And on Saturday…

May 21, 2016 11.00AM |

by Felix Cheong

WHO protects the protector?

That’s the $64,000 question. In the case of Parkway Parade, it’s literally a burning question.

A fire on the second floor last Sunday (May 15) led to a four-day closure of the 32-year-old mall. It reopened its doors for business only yesterday (May 20).

I was understandably incensed – and my wife can testify to this, under oath of duress and duress of oath. For several days, I was moping and mopping at home. I couldn’t blaze down the aisles of Giant and Cold Storage doing my usual aunty grocery shopping.

Imagine my annoyance when I learned that the shutdown was because fire had damaged the fire protection system.

Correct me if I sound stupid: But what good is a fire protection system if it’s easily damaged by fire? Who, or what, is it supposed to protect?

Such is the peril of the “ownself check ownself” system. At some point, it will short-circuit and – Boomz! – self-combust.

It’s the same scenario at Manchester United’s (Man Utd) last English Premier League game at Old Trafford last Sunday (May 15). A bomb scare led to the match against Bournemouth being called off.

As it turned out, the “suspicious” article (like most articles The Real Singapore used to publish), found in a toilet, was a fake bomb – a cell phone attached to a gas pipe.

It was a prop used in a security exercise a few days earlier and had been inadvertently left behind. Simulation became real and the red-faced Red Devils had to cough out more than ₤3 million (S$5.9 million) to reimburse 75,000 fans who were evacuated. (For the record, Man Utd won the match – postponed to Tuesday, May 17 – 3-1.)

How secure does such security make you feel? Makes you want to do a double-take to double-check and double-confirm, doesn’t it?

Well, trust the Aussies to be just as kiasu (or maybe kiasi) as us. Its Olympians, bound for the Rio Games in August, will be given free super-strength condoms.

Which of the last three words caused you to blush? Admit it, mate – free (so Singaporean, you). Yes, you can sleep with a fellow Olympian, on the house.

According to the team’s chef de mission on Monday (May 16), the super-strength condoms (so strong they will rise to the occasion) offer extra protection from the Zika virus.

It was not revealed what the athletes feel about it. If it’s as thick and “near-complete anti-viral” as the manufacturers claim, probably not much.

And finally, standing up for justice (or rhetoric, depending on your political persuasion) is Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who repeated his campaign pledge he will not take violent crime lying down.

In fact, on Monday (May 16), the 71-year-old urged Congress to restore capital punishment.

In language so colourful it could fill several colouring books, he said (this is worth quoting verbatim): “Rape, plus death of the victim, must be death penalty. Kidnapping with ransom, and then death of the victim, must be death penalty.”

“Robbery with homicide with rape, double the hanging. After you hang them, there will be another ceremony for another time. Until the head is completely severed from the body. I would like that because I’m angry.”

Even as I’m typing this, my hair is getting ahead of myself. I can feel my goosebumps coming to attention, as if I’m a Filipino by two degrees of Asean separation.

How presidential! Such a vigilante! Bring back the Middle Ages!

I don’t know about you, but Mr Duterte’s promise sure sounds a lot like a protection racket.



Featured image by Guet Ghee Pang.

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