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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

The news in numbers

Some interesting statistics in the media today…

a)     200 to 300 “abandoned’’ foreign workers a day.


That’s the number of people NGO TWC2 said patronised its “soup kitchen’’ every day. These are the workers who are waiting to go home but can’t because they have some outstanding issues to settle. The Manpower Ministry official at yesterday’s Little India COI seemed pretty ticked off at the use of the word “abandoned’’, maintaining that it was the job of employers to take care of them, or MOM will step in if the worker asked for help. That looks “good on paper’’, said COI’s GP Selvam. And a “soup kitchen’’ in Singapore? Shades of the Great Depression…! What sort of image does this give Singapore, the retired judge mused. Anyway, MOM said it would get in touch with TWC2


b)    1 million low-wage foreign workers, including maids


Again, a figure cited by TWC2. Well, you know what the G is like with “definitions’’ that have to do with income. MOM said there is no definition of a “low wage’’ worker. BUT there are 770,000 work permit holders who earn less than $2,200 a month. The MOM official didn’t give the number of maids. So if you define work permit holders as low wage, and add the number of maids, TWC2 might well be right – or maybe had even under-estimated the figure. What’s interesting is that MOM specified that about 370,000 of these work permit holders are Malaysians. What does this mean? So they don’t count as “foreigners’’?

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c)     23 cases of foreign workers who told ICA that they were being forcibly repatriated by employers even though they have cases pending. MOM has “dealt’’ with them, the official told COI. Question: So what happened to these employers?


d)    6 times he spat


Remember the video of the guy at a bus interchange spitting at some woman? He’s in court now and totally unrepentant about his behaviour. If she was a guy, he would have whacked her six times instead of merely spitting on her…But he didn’t because he is NOT a bully. That’s the rubbish he spewed in court. Reason for sputum: She called him an idiot and insulted his mother, he said. Therefore he spat. Does anyone feel like punching him?


e)     80 Singaporeans and PRs arrested here between 2009 and last year for consuming drugs overseas.


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That’s the “provisional’’ figure the Central Narcotics Bureau trotted out in the wake of Singaporeans having too much of a high at rock concerts in Malaysia and Indonesia.  Thing is, why is CNB aggregating the figures this way? Looks like with the proliferation of rock concerts, more checks should be done on people coming home so that a clear warning is given to them not to get too ecstatic abroad?


f)      100 kg


That’s the weight of a polytechnic student who attempted a handspring during cheerleading practice, fell and later died. Two “spotters’’ or teammates who help to support the stunt are now testifying in coroner’s court. Ask you guys: Is there such a thing as weight limitation on handsprings? Can it be done even if you are heavy?      

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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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