Thursday, May 24, 2007

On UNSW Asia's low enrollment figures

This blog has been getting quite a few hits recently, thanks to my previous post on the UNSW Asia fiasco. As everyone knows, this is no small thing with tens of millions of taxpayers' money down the drain. For everyone involved, it is a spectacular failure.

Well, enough of the nay-saying. Rather than indulge in conspiracy theories as to why the UNSW hastily withdrew from this venture, I think the reason behind the closure of its campus in Singapore is fairly simple: it didn't believe that it could make money from that venture and couldn't stomach the financial risk.

Remember, the UNSW isn't a charity organisation. It didn't set up operations in Singapore because it wanted to offer more options for college applicants or enrich the experience of its students. No, it wanted to make money. That is the primary reason why it came to Singapore. When it saw that initial enrollment was barely half of its targeted figure, it decided to shut down business.

Of course, there are those those who say that it may have rather hasty to withdraw on the basis of one semester's enrollment after its investment of millions. But we have to remember, the UNSW is a state institution in Australia and public organisations in Australia are not like EDB or Temasek Holdings; they are under much higher public scrutiny and have to answer for investments gone bad. It was just a bad investment decision for everyone involved. Maybe the apparatchiks in EDB wanted to play hardball with them or maybe they realised, too late, that they can never meet the enrollment figures in the foreseeable future.

This brings us to the questions:

1. Why didn't they meet the target enrollment figures?
2. Why did they realised that its operations wouldn't succeed in Singapore?

I think the answer to the first question is fairly obvious. It's really matter of supply and demand. Obviously, the demand wasn't there. In other words, it priced itself out of the market when it expected to charge annual tuition fees of 25,000 to 29,000 SGD, equal to what it charges in Australia.

Those fees are really too exorbitant. Now, this may come as a shock to many people but there are already international universities in other countries in the region. Take Monash university for example. It has had a campus in Petaling Jaya for many years and you can see for yourself what its fees are like here. A lot cheaper than UNSW Asia, I must say, considering the exchange rate of 2.22 MYR to 1 SGD according to Yahoo. The fees for Monash range from 25,000 to 32,000 MYR or, in SGD, 11,200 to 14,500, less than half of what UNSW was charging.

Monash University isn't the only foreign university that has set up operations in Malaysia. The University of Nottingham also has a campus there, offering a range of undergaduate and postgraduate courses at about the same rates as Monash. Definitely a lot more affordable than UNSW Asia. Now, you can see what UNSW was up against.

If you think about it, why on earth would anyone want to pay 25,000 SGD to study in UNSW Asia when he/she can pay half of that to study in Nottingham or Monash in KL? Oh, the cost of living is much lower in KL too. The reason why UNSW did not take off in Singapore was that the competition from across the Causeway was too strong. From this CNA article, Professor Hilmer, the Vice-Chancellor of the UNSW, claimed:
"Last year....we actually had much stronger demand in Sydney than we had in the previous four years. I think one of the things we've learnt, and it's really for Singapore to draw its own lesson, is that geography is really important. When a student says he wants an Australian degree, what he really means is, 'I want the experience of living in Sydney', and not just in educational terms but riding a surfboard, doing the other things a lot of students in a campus like ours, do."
Not really. If that were so, Monash would have closed down its Malaysian operations a long time ago. Anyone who takes that as a message from a burning bush needs a swift kick to the balls.

To be fair, the UNSW ranks higher in terms of academic reputation but surely its reputation doesn't command a premium of 100 percent in fees. Furthermore, the UNSW Asia degree could have suffered from the stigma of being a second-rate compared to a degree obtained from the main campus. Also, if they qualify, foreign students have the option of enrolling in NUS/NTU/SMU where the fees are subsidised (in exchange for signing a 3-year bond which only restricts one to working in Singapore). All these factors resulted in the diminished pool of foreign students willing to pay to attend UNSW Asia.

By now, the answer to the second question should be fairly obvious. I hope I don't have to tell you why. If you still don't get it, let me go get my steel-tipped boots.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another one bites the dust

I guess this isn't really hot off the press but by now, most people ought to have known that the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is going to shut down its campus in Singapore because of the low enrollment barely three months after starting operations. You can find reports of the closure of its Singapore campus here, here, here and here.

