Sunday, January 08, 2006


Casinos: The very mere mention of these establishments incites extreme feelings of excitement, ranging from eager anticipation from hard-core and moderate gamblers, to downright hatred from the religious rights and victims of gambling addicts.

According to the statements given by certain members of Parliament, the setting up of casinos will help generate about 35,000 jobs (quite a subtantial boost to the local economy if you ask me) in the Singapore market, boost local tourism, and retain millions of gambling money from local gamblers who regularly seek the solace of overseas casinos year after year.

At a glance, everything sounds fine and dainty. A considerable economic boost, more job oppportunities, more entertainment outlines in sunny but otherwise boring Singapore (We seem to be running out of tourist attractions, unless you consider zoos and artificial aquariums as one). A closer examination, from a social point of view, reviews far more disturbing issues.

The social costs incurred from the mere existence of casinos have been blatantly overlooked by the Singapore government. Granted, the government has "seeked" the advice of Singaporeans, through media forums and somewhat dodgy surveys with regards to "yes, ", "no" and "I don't know" Q & As. What the general population is unaware of, however, is that the government has already given the green light to the casino proposals, regardless of public opinion towards the issue. Without a proper referendum or some kind of vote, the government cuts through in the middle of a national issue, and decides that the casinos will go on, with or without popular consensus.

Coupled with the high-handed manner of discussion being dished out, a series of rules and regulations being suggested by the government with regards to who, and what, will not be allowed in the proposed casinos, has rankled many Singaporeans, like myself.

It is reported that Singaporeans will have to pay a levy of a hundred bucks just to get through (Not too sure, can someone confirm). Point is, as long as you are a Singaporean, chances are, you will never get to step into a Singapore casino. If that is true, are we going to place a sign "Dogs and Singaporeans not allowed" in these casinos?

Needless to say, we have no say in this issue altogether. Which means, the issue has degenerated into a mindless political exercise, aimed at blunting the ill-feelings amongst the general public over the casino issue.

In light of such a condescending attitude towards public opinion, needless to say, there really is little point in going through the pros and cons of casino establishments. Just for discussion's sake, however, and perhaps to air my two-cents view with regards to a redundant issue, I shall attempt to list them down.

1. Boosting an otherwise stagnant tourism industry (Hint: Do we really need a tourism board? You decide)

2. Boost job availability (35,000 potential jobs, as the government would have you believe)

3. Diversion of money drained by Singapore gamblers from overseas casinos to Singapore coffers.

4. Boost local economy with additional money in government coffers?!

1. Breeding/expanding the current crop of hardcore gambling addicts, straining the already overstretched gambling addiction pychiatric clinics available in Singapore.

2. Proliferation of loansharks, as more gamblers will seek the extravagant interest rates of these thugs to feed their gambling habits.

3. Loss of self-worth amongst Singaporeans, especially National-Service males, as the major of Singaporeans will join the ranks of cats and dogs by being denied access to the casinos.

4.The fact that a nation has to resort to establishing casinos to boost tourism/economy, implies the state of moral emptiness and desperation of the general economic situation in Singapore.

Gamble at your heart's content, but always remember the golden rule: The house invariably wins in the end.

The Beast


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