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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

Meanwhile…in Singapore

While we are all trying to decipher the mystery of the missing plane…(I wonder how many times we are going to hear about the mystery “deepening’’ and the search “widening’’) let’s turn our attention back to our own backyard….


If there’s an interesting “local’’ story, it’s in ST today about how maids getting a mandatory day off means that our Sundays are getting crowded, especially at Lucky Plaza and City Plaza. ST didn’t say how many foreign maids there are here in total, but I gather they are in the one hundred thousand? So add this to the foreign worker population and you wonder if there is enough standing room in Singapore’s public areas…

Looks like the COI could do us all a favour by not just looking at Little India but the whole question of where foreign workers plus foreign maids go to on their day off and what is there for them to do that wouldn’t get people here feeling squeezed out of their own country on weekends.

It is, as I said before, a “small’’ country problem.  Also a “rich’’ country problem…

I’ve been reading about the COI and there were some interesting facets such as:

  1. The NGOs think the police and auxillary police are too tough on the workers and don’t give them “face’’ but the residents and shopkeepers think they are too “soft’’ and give the workers too much face. The truth is …out there? Or somewhere in-between?
  2. That the 9pm cut-off time for buses to ferry foreign workers out of Little India means that more of them are being left behind. So they take public transport back to their dorms. I wonder if SMRT and SBS staff are having to deal with drunken or unruly passengers, or are they simply glad for more passengers…?
  3. That the female “timekeeper’’ in the Little India riot has a very “loud’’ voice which is needed to get the foreign workers to board orderly and might not necessarily have been rude, although there are witnesses who say so. Poor woman. She’s the lightning rod?
  4. That the foreign workers that night thought their compatriot was merely injured and pinned down by the back wheel of the bus when cameras showed that he had actually been rolled over by the front wheel and ended at the back wheel. So a mis-communication that led the foreign workers to think the authorities were being callous?
  5. That shopkeepers are veering between being happy to have fewer “incidents’’ to deal with and being unhappy that business has come down.
  6.  That there is great animosity between the Bangladeshis and the Indians.
  7.  That 80 per cent of the shops are supposedly owned and run by foreigners. Said by a shopkeeper; dunno if it’s a fact.
  8. That there is a place called Kodai Canteen that is real popular among foreign workers because it’s like a beer garden. The owner/operator is taking the stand today.
  9. That if foreign workers can’t get Kingfisher or Knockout beer, they buy Baron’s brew.

This COI is really interesting for the stuff that comes out…    

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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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