Originally, an enrollment of 300 in the first semester was planned but after seeing only 148 students in its first batch - 100 Singaporeans and 48 foreigners - the university threw in the towel and decided to pull out of this joint venture with EDB. The setting up of UNSW's Singapore campus was suppose to be a landmark in EDB's drive to turn Singapore into an educational hub as it was suppose to be the first comprehensive private university in Singapore. There are other private universities which have set up operations in Singapore but they are usually operations that offer part-time degrees or specialised programmes like the University of Chicago Graduate Business School. EDB probably decided that it was time to go in for the kill and invested a substantial sum of money - the quantum which it refuses to disclose but is rumoured to be around 80 million AUD - to help set up Singapore's first international private university.

In many ways, the university was an abysmal failure. It did not meet the targeted enrollment figures and most of the undergraduates were Singaporeans, not foreigners. Remember, after all, the point of setting up this university was to attract more foreign students to Singapore. If the point had been to enroll more Singaporean undergraduates, the local universities could have just made available more places.

In retrospect, the university would have been a failure anyway. After, it was charging around $25,000 to 29,000 in annual tuition fees which is the same as what the parent university UNSW charges in Australia. The fees were simply too high. To put it more harshly, there just weren't enough foreigners who believed that it was worth that sum of money to study in Singapore for an Australian degee or, for that matter, any other degree.

That fact may be surprising to some people, especially the geniuses working in EDB. After all, aren't there 75,000 foreigners studying in Singapore? Don't foreign students make up 20 percent of the undergraduates in our local universities? Well, it may be so but we have to ask ourselves how we reached those numbers. Take our local universities for example. Yes, today, 20 percent of the undergraduates are indeed nonlocal compared to 10 percent ten years ago but that is because Singapore offered and still offers shiploads of scholarships and subsidies to those foreign students. Naturally, this lead to an inflation in the number of foreign students in our local universities.

The truth is, very very few of the nonlocal undegraduates in our local universities are full fee-paying students although the option does exist for foreign students. Full fees in local universities amount to 18,000 to 24,000 SGD per annum. How many foreign undergraduates in NUS/NTU/SMU are willing to pay that kind of money?

The paucity of full fee-paying students in our local universities should have warned the those with helicopter vision in EDB that, in the eyes of most foreigners, it isn't worth paying full fees for an undergraduate degree in Singapore. And that is for a degree from our state universities, one of which is suppose to be in the top 20 in some ranking exercise. Yeah, right. If you can believe that, I don't suppose you would have any trouble believing that people from other countries will come to Singapore and pay 120 grands for an undegraduate degree from UNSW instead of going to Sydney and paying 120 grands for the same deal. By the way, the cost of living in Singapore is not that low compared to Sydney but wages (after taxes) in Singapore are less than half of those in Sydney. That ought to give some clues as to why some people would be reluctant to pay that kind of money to get a degree in Singapore.

This whole fiasco has shown that our reputation as an educational hub isn't as fantastic as some people believe and that we have a long long way to go before Singapore can profit from being such a hub. It has also shown how delusional some of our talented planners are. After all, they believe the bullshit about Singapore's education reputation although anyone with common sense and a bit of knowledge of the ground would have believed otherwise.

Tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money down the drain... Who's going to answer for that?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Singapore's real carbon emission level.

May 12, 2007
For S'pore, it pays to go green
With the environment making headlines all round the world, Singapore too is investing as never before in clean energy and sustainable development. But does this reflect a real shift in mindset towards global environmental concerns? Aaron Low reports


Singapore Environmental Council executive director Howard Shaw suggests doing more to push industry towards energy efficiency.

Instead of just encouraging companies to conduct energy audits, for example, the Government could mandate them.

Or put in place a tiered-energy tariff system to enforce mandatory reductions of carbon emissions by industries.

'It may be time to bite the bullet if people are not responding,' he says.

But the Government's bottom line is that it makes no sense - economic or otherwise - for Singapore to take the lead in the push to cut carbon emissions.

Articulating what he termed a realistic and pragmatic approach to going green, Mr Tharman said in his Budget speech: 'Singapore is tiny. What we do cannot make a significant difference to global warming or the ozone.

'If big countries like the US, China and India do not come on board, everything we do will be in vain.'

He added that if Singapore forged ahead to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions while other countries did not, 'it will increase our costs and affect our competitiveness'.

