The Straits Times
Online Forum Section
June 30, 2009
ANOTHER furore seems to be brewing over a location for a budget hotel in Singapore.
If this had been a major hotel development, I wonder if it would have invited such a reaction.
If one goes to Tiong Bahru, one will notice many prominent hotels within a 2km radius.
So why do we pick on a budget hotel to drive home a point of protest?
Hotel 81 is a local set-up, and its business caters to Singaporeans as much as to foreigners.
It provides many employment opportunities for Singaporeans, especially during this economic downturn.
Hence, to deprive it of a decent place to do business is to prevent a prospective employer from expanding its business.
From hospices to funeral parlours to pubs, Singaporeans are fast coming across as possessing a 'my-turf-is-my-turf' mentality.
This siege mindset is harmful to the economy and will deter potential investors from doing business in Singapore.
After all, if businesses are not located within the city, where else do we locate them?
Singapore is an island nation and space is a major constraint.
We cannot build another island as we did for Jurong Island.
Given this constraint, we have no alternative but to change our mindset - be more open with the space we must share with others.
The sooner we do this, the better we will be prepared for the future.
Because, in time to come, as the population expands and public buildings compete for more space, we can count our blessings if we find a hotel in our neighbourhood rather than something else.