and still attends physiotherapy due to weakness from his injuries.
A male nurse, who works at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), and his family are said to be the victims. The Straits Times understands that his wife is also an essential service worker.
One of the alleged offenders, Lim Sok Lay, 48, was charged with five counts of harassment and one count of being a public nuisance.
Her husband, Cheang Eng Hock, 56, was handed two harassment charges.
The two Singaporeans are accused of harassing their neighbours at an Edgefield Plains block of flats in Punggol.
Between May 13 and 15 last year, they are said to have shouted phrases such as "Covid spreader" and "virus family" at their alleged victims.
Cheang and Lim are also accused of spraying disinfection solution in their direction.
On Oct 21 last year, Lim allegedly sprayed a similar liquid at her neighbours' flat.
She is said to have targeted another flat on the same floor the following month by abusing its occupants with vulgar language.
Lim is also accused of spraying disinfection liquid in the direction of this second flat on Dec 10 last year.
The court heard that she went to SKH with her husband on Jan 8 this year and they allegedly harassed a man identified as Mr Muhammad Najib Ngasewan.
The couple are accused of uttering "this nurse gangster" and "this nurse no good".
Separately, Lim went to Ngee Ann City in Orchard Road on Feb 21 this year and allegedly caused annoyance by shouting in a public place despite repeated warnings from a policewoman.
Police said in a statement on Thursday that they received a report on May 15 last year about the alleged offenders' antics. Officers then started investigating.
All parties involved in the incidents went through mediation at the Community Mediation Centre last June to seek a resolution.
Despite this, the police said they continued receiving reports between last October and this January about more acts of harassment by the alleged offenders.
Investigations are still ongoing against Lim over fresh offences she allegedly committed against her neighbours that were reported last month, the police added.
Lim is being remanded at the Institute of Mental Health and will be back in court on June 4.
Cheang , whose bail was set at $5,000, will return to court on June 18.
In their statement, the police said: "Over the course of investigations, (we) have remained in contact with the parties involved and advised all parties to minimise contact and interactions with each other.
"The police do not condone any behaviour that impacts the public's sense of safety and security in the neighbourhoods. We urge members of the public to practise neighbourliness and work together to overcome Covid-19."
For each count of harassment, an offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000.
New PSLE scoring system: MOE releases cut-off points for Singapore's secondary schools
SINGAPORE - Primary 6 pupils will not need to achieve perfect scores to get into top secondary schools when the new PSLE scoring system takes effect this year, based on entry scores for 139 secondary schools released on Tuesday (April 27) by the Education Ministry.
Under the new scoring system, first announced in 2016, each standard-level PSLE subject will be scored using eight bands known as Achievement Levels (AL). Each pupil will be given AL scores from 1 to 8 for each subject, instead of grades like A* to E.
A pupil's total PSLE score will be the sum of the AL of each of the four subjects, with the best possible total score being 4.
The entry scores released on Tuesday show that top schools such as Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) have entry scores ranging from 4 to 6, while entry scores for other popular schools such as Anderson Secondary School range from 4 to 10, and 6 to 11 for Crescent Girls' School.
The MOE, in a virtual briefing, said it generated the scores based on the 2020 cohort's PSLE results and school choice patterns. It simulated each pupil's individual subject score in AL terms and added the scores for each subject to form the total PSLE score.
The ministry then simulated each pupil's posting outcome based on the new posting system.
If two pupils with the same score vie for the last spot in a school, tie-breakers will come into play. The first tie-breaker will be based on citizenship. Singaporeans will get priority over Singapore permanent residents and international pupils.
The next tie-breaker is the pupil's list of school choices, where a pupil who puts the school higher on the list of choices will get priority.
If the tie still cannot be broken, computerised balloting will be used.
The newly released indicative PSLE score ranges reflect the score of the first and last pupils who would be posted to each school under the AL scoring system.
The PSLE score of the last pupil posted to a school in the previous year is referred to as the school's cut-off point (COP).
Under the simulation this year, the cut-off point ranged from 6 to 30.
Like the old T-score system, the score ranges are likely to vary from year to year depending on a cohort's PSLE results. However, the MOE said the indicative PSLE score ranges have remained largely stable in recent years and fluctuations would typically be by 1 AL.
