I have to say that I thought ST’s Page 1 story today on cleaning up Boat Quay a little strange. So auxillary police are going to be patrolling the area soon to discourage touting. You mean, they haven’t been? Or are we making a distinction between auxillary and “real” cops? With Boat Quay always in the news for bad news, you would have thought the men in blue were walking around every night. I mean, there are even cameras there to keep out undesirable activity. Maybe they HAVE been patrolling, but not to discourage touting? You mean, the nice restaurant owner can’t go up to the tout and say stop doing this – because they risk being punched or knifed?
Another thing, what is touting? So those women/men at the front of restaurants aren’t supposed to say “Come try us?” Okay, I know touting turned aggressive is terrible for those who just want a quiet walk. But hey, they add some colour. I think tourists quite like the idea of touts – or have they been complaining. What is aggressive touting – when they start manhandling you, I suppose? I draw the line there.
More important, is Boat Quay unsafe? I mean, the phrase is “clean up”. So whats the crime rate like? Those cameras aren’t working to deter criminals and make for a safer environment? Waste of money then?
The story, in journalistic parlance, is a bit thin.
Then there is this thing I have about revenue/business figures. So often we see phrases like business/sales/revenue/profit is down 60 per cent in the last one/two/three years. If I were a tenant, I would pluck any figure out of the air to get my landlord to get rents down. Especially if I am not using my name or the name of the restaurant (as is the case in this article). Down 60 per cent from $1m three years ago? Or $100,000? Maybe the three years ago was an anomaly. In any case, you think any businessman is going to open his books for verification? I think a much better way is to see if the restaurant is full – or empty. And ask what it was like in the past. Easier for the reader to relate to such matters that they can “see”, rather than a 60 per cent of goodness knows what base figure from three years ago.
So, here’s to a sanitised, safer and quieter Boat Quay, with plenty of men-in-blue walking around. Not sure that I’ll enjoy it. But then again, I’m weird.