Anti-Riot Measures that Insults Intelligence

Singaporeans expected a response from the government on the Little India riot and Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew offered a quick one. According to the PAP magazine, [link] Tuck Yew, who is also the MP of the Moulmein-Kallang GRC which covers Little India, announced his preventive solutions for another unanticipated riot in his area. His proposal:

1) To step up police presence in the area.

No doubt, residents living in the region will appreciate more men in blue patrolling the area. Good call? Maybe but it gets really bad from here.

2) To limit liquor licences within the Little India area.

There wasn't a hint how large the gazetted area is going to be. If this restriction is going to affect just Little India alone, the liquor economy within Little India will simply even out before long. The demand of alcohol remains the same but supply is reduced. The lucky remaining vendors with licences (probably Temasek owned in time to come) will get a significant increase in sales volume that allows them to increase or decrease the margins of their alcohol products whichever they deemed fit, since they are protected with a barrier of entry in the area. Output of alcohol units = same. The only difference is the smaller number of vendors providing that volume now.  Does this provide the expected result of the proposal? No.

If vendors chose to take advantage of the situation and increase prices of alcohol beyond market acceptance, liquor operators just outside the Little India area, such as the Jalan Besar or Bugis will rejoice for they will enjoy a spillover from the consumption loss of the Little India liquor operators. Is Tuck Yew going to cordon Little India like a refugee camp, gantry security check and all? What is going to stop anyone from buying some alcohol from the NTUC supermarket just outside Little India, walk straight into a grass patch in Little India and drink to their hearts' content?

3) To demarcate areas where drinking is allowed

This is as useful as creating a smoking corner in an otherwise smoke free kopi tiam, which is as useful as creating a peeing corner in the public swimming pool. Unless Tuck Yew is thinking of building a complicated gold standard maze and set the drinking corner right in the middle of the maze so that drunkards will not be unable to make their way out in their stupor and have to spend their nights wasted in the maze, does demarcating of drinking areas make any sense at all? Anti-riot measures? Can someone check if Lui Tuck Yew had a glass or two too many?

4) To set time for which drinking is allowed

Right. I finally got it. After meddling with too much ERP radiation, it affects the mind. I don't blame Tuck Yew. Engineers tend to think all problems come with an engineering solution. Healthcare professionals think love will melt away the toughest problem. Spiritual leaders insist the Greater One will solve all the problems in the world. The Minister of Transport of Singapore thinks the ERP is a solution to any Singapore problem. I wonder why he stopped at permitting a drinking time. Why not collect toll from drinkers at the same time, since he can easily build a gantry to the Drinking Maze. Genius.

I hate to say this but overall proposal appears to be painfully stupid. It is frightening to imagine what kind of brains we elected ourselves into Parliament. Firstly, the Minister was too quick to correlate alcohol as the main reason behind the riot. Singaporeans have to understand policies do not come out from the sky. Behind the scenes, we have to to commit an insane number of manhours of a policy department, a procurement department, a finance department and a implementation team to install stupid signage or whatever they decided to come out with. Putting aside these one-time cost, bear in mind the maintenance and enforcement will be on-going costs. 

Ironically as reported the PAP magazine [link], he (Lui Tuck Yew) stressed that it was "too early to say definitively" what caused the incident, and that it will take time to gain a deeper understanding of why this happened. I quoted that word for word. Without even being half sure, how can the Minister propose a solution like that? How long are we willing to be taken for a ride?


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    1. ROTFL - Roll on the floor laugh! Where do we find such retard in the government? No wonder we are in such a mess especially transportation. Tuck You lah!

    2. Bro, typo error lah, should be an F...

  2. Ironically this is basically very similar to Australian restriction for Sydney and Northern Territory. In fact you may even suggest that this is imported from Australia wholesale without fitting into local circumstances. Actually in Australia it works most of the time. Obviously not very practical in Singapore with high density housing and limited space.

    An example of why we shouldn't simply transplant any Australian system to Singapore without analysing the impact!

    1. They needed a scapegoat and in this case the alcoholic drinks consumed by rioters.