The F1 Grand Prix which concluded yesterday is the 7th such event held in Singapore since 2008. In that time, Singaporeans have had to endure the adverse consequences while deriving few benefits from the race.$CUT$
Road-closures impose huge inconveniences to motorists who experience delays not just around the few days of the race but in the weeks leading up to it when the circuit infrastructure is set up.
Feeder roads as far away as Nicoll Highway, Rochor Road, Beach Road, North Bridge Road and the CTE see daily traffic jams (see here).
Retailers are also affected. Sales in the areas affected by the road closures are expected to plunge 30 percent (see here).
And its not because of a state occasion. The F1 is a private event where a few businesses and individuals make lots of money.
For that matter, it is a sport that few Singaporeans are – or can afford to be – fans of. A prime grandstand seat costs upwards of $1,000 and a “gallery” ticket is around $600 (see here).
Perhaps trying a bit too hard, event promoter Mr Michael Roche spun the race as a “huge social occasion” (see here).
“We don’t want to be a ‘$25-chicken-rice Grand Prix’. We want to be a great experience,” he added. Perhaps Mr Roche might like to tell us where to find $2.50 chicken rice at the race the next time.
The PAP spins even harder. Minister Ng Eng Hen officiated a Bishan grassroots gathering trying to “bring the F1 experience to the heartlands and foster community cohesiveness” with residents (see here).
In the real Singapore, football is the sport more likely to bring the common folk together. But when Mr Rooban Kanth screened World Cup matches outside a house for free – a popular initiative in the neighbourhood – the police closed it down (see here).
The truth is that the grand prix is, and will always be, catered to the well-heeled. No amount of spin from the organiser or a PAP politician can obscure this fact.
And with money, comes vice. During the event, social escorts, including those from abroad, descend upon our city-state.
“I timed my visit to Singapore a few days ahead of the F1 since I think it should bring me good business,” said Jenny, a Chinese Russian escort, who was among dozens of scantily-clad women looking for customers at a five-star global hotel chain (see here).
And where there is racing, one can be sure that gambling is never far behind.
Each F1 event costs $150 million to stage of which we, the taxpayers, fund 60 percent (see here).
In 2012, Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, agreed to a secretive deal with the F1 organisers to stage the race for another five years in Singapore. Singaporeans were never consulted on whether they wanted to see more F1s held here.
It is the perfect example of the Government not listening and doing what it will, regardless of how the people feel and the price we pay.
But then is any one surprised given a lopsided Parliament?