Erm, I honestly can't remember the last time I voted, it was that long ago. How do you vote against someone who is a shoo-in?Originally Posted by Jed
The rest of your post makes a lot of sense. There is, however, a difference between creating a new source of temptation to the weak-minded and tolerating but slowly trying to stamp out an old, established vice. Smoking is legal, but if you're a smoker in Singapore, you'll know that you're a dying (ha ha) breed. The list of places you can't smoke grows ever longer, and the cost of cigarettes grows ever higher. If you can't make smoking illegal, you can at least make it darn difficult and expensive to do. I personally have many patients who had no choice but to quit. That's to the government's credit. The stubborn addicts switch to beedee's, which I have tried before. They're nasty little brown unfiltered cigarettes which drip liquid tar and nicotine onto your teeth as you suck in the smoke. Smells like burnt dead leaves (duh!), but the kick is there.
In other words, smoking is legal because it has been so for donkey's years. You can't just ban it tomorrow, because you're going to get a lot of people with frazzled nerves storming Parliament House the next day. But if you've done any travelling at all, you will realize that Singapore is probably one of the most smoke-free countries in the world, or at least in Asia. And that's because of all the subtle and not-so-subtle means of "dissuading" smokers from continuing their habit.
The other difference between smoking and vices like gambling and heroin (I know, it's a dirty debating trick associating the two) is the way these vices make you behave. If smokers can't get their cigarettes, they may suffer a little bit, then quit. The biggest crime they'll commit is to maybe smuggle in a few cartons of cigarettes for personal consumption.
Compulsive gambling addicts and heroin users (there I go again) live for the next high, and will do anything to get it, including committing crimes against society and their families. Their work productivity is also affected and they usually find it hard to hold down a stable job. Perhaps this is why cigarettes are (still) legal and heroin isn't, because we all know these policies are governed not just by moral and ethical considerations but also economic and political necessities.
It's perhaps ironic that it is as an ex-smoker (if you must know, I quit more than 10 years ago) that I am intimately aware with the workings of addiction and compulsive behaviour.
Who brought up the casino idea? The government, possibly at the prompting of some individuals with personal interests. It is to their credit that the idea is open to discussion, although most of us have the sickening feeling that after all the discussion it will go ahead anyway. I hope to be proven wrong. It's certainly an easy solution to the employment problem for the government, although it's highly conceivable that we may end up having more foreigners working there than Singaporeans. Having quotas for employment of locals may not be that great an idea, either. I'm not sure I want my daughter working in a place where drugs, prostitution and organised crime thrives. And if you think there is no association, or that the SPF can handle it, well, yeah, I believe in Santa Claus too. The Yakuza in Japan are being muscled out by Chinese mainlanders who are more ruthless. You don't seriously think they'll stay out of a honeypot like a casino, even in Singapore?
I remember I was in Adelaide about 7-8 years ago, and felt a general sense of gloom, desperation and despair in that beautiful city, which I (naively or not) attributed to the presence of a casino there. It's just like losing your virginity. You'll never know what it feels like until it's done. Then it's too late.