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News Reports

Paralysed by the PM (Part 2)

I was not going to say anything about ST page 1 headline yesterday, Gardens by the Bay not an easy decision: PM. Then I came across a story today in which the PM was the newsmaker: Community groups play a key role, says PM. He was speaking on the occasion of Jamiyah’s 80th anniversary.

I KNOW that whatever the PM says is important, even he’s just reiterating policy or repeating oft-heard statements. But the readers will look at these headlines – and turn the page.

Of course, deciding to set aside 101 hectares of land for a garden is not an easy decision! I mean, did we really expect the PM to say that it is? What’s been an easy decision for the Government anyway? The thing is, so much more could be said about the WHY it’s not an easy decision. PM says it could have been turned into some kind of commercial or residential development. Would have helped to have property people to say what would have happened if this were the case. Maybe no need because the Marina Bay Financial District is already nearby?

What about for homes? BTW, how BIG is 101 hectares? How many homes could that plot of land sustain? Could there be more cheap housing? Or of the high-priced Sentosa Cove kind? Okay, so this is hypothetical. The other thing to explore is this “green lung” business. With this Garden, how much space in Singapore can be considered green lungs? For all you know, it’s too small a proportion and we are still very much a concrete jungle.

But the Jamiyah story today held out so many opportunities for elaboration. I was most interested to read about Mr Abu Bakar had built it with just $5.60 in the bank and 190 members in 1970 to more than 35,000 members today. Goodness, how did he do it? Is there something other groups can learn from him?There was also a bit about the Jamiyah Business School which helps out-of-school young people continue their education. Worthy effort deserving of praise. It’s all part of the PM’s message of community groups playing a key role in other areas. Thing is, would any reader get to those last few paragraphs of the story after seeing the headline?

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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