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The Casino de Bait

A few moments ago, the Singapore government gave the "green light" for the building of casinos (coined as "integrated resorts" by the powers that be) in Singapore. Boiled down to its very essence, this debate pits the pragmatism of economics against the ideals and principles of the general populace.
Among some of the issues I had with the Prime Minister's speech was his discounting of the people's voice. He said that msot of these opinions were personal, and some were of a religious nature, and that as a government they had to remain secular and have the people's interests at heart (if I recall correctly).
It is obvious the voice of the people is a matter of personal opinion. Many of the non-supporters have seen their own families ruined by gambling. Does this make their viewpoint any less valid? Is the emotional trauma irrelevant? Did we add a dollar value to offset the economic benefits we would gain from having not one, but two casinos in Singapore?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't <strong>all</strong> the religious groups oppose the building of the casino? Prime Minister Lee says that in a multi-religious setting, no one group's values should have greater importance than another's.
Dear Sir, capitalism is as strong as any religion. Not choosing an ideal isn't an option.
Ok, got to run back to the telly for the continuation.
After Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan listed the safeguards that will be put into place to deal with the social ills that come with gambling. Among which is a $100/day, $2000/year admission fee.
Other (heavily paraphrased) speeches include:
"Let us put aside our differences and move on" – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
"I was against it, but after weighing the greater good, we cannot pass the opportunity by" – Wong Kan Seng.
"I am a Muslim, but I can't force my values on other people. Should we stop selling meat and condoms to cater to a particular group?" – Yakob Ibrahim, Minister for Muslim Affairs.
Loudest expulsion of hot air:
"When we talk about an aquarium, you'll think about the one at the basement of Wisma Atria, or even the underwater world at Sentosa. But what if I told you we'll have an aquarium large enough for a whale to swim freely? That's the kind of scale we're talking about". – Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry.
The whale comment drew laughter, especially from the two members of parliament sitting directly behind Lim Hng Kiang. The blonde guy (if someone can identify who he is) mouthed incredulously, "Whale! A whale! Blue whale!".

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