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Singapore’s Progressive Wage Model, introduced in 2012 and mandatory in the cleaning industry since 2015, is a skills- and productivity-based approach to redesigning jobs and restructuring wages in the largely outsourced cleaning, security and landscaping sectors. Focusing on cleaning work in the food and beverage industry, this case study examines some early outcomes of this national drive to reduce wage inequality by improving the pay and conditions of commodified work in a sector subject to outsourcing-based cost competition. Based on interviews with cleaners, supervisors and managers, the findings suggest that in general, government and the trade union and employers’ association have worked together, to set wages and conditions transparently. Nevertheless, enforcement issues mean that cleaners remain vulnerable. They have limited information about their employment benefits and face various types of poor conditions, some sanctioned by and others in violation of labour laws. These vulnerabilities have structural roots, including rent imbalances and cheap sourcing, factors that commodify jobs. The implementation of the Progressive Wage Model may have helped de-commodify cleaning jobs for Singaporeans and permanent residents, but such outcomes are still dependent on non-systemic and unenforceable factors such as the kindness of individual supervisors. While a promising start has been made, Singapore’s initial efforts to improve incomes and conditions in low-wage work will nevertheless require stronger regulatory commitment.
Residents of Hong Kong have undergone a dietary transition from a traditional Chinese diet that is high in seafood to a more Western diet. This may have affected the nutritional composition of breast milk of Hong Kong mothers. The present study aims to investigate the relationship between the dietary pattern and the fatty acid profile of the breast milk of lactating women in Hong Kong. Seventy-three volunteering healthy Hong Kong lactating mothers participated in the study. Their dietary intakes were assessed by using a 3-d dietary record and FFQ. The mean n-3 fatty acid levels were approximately 0·4 % (EPA) and 0·9 % (DHA) of total fatty acids in the breast milk of lactating mothers who had exclusively breastfed their infants aged 2–6 months. Maternal dietary intakes of n-3 fatty acids were positively associated with their levels in the breast milk. The levels of maternal intakes of freshwater and saltwater fish, especially the consumption of salmon, croaker and mandarin, were significantly correlated with the content of DHA in breast milk. The present study is among the very few in the literature to determine the fatty acid profile of breast milk in Hong Kong populations and verify certain dietary factors that influence this profile. High levels of n-3 PUFA, especially DHA, were observed in the breast milk of Hong Kong lactating women. The findings may serve as a dietary reference for lactating mothers to optimise the fatty acid profile of their breast milk.
In view of the rise in child abuse in Singapore, our Family Service Centre developed a child welfare practice model to guide and anchor our practitioners in trauma-informed approaches. This practice model was developed over two years through literature reviews and qualitative interviews with practitioners. Three aspects of the practice model were found to be key in ensuring practitioners were trauma-informed in their practices, these being: the principles and values related to trauma-informed practice; reflection by practitioners on their attachment history and self; and the assessment of caregivers’ characteristics. Despite this practice model being largely beneficial for practitioners in our agency, implementation in the local context gives rise to certain challenges due to differences in beliefs about disciplining children.
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