By now, I think most of you have heard the tragic story of a father who killed his own children then himself. This is an extremely sad story but one parts of this story occurs in every housing estate in Singapore, every block of flats, and is familiar to social workers, church pastors and many ordinary Singaporeans. This tragedy could have been prevented if we have greater determination....
When the PAP came into power, it spared no effort to contain its political opponents. 4 decades later, the newspapers that had not so nice things to say about the PAP are gone. Political opposition shrunk, laws to limited their activities are numerous and anyone thinking of joining a political party is somewhat fearful. But loan sharks seem to flourish in Singapore. If the PAP spends the same energy to get rid of loan sharks as it does to retain its power by repressing political opponents, these loan sharks would have long been eliminated. Loan sharks hurt ordinary Singaporeans so it is not an urgent problem for the PAP govt but any one giving a speech without permit or taking part in a peaceful march will be haul into court and treated like dangerous criminals. Earlier this year when dismal figures of loan shark harassment popped up, Minister Wong Kan Seng's best idea was to make it illegal to borrow from loan shark so that harassment victims would be too fearful to report the crime because they too can be arrested[Link]. If the PAP govt exercise they same creativity and energy to contain loan sharks as they do the opposition, this problem would have disappeared 20 years ago!
In response to concerns about the casino and to make the decision to build those casinos palatable, it promised a campaign to prevent problem gambling. For that purpose, the NCPG (National Council for Problem Gambling) [website]was formed. It took the PAP, decades to get around to doing something and they did so only when tremendous opposition from all quarters of society got together to oppose the casinos. However, saying they will do something about problem gambling to reassure Singaporeans that casino will not cause that much harm is a promise I do not trust - casinos typically make about 42% of the revenues from problem gamblers[Link] and their success depend on a large part on problem gambling.
Why did the father kill his children then himself? He was a problem gambler who borrowed from loan sharks and was badly harassed by them. Remember before the decision to build those casinos, there was a similar case of a man killing his family then himself because of problem gambling and loan shark harassment[Simon Lee killed his family and himself in March 2005] . Now 5 years later just before the casinos are opened we have this tragic case and no progress on problem gambling. The PAP tells us they are building these casinos to create jobs for Singaporeans but many jobs are filled by foreigners and Singapore has so many jobs we need to bring in foreigners to fill them. The problem in Singapore is not the lack of jobs but structural unemployment, low wages and shortage of jobs that match Singaporeans' skills. There are numerous other better ways to create jobs. Why build those casinos? Andy Xie once said in an email what the Singapore govt is trying to bring in with those casinos. I think there is some truth in what he said - recently ahead of Singapore's casinos opening, the Chinese govt increased the number of permits/visas for its citizens to go to Macau. I don't believe these casinos are built to benefit ordinary Singaporeans - the govt will gain from the casino revenue and leave the churches, volunteers and social workers to cope with the problem it generates.
A MAN, 38, suspected of setting fire to a flat and killing his two young children, later fell from a high floor and died in hospital.
The incident, believed to be murder-cum-suicide, took place at Block 543 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 on Saturday night.
Police received information at about 9.50pm that a four room flat on the sixth floor was on fire. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted too.
When they arrived at the scene, a body of a man was found lying at the foot of the block, badly injured.
He was believed to have run up to the 12th floor and leapt off. He was rushed to hospital where he died later.
When officers went up to the burnt flat, they found the bodies of a boy, five and a girl, three, who were said to be the man's children.
Neighbours said they often heard quarrels and sounds of breaking glass from the flat.