Tag Archives: Singapore

Current Event Cat of the Day: Singapore Smog

Current Event Cat - Smog Haze

Move over dengue fever – Singapore has a new epidemic in town: Smog. And lots of it!

Singapore has been engulfed in a thick haze this week and the prime minister is warning that the smog could last for weeks or even months. The haze, caused by illegal forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has caused pollution levels to skyrocket. Pollution in the city-state peaked on Thursday at 371 on the pollution standards index, beating the previous high of 226. Anything over 300 is considered hazardous, so… 371 isn’t great.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asked Singaporeans to “stay indoors where possible and avoid heavy outdoor activities”. Not that they’d be able to see or smell anything outdoors anyway – Singapore’s buildings have been hidden by the polluted air and the smell of burnt wood has permeated the country. And the worst part of it all? McDonald’s has temporarily cancelled its delivery service! Yes, McDonald’s delivers in Singapore.

Who’s to blame for all the smog? Singapore is pointing the finger at Indonesia’s practice of burning forests – a common way to get land ready for planting.

“No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and well-being,” Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s environment minister, said urging Indonesia to quit it with the fires.

But Indonesia isn’t having any of that! They’re placing the blame partly on Singapore and Malaysia since it’s their companies who control many of the palm oil plantations where the burning takes place.

“Singapore shouldn’t be like children, in such a tizzy,” one official said.

Yeah Singapore! Don’t be a child – get out there and inhale your pollution. After a few minutes in the smog you’ll definitely be in a tizzy – or just get dizzy.

Via: The New York Times & Current Event Cats

(dedicated to Carter – a “cat expert” who is currently in Singapore dying of smog related diseases)

Lebanese Soccer Referees Accepted Sex Bribes in Exchange for Match Fixing

Soccer referees

Three Lebanese soccer referees pleaded guilty to accepting sex bribes from a global crime syndicate believed to have been responsible for fixing hundreds of soccer matches around the world.

A Singapore court sentenced assistant soccer referees Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, to jail for three months and deferred sentencing for the third referee. 3 months for sex bribes,11 years for Tweets and beheading for food scavenging? Seems a little disproportionate – but lesson learned: commit your crimes in Singapore, not Kuwait, and especially not Afghanistan.

Back to the soccer referees: the trio was arrested and charged on April 4 with corruption for accepting sexual favours from prostitutes in exchange for agreeing to fix an Asian Football Confederation Cup match. Singaporean businessman Eric Ding Si Yang arranged the transaction and was charged with corruption in May. He has denied the charges and is out on bail awaiting trial. The three referees however were denied bail and have been detained at Singapore’s Changi prison since April 4.

When the two assistant referees were handed down their sentence on Monday they broke down into sobs of joy upon realizing that due to good behaviour and time already served, they could be freed by later Monday or Tuesday.

The judge needed a little more time to think about the third referee as he was “the most culpable” among the three. Ali Sabbagh was the one originally approached by the syndicate and also the one who persuaded the two others to accept the sexual bribe.

Singapore is known for many things: lack of chewing gum, dengue fever, and also as being a base for a global match fixing crime ring. But now Singapore is sick of its soccer corruption reputation and is attempting to crackdown on its match-fixing ways, one Lebanese referee at a time.

Via: The Wall Street Journal

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Mass Rally over Singapore Immigration Plans Leaves Everyone Wondering “Who Would Want to Immigrate to Singapore?”

Singapore Mass Rally Immigration

Singaporeans did the unspeakable (for Singaporeans) on Saturday and spoke out against government plans to allow more immigration into the city-state.

More than 4,000 Singaporeans attended the immigration rally making it the biggest protest in recent memory and a rare site for the country where political discontent is a major faux-pas. Rally leaders, who used social media to draw support, openly attacked the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been in power for more than 50 years, over its immigration policies.The peaceful rally was staged in response to a recent government policy paper which predicted that foreigners could account for nearly half of the island’s population in less than 20 years.

The Singaporean government revealed last month that it expected its population to increase by 30% to between 6.5 million and 6.9 million by 2030, with foreigners making up 45% of that number. Apparently Singaporeans aren’t having nearly enough babies so immigration is needed to help offset the low birth rate as well as their aging population.

Now, as a former Singapore resident, I have nothing but hatred for the country, but apparently there are flocks of Asians wanting to get in to the already crowded island nation. But Singaporeans aren’t having any of that. Many of them blame immigration for rises in property prices and living costs. And they just don’t like outsiders (who does?).

It’s true that the cost of living is ridiculous ($10+ for a bottle of beer?!) and renting an apartment will likely bankrupt you. It’s also true that there is an epidemic of dengue fever and health care is NOT cheap or well-run. And it’s also so that it is already so densely populated with Asians that getting a seat on the Metro is the equivalent of winning the lottery.  So all in all, a lovely place. Low taxes though.

With any luck, the rally will encourage the government to limit the amount of immigrants and foreigner workers. Not to preserve Singapore’s national identity, but for their own sake, to protect them from the terribleness that is Singapore.

Via: BBC News

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