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SINGAPORE - School fees, supplies, and other miscellaneous schooling expenses do not come cheap at times for housewife Aswin Jamee Mohamed Ameerdin, 30, especially with both her two children now in kindergarten.
So she was especially grateful that her sons, Ahmad Zishan, five, and Ahmad Irfan, six, received $200 each in supermarket and bookstore vouchers from the North West Community Development Council (CDC) on Sunday (Dec 8).
"It's our first time receiving this, and we're grateful for this support," said Madam Aswin Jamee, whose husband is a 35-year-old civil servant.
Her sons are two of around 1,600 kindergarten pupils who are beneficiaries of the North West CDC's bursary programme for pre-schoolers.
The council has raised more than $500,000 in donations, which will be presented to the beneficiaries during 19 different presentation ceremonies of the WeCare @ North West - Ready for School from November till January. Bursaries have been given out to about 500 beneficiaries so far.
Each pupil receives $100 in supermarket vouchers, and another $100 in bookstore vouchers to defray schooling and household expenses.
The beneficiaries are those under the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme and childcare subsidy, and come from households with a per capita income of $750 and below.
At Marsiling Community Club on Sunday, 100 kindergarten pupils received their bursaries.
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, who was at the ceremony, one of three bursary presentations held on the day, said that it is important to support families, in particular for children's education.
"When we talk about social mobility... I think education is the primary pillar for us to manage inequality and to see how we can give our children a better future," said Mr Zaqy, who is also the adviser to the Marsiling -Yew Tee GRC.
SINGAPORE - Police have arrested a 49-year-old man for allegedly stealing crates of beer from several stalls in a hawker centre, they said on Sunday (Dec 8).
He will be charged in court on Monday for "theft in dwelling", which carries a jail term of up to seven years and a fine.
The police said they received several reports of stolen beers from a Bedok North Road hawker centre on Nov 30 and last Friday.
They then identified the man using police cameras and arrested him at Bedok North Road on Saturday.
SINGAPORE - The One And Only Inuka, a homage to Singapore Zoo's much-loved polar bear which died last year, is the favourite English children book this year.
The book remembers Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, "with love and fond memories", said Popular bookstore, which announced the results of its annual Popular Readers' Choice Awards on Saturday (Dec 7).
The book was written by former deputy editor of The Straits Times Alan John and illustrated by Mr Quek Hong Shin.
The award, now in its eighth year, aims to recognise local authors, with winners selected based on a public vote from Aug 16 to Oct 27.
Secrets of Singapore: Changi Airport, as well as Sherlock Sam and the Mysterious Mastermind in Seoul came in second and third respectively in the English children's category.
Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong story won the first prize in the English adult book category.
Written by former Straits Times news editor Peh Shing Huei, the book traces the "improbable" rise to office of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, with the title making a pun on his "imposing height most unusual in this part of the world", Popular said.
On winning the top prize, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh said he was "heartened that Singaporeans are interested in the stories of our nation-building" and that a second volume is already in the works.
The second prize went to Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore by historians Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong.
Third place in the category went to Can Singapore Fall?: Making the Future for Singapore by Mr Lim Siong Guan. The book seeks to tell Singaporeans what to do to prevent the country's economic and social decline, taking the form of edited versions of three lectures the former head of civil service gave in 2017. It also highlights his dialogue with the audience.
Mr Lim, who is now a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said: "Almost all problems can be effectively tackled in poor countries by driving for economic growth. But rich countries need to actively address the social challenges that arise from the market economy.
"I would be very happy if my book causes Singaporeans to think deeply about the direction Singapore has to take."
The Chinese category winner is It's This Class 6 by Mr Weng Tianbao, a comic book which draws inspiration from children's words and behaviour.
All nominated titles for the award are available at the ongoing BookFest@Singapore held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre until next Sunday.