Monday, January 19, 2015

Trying to be #1 -- Worst Tourist Destination #Singapore

Proposed law will ban alcohol retail sales in Singapore from 10:30pm

As there is a large number of low pay foreign workers, living in terrible conditions, and some people may call it "modern day slavery". With limited places to go and extremely high cost of everything including public transportation, these foreign workers tend to congregate in 2 main areas, Geylang and Little India.

When you have a small area with a lot of people, especially on weekends and holidays, you cannot avoid conflict, and with alcohol fueling the conflict, things sometimes get worse, and we have seen the first riots in decades.

The employers that refuse to automate and use 21st century technology, still like to employ low skilled workers. In many first world countries who are concerned about human rights, such a solution will never happen, but for Singapore, with the lax immigration laws, there are hundreds of thousands of these low skilled labors many third world countries would love to export -- here.

Many of the employment terms are borderline with human trafficking. Workers from Bangladesh will have to pay an agent thousands of dollars to work in Singapore, and some of the larger construction companies in Singapore will bid projects at a very low price, as long as they can bring in a lot of these low skilled workers. As a result, the workers are often exploited and works hard to repay the loan they got.

The strange thing is, some of the workers manage to survive by earning $2.25 an hour. (Foreign Workers Paid Only $2.25 an Hour!) They live in poor conditions and many of them threatened with premature repatriation. Employers also impose many fees and rules to pay their workers less.

The working conditions are less than ideal, and in many cases, these foreign workers suffer much discrimination in public by Singaporeans, Police and other foreigners as well. There is a lot of bottled up stress which is waiting to be released. In a country with the highest paid government minsters, why should anyone be paid $2.25 an hour and be treated like animals?


After the riots, the government decided that instead of addressing the issue of low wages and poor working conditions, they would ban alcohol.

They have done so in Geylang and Little India, but as these workers have legs and can walk out of the areas, they just banned public drinking of alcohol from 10.30pm - 7am  countrywide today (19 Jan 2015)


Of course, losing rights is something Singaporeans are used to. I could now say to my nephew, during my time, when we do BBQs at the beach, we could bring our own beer and drink at a public BBQ pit. But now...

"You will need a liquor consumption permit, on top of the NParks permit for the BBQ pit if you intend to consume liquor at your BBQ gathering beyond 10:30pm"

Boring Tourist Trap

Singapore is one of the most boring tourist destination with lots of Tourist Traps. At Sim Lim Square, many locals know not to shop on the ground floor and not a lot of locals go to Newton Hawker center for food. There are well known tourist traps and you get gouged big time going to places that feed on the ill informed.

There is little to do in Singapore but to shop and eat. Sentosa is very tacky and expensive, and although there is a Universal Studio, it is often "under maintenance" and they took down one of their best rides -- "Battlestar Galetica Ride".

Even for food, there are no street hawkers, and the hawker centers are often over crowded. Much of the smaller stalls suffer as there is constant renovations happening and these hawker cannot survive on 6 months or 1 year without work. So many of the stores employ foreign workers again, and the quality of food goes way down in order to make profits.

The malls in Singapore are all the same. Uniqlo, Charles and Keith, McDonalds, Starbucks, Daiso, Theater... That sounds like most of the malls in Singapore.


Singapore is very expensive. Compared to Malaysia, just across the border, everything costs much more because -- RENTs.

Censorship and Controlled media

Everything here is sanitized. No chewing of gum here. Liberal arts is much banned. Many local made movies are not even allowed in the country.

So along with no drinking of alcohol after 10.30pm, will we be a less attractive tourist destination?

Please note that Chow Yun Fatt will not welcome you to Singapore, because he is not a Singaporean.

-- Robin Low

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