Pupils who pass Higher Chinese Language (HCL) will continue to receive a posting advantage for admission to Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools.
If pupils with the same PSLE score are vying for limited places in the same SAP school, those with better HCL grades - in the order of distinction, merit and pass - will be allocated a place ahead of other pupils.
This posting advantage applies before the tie-breakers.
Schools will therefore be less differentiated by COPs, which means that pupils would have a wider range of secondary schools to choose from, said the MOE.
Given that school choices will be a factor in tie-breakers, parents and pupils should consider carefully how they list the six school choices, the ministry said. It added that parents and pupils can consider at least two to three schools where the pupil's PSLE score is better than the school's COP.
The MOE said it expects that about nine in 10 pupils will not need to undergo balloting and that the vast majority of pupils will likely be successfully allocated one of their six school choices, which is comparable to that under the T-score system.
MOE director-general of education Wong Siew Hoong said that despite the new scoring system, the PSLE itself as an examination has not changed.
He said: "There is a certain stability within the schools' indicated PSLE score ranges, and the system has not been turned topsy-turvy."
The new system is part of the shift away from the overemphasis on examination results and chasing the last point, he added.
Mr Wong said parents and pupils may want to look beyond the COP when choosing a school and consider the pupil's learning needs, interests, school culture and ethos and co-curricular activities, as well as distance between school and home, among other factors.
Schools such as the School of the Arts Singapore, Singapore Sports School and NUS High School of Math and Science have separate admission processes and do not have indicative entry scores because they will not be participating in the 2021 Secondary 1 posting exercise.
Housewife Tammie Wong, 42, whose daughter is taking the PSLE this year at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School (Primary), said her daughter is hoping to continue with the affiliated secondary school and opt for either the O-Level or integrated programme track, depending on her score.
However, she added that if her daughter had a score that allowed her to choose between another school's integrated programme, or join the Express stream at CHIJ St Nicholas, she would choose the latter because the familiar school culture is a priority for her and her daughter.
Ms Wong added that for the other school choices, the distance from their home in Thomson Road would likely play a factor as well.
She said: "School culture is very important, my daughter is very comfortable where she is so she will look for an environment that is similar to what she has now."
Phase 2 of underground 'highway' for used water to be financed through borrowing: MOF
SINGAPORE - A major project that aims to free up space on land by moving facilities for treating used water underground is under way, with about a quarter of a 100km-long conveyance system for central and western Singapore completed so far.
The $10 billion Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), which is scheduled for completion by 2025, will be one of the nationally significant infrastructures that the Government intends to pay for through borrowing - something that has not been done since the 1990s.
This means the cost will be spread out over many years, with each generation that benefits bearing part of it.
"The DTSS is an example of how Singapore builds long term. This can actually last us for the next 100 years, so effectively we're building in this generation for the next generation, and the generation after that," said Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Finance, during a site visit to DTSS Phase 2 (DTSS 2) on Monday (April 19).
She was joined at the event by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment.
DTSS is essentially a network of deep tunnel sewers that makes use of gravity to channel used water to three centralised treatment plants, where the water is purified to produce Newater.
The project was conceived more than two decades ago to improve Singapore's water resilience, as the system will allow the Republic to better capture every drop of water for reuse.
When the DTSS is ready by 2025, intermediate pumping stations and conventional water reclamation plants will be phased out, freeing up about 214 football fields' worth of land.
Addressing water and land scarcity
Construction of the DTSS is being done in two phases.
The first phase, which involved more than 100km of tunnels and link sewers serving the northern and eastern parts of Singapore, was completed in 2008 and cost $3.4 billion.
Three conventional water reclamation plants in Kim Chuan, Bedok and Seletar were phased out following the completion of the first phase and the land they sat on was made available for other developments.
Used water was instead channelled to Changi Water Reclamation Plant in the east and the Kranji plant in the north.
Construction for phase two, which will channel used water from the downtown and western parts of Singapore to the new Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, began in 2017.
As at April this year, about 24km of the 100km-long conveyance system for phase two has been completed.
Once in place, land for conventional water reclamation plants in Ulu Pandan and Jurong will be freed up, as will the plots now being used for immediate pumping stations.
The second phase is estimated to cost about $6.5 billion.
Financing projects for the future
Singapore last borrowed for infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s to pay for the large upfront costs of building Changi Airport as well as the Republic's first MRT lines.
