Friday, December 30, 2011

Us against them, again?

I woke this morning to read some pretty disturbing development in the Home section of the dailies.
"First time curbs placed on 24-hour restaurants here" read the sub heading.

I am not a patron of the A&A Restaurant nor its neighbors Azya Restaurant and Beancurd City. Neither am I associated with the Euphony Gardens condo. In fact, I don't even know where these places are located in the Sembawang area.

The gist of the news report is NEA's imposition of restriction on the operating hours of these establishments from being opened 24 hours to mandatory closure from 10.30pm to 6 am each day.
This was due to complaints from nearby residents about the noise, littering and parking issues supposedly caused by patrons of these food establishment.

Being 'open air' eating establishments, I am sure the shop owners have little control over these issues and rightly do not have any jurisdiction over it. Yet these very reasons are cited by NEA for its ruling.
Even their MP Lee Bee Wah seems more pre-disposed towards the residents than to the plight of the shop owners. "Eateries can move elsewhere, but you cannot ask the residents to uproot".
Another feeble attempt  to resolve issues by throwing out the baby with the bath water.

My concern here is the rising incidences of "us against them" problems that seem to be more prevalent nowadays. Just last week, a private estate at the west coast area complained about heavy vehicle traffic driving through 'their' estate and demanded that their MP and the authorities impose restrictions.  Guess what happened?

Are we seeing more elitist attitudes being condoned? What happened to helping entrepreneurs and small start ups? Who's standing up for the minority? Or do residents prefer cookie cutter malls where everything is kitschy and ordered inside?

We already have 'over-policies' by so many governmental authorities. People complain about it yet when they don't like something they use this strong arm tactic to impose their will.
Is this right? Are we becoming a more generous society?

Sadly, I guess I gotta live with this. I am one of the 39.9%. Sigh.

Related links:
Straits Times

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