Dr Amy Khor, chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, defends Singapore's record with figures from the International Energy Agency.

It found that Singapore's carbon emissions per capita compared favourably against several developed countries, and was in fact lower than those of Germany, Japan and Australia.


If you had read this article from the bastion of journalistic integrity - the Straits Times - in Singapore, you might have got the impression that, despite being an industrialised country. Singapore's industries are less polluting in terms of carbon emission than Germany's or Japan's. After all, according to Dr. Amy Khor, Singapore's per capita level of emission is lower than these two countries'. Hence, we shouldn't enforce mandatory reductions of carbon emissions by industries in Singapore.

Technically, Dr Amy Khor is right about the figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) but that being rather economical with the whole truth. Singapore's carbon emission per capita, according to the IEA, is indeed lower than Japan's and Germany's. However that is because the emission figures are calculated based on the burning of fossil fuels. However, a great deal of carbon emission in Singapore also comes from other human activities - gas flaring and cement production - and these are not included in the IEA's figure. If you look at the UN's Human Development Report figures for CO2 emission, which includes the contributions from gas flaring and cement production, Singapore is right up there at number 16 in total carbon emission per capita and its CO2 emission levels at the per capita level are considerably higher than Japan's and Germany's.

So, why do we have this discrepancy?

The truth is, Singapore's CO2 emissions are high because of its heavy industries, namely the petrochemical and the construction sectors. To get a feel of the extent of the contributions of Singapore's heavy industries, just compare Singapore's emission figures with Hong Kong's here. Hong Kong has virtually no heavy industries despite the abysmal quality of air there which is really a consequence of pollution from mainland China. Thus, in some sense, the emission figures for Hong Kong serve as those for a hypothetical Singapore sans heavy industries. The 2003 carbon emission figures for Singapore and Hong Kong are 11.3 and 5.5 metric tons per capita respectively. Basically, at the per capita level, Singapore emits more than twice as much carbon dioxide as Hong Kong.

Don't blame the air-conditioners in Singapore. If you look at the figures for electricity consumption per capita here, it is 8,087 and 6,103 kilowatt-hours for Singapore and Hong Kong respectively. Although it is not very well known, a great deal of Singapore's carbon emission come from gas flaring - the burning of waste gases in the petrochemical industry - and the manufacture of cement. Given the size of the construction industry in Singapore, it won't be surprising if they are responsible for quite a bit of our carbon emissions.

So, if the Singapore government is really serious about going green, it should go after the main polluters in the heavy industries. Putting up a few photovoltaic panels here and there isn't going to make much of a difference. At the very least, it should consider mandating the introduction of environmentally-friendlier technologies into the industries.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A log and a speck of dust

Some time ago, I gave the reasons on why I don't disgree with the ministerial pay rise. Of course, this doesn't mean that I agree with it. It just means that the issue is very complex, coloured very much by emotions and impossible to decide on a purely rational basis. I don't want to go into the merits and demerits of the issue but I think I have learned a few things about people in general over the course of the debate.

Most of the Singaporean undergraduates and graduates in my university are vehemently against the pay rise. That's hardly surprising. Those who are not against it simply don't care. I think I'm probably the only person around who has said that the pay rise is not necessarily a bad thing although I try to keep my opinions to myself. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that I believe that the pay rise is a great idea.

Some of the common arguments against the pay rise that I have heard from m are:
  1. Our political leaders and senior civil servants are greedy. They should be be willing to incur some financial sacrifice for public service.
  2. They are highly over-rated and already overpaid since none of them had worked in Goldman Sachs, McKinley, etc. They usually get shuffled off to comfy jobs in the GLCs after their stint in the public sector.
  3. They are out of touch with the common people whom they are suppose to serve.
Of course, these criticisms are very fair. Defenders of the pay rise usually have trouble answering them; the PAP politicians just avoid them entirely.

Amidst the barrage of protests against the pay rise, I couldn't help but notice that many of the people around me who made those criticisms were also recipients of scholarships awarded by the Singapore government or GLCs. Obviously, these scholarships don't come cheap and only the government and the GLCs give them out in Singapore. I've been told by a lady friend that if she were to break her bond, she would have had to fork out over 350K SGD in liquidated damages.