By the 1990s, with the economy growing rapidly, the Government paid for infrastructure in full from its revenue.
The country now faces another hump in its development spending needs, with plans for new rail lines and coastal protection measures against rising sea levels.
At least 50 on board the train were killed - the youngest was six years old - and more than 140 injured in the island's worst rail disaster.
The 408 Taroko Express, carrying four crew members and 492 passengers, was travelling from Taipei to Taitung, where most of its passengers hail from. Many were heading home at the start of the Qing Ming Festival to tend to family graves. One French citizen was among the dead, officials said.
The eight-carriage train derailed just after entering a tunnel in Hualien County. The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said the train hit a construction vehicle that had slipped onto the tracks at the tunnel's mouth.
Friday's accident was the deadliest railway accident in Taiwan since the TRA introduced the Tze-chiang limited express, its fastest train category, in 1978. The Taroko Express is a newer model of the Tze-chiang trains.
The crash left four carriages a twisted wreck.
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The truck's handbrake was allegedly not engaged properly, the authorities said. The TRA is planning to demand compensation from the company that owns the truck.
"Who knew the truck would just slide down to the tracks 28 minutes later?" said an employee surnamed Chang.
Though allegedly caused by the truck, Friday's crash has sparked anew longstanding questions about rail safety in Taiwan.
Upon seeing the twisted train in the tunnel, a Red Cross rescuer leading a team of 11 rescuers described the site as a "living hell". Ambulances were dispatched from Hualien, Yilan and New Taipei City to help the passengers.
The death toll rose as more were pulled from the twisted train carriages, while those uninjured opened exits on the train's top and hopped down with the help of fire fighters. All survivors were helped out of the wreckage before 7pm.
The TRA said it may take a week for the site to be fully restored.
The Taroko Express is one of the local trains that allow passengers to purchase standing tickets, and the 408 train was a packed train with many passengers standing. They were tossed about by the crash impact.
The Taiwan Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the accident, but it may take between three and six months for a conclusion to surface.
"It could be that the handbrake of the truck wasn't engaged, or that the handbrake had malfunctioned," said Yang Hung-chih, who is heading the investigation.
Friday's accident reminded many of the last serious train accident that happened in October 2018, when a Puyuma train derailed in Yilan, just north of Hualien. The Puyuma accident caused 18 deaths, and over 200 people were injured.
The injured on Friday were sent to at least six hospitals near the crash site.
President Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to visit the injured in Hualien's hospitals on Saturday morning, and has expressed her sorrow over the loss of so many people.
"It's regrettable that an accident happened on the first day of holidays, leading to heavy casualties," she said at a briefing in Taipei on Friday, vowing to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the collision.
China's Cabinet-level Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) sent its condolences on Friday evening.
"The mainland is highly concerned about the rescue progress," said Mr Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the TAO.
Composer of Count on Me, Singapore refutes plagiarism claims by musician in India
Over the past week, the online community had been up in arms over videos of Count on Me, Singapore being sung by what appeared to be students in India
The version had replaced references to Singapore in the lyrics to India
A composer in India claimed that he had written the song in 1983
In Singapore, it was first performed at the 1986 National Day celebrations
Count on Me, Singapore's composer has outrightly refuted this claim
SINGAPORE — An enduring patriotic song widely sung in Singapore has induced all kinds of emotions in the past week. Anger turned to confusion after a composer in India claimed to have written the original version of Count on Me, Singapore, a National Day favourite among the people here.
Videos of what appeared to be students in India singing the iconic song have surfaced on social media — except that all references to "Singapore" in the lyrics seemed to have been replaced with "India".
The song also goes by a different title, We Can Achieve, which Indian musician Joseph Conrad Mendoza claimed to have written three years before Canadian Hugh Harrison composed Count on Me, Singapore for the 1986 National Day celebrations here.
Speaking to TODAY, both composers dug their heels in, each claiming to be the original songwriter.
Mr Mendoza, 58, said that he wrote the song in April 1983 and taught it to children from the Bal Bhavan Orphanage in Mumbai where he is based.
They rehearsed for a month before performing it on May 1 that year during an annual gathering of children from different orphanages, he said.
"We shared the song with many teachers and institutions," Mr Mendoza, who is also known as Joey, told TODAY in an email.
