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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

This is a clean joke

It’s so refreshing to have newsmakers who don’t mince their words. Like Dr Liak Teng Lit did in the Sunday Times when he ranted on about litterbugs. Name ‘em. Shame ‘em. Make them do CWO in their neighbourhood. Ban them from carparks. Only thing he didn’t say was jail ‘em and hang ‘em.

Only one thing I wish he would say: That he would ask for more dustbins around the island. I don’t know if you noticed but it’s not easy finding one. Seems that since those terrorism-scare days when bombs could be placed in bins, organisations have taken them away – and not put them back. An investment in dustbins as well as trays for the return-your-tray campaign is worthwhile, methinks. Really.

I also quite like the No Cleaner day proposal. In my past life, I have tried to get town councils to co-operate. Give the cleaners a day off and the newspapers would run the before and after pictures, I suggested. Shock therapy of the hygienic kind. Dr Lim Chong Yah would be pleased…

Trouble is, they were worried about residents complaining…Sigh. I think that’s the trouble when there’s a link between politics and estate management. You really can’t afford to make the residents who vote for you toooo angry. And you can’t NOT do without an army of cleaners because what would that say about a town council’s management service? And you can’t raise S&C services too much because, well, nobody likes it. We want everything cheap, good and clean.

Dr Liak’s comments are really an ode to social responsibility, except that he put it in ways that people can understand rather than use big terms like social responsibility and gracious society. Like how you wouldn’t sweep your food waste onto the floor in your own home. (Actually, it’s the cleaners who do so, the diners just leave the mess on the table..). Like, if you’re a pig, don’t blame others for being a pig too. He also talked about lifting the toilet bowl lid in the gents. But since I am female, I don’t know what he is talking about.

Anyway, here’s a list of how to tell off a litterbug, politely and otherwise:
a. “Excuse me, I think you dropped something.’’
b. “Terrible ya? No dustbin around. Here’s a bag for you to put it in. Free.’’
c. “What kind of smoker are you? You didn’t bring your portable ashtray?’’
d. “You forgot to bring your maid with you?’’
e. “The karang guni man comes around on Sunday. You can hear him.’’
f. “No place to put this ah? Call NEA to complain about no dustbin.’’
g. “This place has no cleaners. You should apply for the job.’’
h. “Sir, are you leaving this can behind? I think there’s still something in it.’’
i. “Newspapers is best for wrapping vegetables. You should keep them.’’
Thank you Dr Liak, for telling it straight.

Written By

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

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