So, when the arguments about financial sacrifice and all that came up, I thought of asking some of the critics if they would have signed up with the public sector if they hadn't got the scholarships. Or that if they could have got equivalent scholarships from *real* private sector companies like the Boston Consulting Group. Or how in touch with the common people they were, living overseas with comfortable allowances paid for by taxpayers. Perhaps, they can consider donating part of their allowances to poor families so that the latter wouldn't have to rely on monthly public handouts of $290?

No. In the end, I didn't ask these questions. It would have been too awkward and discomforting. But even though some things remain unarticulated, I hope that there are those among us who know of and understand a great man's teaching about removing logs and specks of dust from the eyes.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A thoughtful article on the homosexual debate

Three cheers for Associate Professor Victor V. Ramraj for writing this thoughtful article in the Straits Times today (9 May 2007). I guess someone had to step in to show that the law faculty in NUS isn't entirely staffed by intellectual pygmies. In this article in the review section of tehe ST, Prof. Ramraj takes neither a pro-gay or anti-gay point of view but instead gives a brief and balanced discussion of the issues needed to be considered with regards to the criminalisation to homosexual behaviour in Singapore.

May 9, 2007
The freedom to disagree, respectfully
By Victor V. Ramraj, For The Straits Times

IT HAS been argued that the decriminalisation of sodomy is the first step on a slippery slope towards a 'homosexual agenda' that includes civil unions and same-sex marriages.

I disagree with this view and the arguments advanced in support of it. Still, the debate on this subject has provided us with a key lesson on the importance of public discussion on matters of deep moral significance - and the importance of respectful disagreement.

First, a few comments on some of the claims in the debate.

Even in societies abroad where legal structures such as same-sex civil unions have been introduced, this did not happen overnight, but only after significant shifts in social and political attitudes.

If the majority of Singaporeans find homosexuality offensive, then there is little reason for them to worry that the entire legal landscape will change in an instant.

If change eventually does come, it will follow only after open and respectful debate and a conscious choice on the part of Singaporeans to become a more tolerant and hospitable society.

Others, particularly in cyberspace this past week, have challenged the accuracy of empirical claims behind the argument to retain sodomy as a crime - and the debate will no doubt continue. I will not repeat these arguments here. As for constitutional law, formal constitutional doctrine on such matters is hardly conclusive. In 1930, Lord Sankey likened a Constitution to 'a living tree capable of growth and expansion within its natural limits'. Particularly in Singapore, where the methodology of constitutional law is still evolving, there is much to be said for this vision.

Intolerant vs criminal

I WANT to turn, however, to a rather different point that arises from this controversy. Does branding opponents of decriminalisation 'intolerant' undermine or effectively censor free speech?

Surely, the answer to this question is no. Indeed, the reverse may be more likely; opponents of decriminalisation effectively silence others by continuing to regard the behaviour they oppose as criminal. To be branded intolerant is one thing; to be branded a criminal is quite another.

The publication of letters and commentary in this newspaper shows that those who disagree with decriminalisation are perfectly free to express their views. Perhaps, then, the deeper concern is not that these views will be censored (plainly, they haven't been), but that others will not find them convincing. If that is the true concern, then rigorous and respectful persuasion would be the answer.

If the discussion on Singapore blogs is any indication, recent exchanges about the decriminalisation of sodomy have provoked an important debate, one that demonstrates that Singaporeans, including many tertiary students, are far from apathetic when it comes to issues of great social significance. An issue of profound social importance is receiving the serious public attention, reflection and debate it deserves.

The sources of identity

FOR those who choose to engage in this debate, let us remind ourselves that our words have profound personal impact on those around us, on both sides of this controversy.

Those whose religious views are tolerant of homosexuality, and especially those of us with secular-humanist inclinations, must remain sensitive to the deeply personal and communal role that religious doctrine plays in the lives of many.

At the same time, we must have faith that those who oppose the decriminalisation of sodomy on religious grounds will acknowledge that personal identity need not be a matter of religion at all. It is possible, even common, to define one's identity outside of religion - in terms of one's intimate relationships, career goals, community service, life-long projects and deep personal convictions. A person's sense of identity is no less worthy of respect in the public square on account of its secular sources.

I can only imagine the deep personal anguish experienced by gays and lesbians in Singapore when confronted by the criminal law. Their voices should be heard in the spirit of an open, respectful and meaningful discussion.