"The children in remote villages all sing We Can Achieve," he said, adding that he travels around the country to teach music and sports to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Asked for evidence, he said: "Whatever data I had on the performance has gone missing since all cassettes and written (documents) were all washed away in the floods of July 26, 2005."
In 1999, he sold the rights to the song to a Catholic publishing house Pauline Communications for what he claimed to be a nominal sum of 2,000 rupees (about S$37).
The publishing house then released the track as part of a CD called We Can Achieve — Inspirational Songs for Children and All in 1999. It also uploaded the song to music-sharing platform SoundCloud in 2012, which it has now removed.
In a Facebook post last Sunday evening, Pauline Communications said that when it bought the song from Mr Mendoza, it was unaware that a similar song was used in Singapore's 1986 National Day celebrations.
"It seems that it has been copied 99 per cent from the song Count on Me Singapore," it wrote. "Sorry for any inconvenience caused and sentiments hurt."
For Mr Harrison, who works in advertising and had written three of Singapore's earliest National Day songs, Mr Mendoza's claim touched a raw nerve.
"I don't think anyone would have been bothered if a group of school children wanted to alter the lyrics slightly and sing this song for their own enjoyment," he told TODAY from Canada.
"The real problem is that Joey has been commercialising this song, even going so far as selling the rights… And worst of all, he makes his audacious acts even more outlandish by claiming that this second of Singapore's National Day songs was essentially stolen from him and does so in a public forum."
Mr Harrison said that the copyright to Count on Me, Singapore belongs to himself and the Singapore Government, which had asked him to write the song while he was working for the McCann-Erickson advertising agency.
While he was working on the song, the lyrics and melody had evolved over a number of months after input from a government official, a colleague from his firm, as well as Singapore jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro, who arranged the piece.
"What are the odds that after all these small tweaks, the song just happened to end up being identical to Joey Mendoza's Indian version?"
He has not been contacted by any government officials about the dispute over the song, but he has written to Mr Mendoza for him to retract his claims, he said.
In a Facebook post last Friday, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said that it was investigating unauthorised versions of Count on Me, Singapore for potential copyright infringements.
But it edited the post a day later to remove references that it was conducting an investigation.
It said in the latest version of its statement: "We have noticed that a remixed version of our national song Count on Me, Singapore has been made into several videos. This is one of our most beloved and recognised national songs, we are happy that it seems to have struck a chord with people in India as well."
It added: "It may be a copy of our song, but sometimes, imitation is the best form of flattery!"
TO SUE OR NOT TO SUE?
Intellectual property experts who were interviewed agreed that this case was one of clear-cut copyright infringement.
Lawyer Jeffrey Lim, director of Joyce A Tan & Partners, said that with the stark similarities in the lyrics and the melody of both songs, it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that one work was copied from the other.
The question, Mr Lim asked, is who copied from whom?
Lawyer Bryan Tan, a partner at Pinsent Masons law firm, said that Mr Mendoza's claim warrants an investigation by MCCY if the authorities decide to take any legal action.
If Mr Mendoza had plagiarised Mr Harrison's song, Singapore could send a lawyer's letter to the copyright infringers to stop using the copyright or to credit the source of the song.
Associate Professor Saw Cheng Lim from Singapore Management University's School of Law said that any copyright infringements involving the two countries can be enforced because both sides are signatories of international intellectual property agreements.
The issue, however, lies in the sensitivities surrounding the use of patriotic songs and whether enforcing action may hurt friendly relations between nations.
"The legal position appears to be very strong from Singapore's perspective", if Singapore's version was the original, he said.
"But whether you want to take further steps in that direction is probably a question that's not legal in nature."
Of the five men who died, four were financial advisers at the firm. They are: Mr Jonathan Long and Mr Eugene Yap, both 29, Mr Elvin Tan Yong Hao, 28, as well as Mr Teo Qi Xiang, 26.
The four were in a BMW M4 coupe with Mr Gary Wong Hong Chieh, 29, who was a former representative for Aviva Financial Advisers, when the car slammed into the front of a vacant shophouse and burst into flames at about 5.40am.
The driver of the white BMW is believed to be Mr Long.
She had also worked for Aviva Financial Advisers before she became an air stewardess.
In a statement to The Straits Times, Aviva Financial Advisers said it was saddened to learn that those who died in the crash were either current or former representatives.
