During a house search for a posting in Manila, the sales agent said that the security of the gated compound was more dependable than the local police. Apparently a businessman kidnap victim, freed after his relatives paid off the ransom, had proceeded to the nearest station to file the report. The first person he saw was one of his kidnappers, wearing an officer's uniform.
The situation in Singapore, mercifully, has not degenerated to that stage. It is disconcerting, though, when a millionaire minister has acknowledged publicly that he purloined half a box of toothpicks from a fancy restaurant. Toothpicks which were meant for the use of other patrons as well, not just his gauche fetish of picking teeth in public.
The 15-year CPIB veteran and Assistant Director of Field Research and Technical Support was overheard by photographers muttering "game over, game over" as he left the Subordinate Court after being charged for embezzling the watchdog CPIB of over $1.7 million. He must have thought it real funny to be awarded a Commendation Medal (Pingat Kepulian) from the Prime Minister's Office in 2010, when he had already gamed the system of $1,200 (2008), $94,703 (2009) and $56,002 plus $50,825 (2010). Medal in hand, he was emboldened to help himself to more, $323,613 and $370,755 in 2011 and $716,768 in 2012. And where did he spend most of the free money? The biggest gaming center of all, the casino at Marina Bay Sands, brought to you by those ministers on the pretext of creating more jobs for locals.
We can't play those games. Grab more than a handful of the sugar satchels from MacDonald's, and you might end up in cuffs. Kleptomania, an obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need, will cut no ice with the judge. Edwin Yeo, the CPIB black sheep hogging the headlines, had no problems with a $500,000 bail while many can only dream of going for early lunch at 10.30 am.