Whatever is said in the course of this debate, it is clear that someone, somewhere, will take offence. But the ability for all to speak out should not be taken for granted. There are reasonable limits to be placed on hateful speech - a view that I have defended elsewhere. But in the present context, in a society that is increasingly more open, I find myself drawn to the pithy comment sometimes attributed to Voltaire: 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'

The writer is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. This essay reflects his personal views only.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Preserving the Chinese language

There was a slew of letters in the ST Forum yesterday (7 May 2007) on how the standard in the Chinese language has declined among young Chinese Singaporeans, which is something I don't deny. Given the growing dominance of English in Singapore as a lingua franca, it is hardly surprising that fluency and literacy in other languages have waned.

One writer correctly diagnosed the cause of this decline - it is the lack of usage or practice of the language. Many of those who wrote in suggested that the people in charge of the Speak Mandarin/Huayu Cool Campaign should appeal to people's sense of the aesthetics, by communicating to people 'the sheer beauty and elegance of the Chinese language', in the words of one of the letter writers, to get more people to use the Chinese language.

While their aims are laudable, I think these people are rather naive and refuse to face up to the root cause of this decline. The use of the Chinese language in Singapore is declining because of its limited functionality in Singapore. You don't necessarily have to use it to file your taxes, shop in NTUC, get a taxi, read a book on financial investments, find a job, etc. On the other hand, not knowing English is a serious handicap in Singapore nowadays. Not knowing it would exclude you from many economic and social opportunities. The same is true for Tamil and Malay in Singapore although they don't quite receive as much attention in the Singapore papers.

It's simple. People use languages primarily to communicate, not to appreciate its beauty and elegance. As if Tamil and Malay have any less beauty and elegance than Chinese! And yet, you see that Tamil and Malay are also declining in Singapore, maybe a little less so for Malay since the local Malay community can tap into the linguistic reservoir of our neighbours up north. Given the limited utility of non-English languages in Singapore, it is no surprise that literacy in these languages have declined. For most people of my generation, our fluency in our ethnic languages atrophied once we left school.

To improve literacy in these languages, we have to create the environment in which these languages are of greater social and economic utility. One way would be to set up isolated ethnic enclaves, as in Malaysia where you have entire villages/towns of Hakka or Tamil speakers. Another way would be to push actively for the use of ethnic languages in government services. For example, if you are are a Chinese HDB applicant, you have to file your documents in Chinese. People are not going to use a language or maintain their command of it for the purpose of appreciating its beauty alone. For me, my command of Chinese actually improved, out of sheer necessity, after I had left school because I was forced to work with colleagues from the PRC.

Of course, such measures would be impossible in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society in which English is the working language. The state of the linguistic ecosystem favours the acquisition of English as the primary language no matter of how cool or beautiful some other language is made out to be. We have to accept that so long as some languages have a more limited functionality in Singapore, they will have to play second-fiddle to the one that offers the most practical advantages.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Some thoughts on high civil service/ministerial salaries

I promised earlier to blog on arguments for and against the pay hike. After thinking it throught, I realised that the issue is actually very complicated and a thorough discussion would require more substantive investment of time and brainpower on my part than what I actually have. Hence, I will merely reproduce an email post of mine in which I talked about the issue.


Sorry, I don't think I will have the time to blog on why I don't oppose the recent pay hike. Neither do I support it. It's simply because I do not have enough background information/knowledge to pass judgement on the issue and the issues to examine are too many. It would have been helpful if the PSC had released more information on the attrition rate of AO's and senior civil servants (like where they went after resigning or what their new salaries are or the reasons given for leaving).

However, I have a few quick and dirty ones.

1. The pay hike should be seen in the context of the overall salary review for the entire civil service - doctors, lawyers, teachers, firemen, policemen, etc. Presumably, the salary review is pressing since public sector salaries seem to be lagging. Having a separate special pay review exercise for the ministers and civil servants will cause a bigger uproar and isn't too practical. I have no problem with the timing. Perhaps, it might have been too close to the GST hike. In that case, the GST hike exercise should have been postponed.