"We wish to express our deepest condolences to their loved ones, and will assist the families in every way we can," it said.
"Grief counsellors are also being arranged to help their colleagues cope with the loss during these sad times."
Details about those involved in the crash emerged on Saturday as messages of shock and condolences poured in from friends and family on social media.
According to past media reports, Mr Yap was a co-founder of the local bubble tea chain Bober Tea and opened the brand's first store here in June 2018 with Mr Joseph Oh and Mr Gabriel Kok.
Since then, the homegrown label has expanded in Singapore to eight outlets, with franchises also opening in Manila and California.
Mr Yap's Instagram profile also said that he was a wealth manager with Aviva Financial Advisers.
Social media posts showed that he and Mr Long had taken a trip to the United States together in February last year. He was also pictured with sports cars and supercars in some of these posts.
Mr Long worked for Aviva Financial Advisers as a senior financial services manager, according to his social media profiles which have been taken down. Mr Long, who graduated from RMIT University at the SIM Global Education campus with an economics and finance degree, can also be seen posing with sports cars, including a blue BMW, in some of his photos.
Mr Wong was long-time friends with Mr Long and Mr Tan. He had studied IT at the Singapore Management University before starting a career in financial services.
A 2019 Instagram post showed that he had also worked for Aviva Financial Advisers then, and had received certificates of achievement signed by Mr Long.
According to his social media posts, Mr Wong was also involved in volunteer work during the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
In May, he wrote on Facebook that he and Mr Long had bought thousands of face masks for distribution to needy families.
"Packing everything was really tiring but it will be worth it after all. Stay safe everyone, Covid-19 will be over sooner or later," the caption read.
A Facebook user, who identified herself as Mr Wong's sister, said on Saturday that her brother had a big heart, cared for his family and loved to help the needy.
"But this morning, God took him away from us," she wrote.
He died on Thursday morning in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
In a statement to The Straits Times on Friday, Jethro's family said he was an only child who was among the top in class academically, and was also a caring friend who prayed for those around him when they were going through difficult times.
"He was a loving son, an exemplary student, a caring friend and a class chairperson," said the statement.
"He has lived such an impactful and fruitful life. Short as it may be, more importantly, it was very purposeful and completed."
His parents said they would always do things together as a family.
"It's hard to let go because we had such a close bond with Jethro," they said.
"More than a son, he was a close friend who communicated openly and we mutually supported one another in the family unit. We know this is not a goodbye, as we will see him again in our heavenly home."
Speaking to the media outside the wake at Singapore Casket in Lavender Street, his aunt, Madam Betsy Lee, in her 70s, said Jethro was musically inclined.
"I remember him singing hymns so beautifully, and he had an excellent tenor voice," she said. "He also enjoyed playing the violin and guitar."
Mrs Jessy Oskar Kwok, a family friend, said Jethro was very mature for his age.
"While other teens were staring at handphones in social gatherings, Jethro would reach out genuinely to engage others and ask how they were doing," she said.
"He was exceptionally mature and thoughtful for this age."
The family has requested privacy, and said they are still in shock and grieving.
Jethro had lost consciousness while suspended in the air, and paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force tried to resuscitate him at the scene before taking him to KTPH.
He was taking part in the school activity organised by Camelot, an outdoor adventure learning company, which is now assisting in investigations.
The police said investigations are ongoing, but that no foul play has been suggested.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) and ACS(I) said in a joint statement on Thursday evening that they were greatly saddened by Jethro's death.
"Together, we are working closely to give our fullest support to the family as well as the student's classmates and teachers during this trying time," they said.
"The safety of our students has always been a priority for us, and we are working with the police and relevant parties to investigate the incident."
The MOE has suspended all outdoor activities involving heights for all schools until investigations into the incident are completed.
All activities at Safra Yishun's adventure sports centre have also been temporarily suspended.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong posted on Facebook that his heart goes out to Jethro's parents and friends.
He said: "To his family members and loved ones, my deepest condolences and sympathies. To his friends and classmates - be strong.
"As a school, as a community, we are with you. Know that you can reach out to your teachers and counsellors any time.
"My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during these difficult times."
Jethro's wake will be held until next Tuesday, with the cremation at Mandai Crematorium scheduled for just past noon.