Tuesday, April 19, 2005

kaching kaching!

it's official: we are going to get not one but two megadevelopments involving casinos in Singapore, worth 3 billion USD. not surprising, considering the economic advantages that having casinos on the island will bring. not just taxes, but increased tourism revenue, higher hotel occupancy rates, so on and so forth. so we will get one complex on the Marina waterfront, and the other on Sentosa.

i'm mostly surprised by their turnaround on the entertainment complex -i was under the impression that the government wanted these casinos to be casinos, plain and simple -none of the attendant hotels and food courts and eZones and family entertainment centres and cinemas. i wonder what caused the turnaround: the investors, whom i believe are a consortium of Vegas casino owners, and business sense; or the need to make casinos more acceptable to the 'moral fabric' of the Singapore public by making the casino 'less than 5% of the total space' involved in these developments.

but oh! i've just read the related article on measures that the Government is taking to make sure that gambling does not adverse affect said 'moral fabric' of Singapore. take a look:
  1. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents of Singapore will be charged an entry fee of SGD $100 per day, or $2000 per year. (that's roughly 1250 USD per annum, and somewhere between 60 and 65 USD per day, if my back-of-the-envelope/inside my head calculations are right.) Non-Singaporeans and non-PRs will not be charged an entry fee.
  2. A system of exclusion (not voluntary) will be put in place so that those in financial difficulty or receiving social assistance will be denied entry into these dens of iniquity. (of course, a voluntary exlusion system will be in place, but i have no objections to you banning yourself from doing something you think is harmful.)
  3. Operators of casinos in Singapore will also be barred from extending credit to Singaporeans, to 'make it harder for them to lose more than they can afford'. Again, of course, i can only assume that if you are a non-Singaporean, credit will of course be extended to you so that you can give us more of your (foreign) money.
  4. Advertising in local media will not be allowed. (ok, i'm pretty sure i don't have any objections to this point. but mostly because i dislike television advertising in general -it pays for my CSI and West Wing, i know, i know- so the less i have to tolerate the better. esp since casinos ads are so CHEESY! i've only seen ONE i liked, and it was for Crown in Melly.)
  5. And of course, in a classic Singapore move, there will be a new National Council on Gambling set up to advise MCYS on the effects of problem gambling; and social workers will be 'trained' to identify 'compulsive gamblers' and refer them to social services.
wow. i gotta go sit in the corner and think about these things for a while before i'm absolutely sure i can marshall a coherent argument about liberty and the freedom to choose and all that. i do know that i'm very indignant about the different restrictions applied to Singaporeans vs. non-Singaporeans. there are two implications of these restrictions vying for my attention inside my head, neither very appetising:
  • Singaporeans are babies and incapable of making responsible decisions for themselves, while foreigners (non-Singaporeans) are not babies and are perfectly capable of making responsible decisions. Therefore we must restrict the various freedoms of the Singaporean to ensure that he makes the 'right' choice (ah, the sweet scent of paternalism).
  • Everyone is a baby and incapable of making responsible decisions for themselves, but we don't care what foreigners do because they don't live here most of the year. (well, other than the expatriats.)
i am reminded of Ainsley in 17 People in the second season of West Wing:
"I believe that every time the federal government hands down a new law, it leaves for the rest of us a little less freedom. So I say, let’s just stick to the ones we absolutely need to have water come out of the faucet and our cars not stolen. That is my problem with passing a redundant law."


At 5:02 AM, April 19, 2005, Blogger lystyl said...

One detail that wasn't carried in the papers: Spouses and family members will be empowered to exclude persons with gambling problems. I suppose that means ah gongs and ah mas can camp outside the casinos to prevent their sons and daughters from gambling away their monthly maintenance $...

At 8:59 AM, April 19, 2005, Blogger Packrat said...

I think that the government still likes to think of us as their little kiddies. *igh...

At 4:33 PM, April 19, 2005, Anonymous Luminosita said...

I am here.. heheh First time looking at your blog..

At 12:36 AM, April 21, 2005, Blogger J. said...

packrat: i think the government has built its entire existence around treating us-and us allowing them to treat us- like little kiddies. sad, but true. bleagh.

lystyl: ahhh, the sweet smell of paternalism at work. doesn't anyone in the civil service read Mill? :p

At 12:14 PM, April 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Evan here. This has nothing to do with my post, only my upcoming visit. :)

Anyway, can you email me? My email is quekevangeline@gmail.com. So I can let you know my travelling times & dates. And you can let me know how I get to your place from the airport.

I'd talk to you on ICQ but I deleted it by accident the other time and I haven't gotten ard to re-installing it. Either that or it's time for you to d/l MSN messanger. If not emailing & ljing will work too. :)

Thanks! :)

At 5:19 PM, April 22, 2005, Blogger * said...

hello there! i happened to chance upon a very old archive of yours mentioning the raffles concert singers... well, i know it's been eons, but i heard that mr toh is considering reviving rcs, and i thought, just to drop u a note lah.. =) i'm really touched by what u wrote in that post, sometime in apr03, cos as i read, there's this uncanny feeling that we are quite similar.. i dunno how much u may have changed over the years, but the feeling u expressed then so echoes what i felt last year that it's almost scary.. talk about having the same kind of voice too... scary, truly. haha.. anyway, hope u haven't given up singing! =D

oh, i'm in first year nus, by the way, just to give you a rough idea of who i am.. heh, yes hailing from raf chorale too~! ah, the memories... ;)

At 9:13 PM, April 22, 2005, Blogger J. said...

* : hi! it's good to hear that. i haven't spoken with mr toh in ages. it would be wonderful if he does indeed decide to revive the group. i had such a wonderful time with that concert -it's definitely one of my all-time favourites from when i was singing in a choir.

no longer singing in a choir -i did, briefly, last year- but definitely still prancing around the apartment and the neighbourhood singing at the top of my lungs and annoying the neighbours! :)

what about you?


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