2. The argument against the MR4 benchmark is not convincing. It is claimed that those people may not get so much in the real private sector or be consistently earning that sum of money. I don't know enough about that to assess that claim. However, people should be more consistent and apply that argument to other civil servants like policemen, nurses, etc. A person who spends many years in the SAF and the SPF may find it hard to get a financially-equivalent job outside after leaving the service because of the lack of relevance of his/her working experience. Should we then pay policemen and army regulars less?

It is precisely the low value of working experience in the civil service that higher compensation may be needed. Someone who rises from an AD to a perm sec may have a lot of working experience that is not highly valued outside of the civil service. We may have people who want to leave the civil service to get more valuable private sector experience. Thus, it may be necessary to compensate people for their lack of private sector experience.

3. LKY's claim that our politicians will become corrupt if they are paid too little is ridiculous. Eradicating corruption depends on many factors e.g. the effectiveness of CPIB, whistleblower laws, etc. LKY has been especially unhelpful in the rationale debate on this issue. Since when, in any time in Singapore's history, even under British colonial rule, have Singaporeans been exported as domestic helpers? Absurd.

There is quite a bit of mythology about Singapore's economic history. I strongly recommend "The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century" by W.G.Huff for a less biased academic perspective.

4. I don't oppose high pay for any single person. I don't subscribe to the 'moral authority' argument. This is a matter of perspective on what our political leadership should be like.

5. The benchmark is highly contentious. Several alternatives have been suggested - benchmarks to GDP, GDP per capita, Gini coefficient, GDP growth, GDP growth per capita and salaries of political appointment holders in other countries. The last one is highly popular but silly since we just cannot import Bill Clinton even if he wanted to come.

The argument that, since George Bush runs a country 100 times larger than Singapore but makes about 1/5 the money, we should cut the salaries of our ministers and civil servants, is a little strange. There is no law of scaling of political salaries that I know of. If there is anything that scales, it is the number of civil servants. A country 100 times Singapore's size has probably 100 times the number of civil servants. The USA may have one president running the federal government but 50 governors running the 50 states. I don't hear people suggesting that governors should be paid 1/50th of the US president's salary i.e. 8K per annum.

There is a sense of arbitrariness in the benchmark. I don't think we can get away from that with any benchmark. However, I see no good alternative. There could be alternatives in the sense that a component in the formula is indexed in some way to the GDP per capita.

6. However, the benchmark has the possible advantage that it makes mid-career switches from the private sector to the civil service more attractive. Again, this is speculation on my part. Perhaps, the government wants well-paid lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc to join the civil

7. The MR4 benchmark itself has been acknowledged to be a little faulty by the government in the sense that it is highly variable and if the government were to stay faithful to the benchmark every year, the MR4 people will see fairly large swings in their salaries year in year out. Thus, the benchmark is itself not a good compensation formula. I bet that it is going to be revised in the future.

People complain that the benchmark is risk-free since it is always pegged to the top 8 earners. This ignores that fact that the amount is actually highly variable.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

ST Forum: MM's comments have me and family worried

This letter actually appeared in the ST Forum section of the print edition of the ST on 1 May 2007.

MM's comments have me and family worried

I AM writing about the review of the criminal code. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's recent comments about liberalising laws regarding homosexuality have got my family and me very concerned.

My expatriate friends find Singapore a conducive place in terms of its low crime and cleanliness. More importantly, they comment that it is a wholesome place. One does not find pornography sold openly in a neighbourhood shop. Having lived in the West myself, this down-to-earth wholesomeness is what makes Singapore special.

Singapore today faces the challenge of a declining birth rate and families are breaking down at the same time. To legalise homosexuality will compound these problems, given that homosexual couples do not reproduce.

The homosexual lobby in the West is extremely aggressive. It is the same here. Observe how it is now considered intolerant when one criticises them.

What would it be like to have a homosexual teach our children that it is normal to be gay? You might scorn the idea but this is what is happening in the West.

Homosexuals lead a promiscuous and hedonistic lifestyle. What else can you expect when you do not have children to live for or be in a loving and committed relationship? This increases the risk of STDs, Aids, etc, further increasing the risk to the general population.

Homosexuality is not going to go away. All I am saying is that we do not make it easier to be a homosexual by legalising their activities. Singapore is our home and I am proud to be Singaporean. Let us keep it a wholesome place.

Jonathan Cheng Hern Sinn

I was dumbfounded by the inanity of this letter. The only thing that came to my mind was: