The question and answer session in Parliament day before yesterday (14-9-09) on the need to pre-empt so-called illegal activities in hourly-rate hotels provided much amusement in that Senior Minister of State S. Iswaran seemed to be baffled himself in describing as "illegal activities" the government was trying to prevent in these hotels.
It is common knowledge that these hourly-rate hotels are popular and convenient tryst venues for foreign maids and their foreign paramours as well as for local illicit lovers. These hotels serve their purpose from economical point of view in addition to minimising their chances of being discovered. This aspect of the hotel business is quite brisk and brings in not an insubstantial amount of revenue to the hotels.
So where are these foreign and local lovebirds going to for their trysts if this avenue is denied them? Where there is a will there is always a way. Is this hanky-panky of such a magnitude that you need a sledge-hammer to curb it? This is a problem that is common in all the big cities of the world and they seem to be able to take it in their stride. Is Singapore trying to portray itself as a city of saints? Even saints go for an occasional amorous pursuit. There are also examples of Catholic paedophilic priests. Perhaps the Senior Minister of State may care to clarify what "illegal activities" exactly he has in mind.
Are there other nefarious activities that the Senior Minister of State thinks need curbing in these hourly-rate hotels and for the installtion of cctv to identify the perpetrators. Since when did these so-called illegal activities become a problem attributable to the hourly-rate system?
Singaporeans are a pragmatic people and to them hanky-panky is at worst a moral issue hardly deemed illegal. So they are curious to know what "illegal activities" are carried out in these hourly-rate hotels which cannot be carried out more safely elsewhere. Just like in the Temasek saga concerning the sudden departure of its CEO-designate, the government can elect to remain uncommunicative in the present case which would, not surprisingly, show its apathy to public opinion. The attitude is it is for your own good to know only what the government wants you to know. As the late American President Abraham Lincoln once said: You can bluff some of the people some of the time. The Chinese say that the eyes of the people are "ice-clear" and can see through any deviousness. There is also the Chinese saying: You do what is required of you.