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Monday with the Editor: Different brews


Hallo everyone

When news broke last Thursday that a finance manager had been remanded in custody on suspicion of forgery involving S$3 million, I paid scant attention to it. 

But, when I was flipping through last Friday's The Straits Times newspaper and chanced upon a report on the matter, I saw a name which caught my attention instantly and sent shivers down my spine.

The person suspected to be involved bore the same name as a schoolmate and an old friend. I thought to myself that some people had similar names, that it couldn't be him, but the age given - 43 - washed away much of the basis for my disbelief.

And when I saw the Frontpage of The Straits Times's 6 September 2003 issue the next day, my hopes were dashed - my old friend's picture was placed next to a headline "S$30M Scam?".

Today's edition of Streats newspaper would have you believe he suffers from 'gambling addiction'. I look back in my memories of him through the years back to the early 1970's when we were schoolmates at Victoria School and I just can't find a trace of anything to help me believe that he is a compulsive gambler.

I am not speaking in defence of an old friend. I am merely speaking my mind. It shocks me to hear that an old friend has made the news in the wrong light. I remember a few years back, another schoolmate, a lawyer, had to spend time in jail for misusing his client's funds. These are old friends from schooldays. It is difficult to believe that they could have done what they were said to have done. Both held high ideals and were go-getters.

Streats's edition today speaks of a probable S$130 million final total. That is certainly a mind-boggling sum of money. I don't recall my friend being greedy at all. To me, he has always been a simple man, with simple habits. Unlike me, he did not splurge on branded goods. He dressed simply and preferred hawker centres to restaurants. Could he have changed so much in the space of the last six years that I had not seen him?

No one can say that both of us were just plain acquaintances. We and another two schoolmates used to hang out every weekend at Plaza Singapura - the in-place in the 1970's. We kept in touch regularly. When he got married, I drove one of the cars accompanying the groom to fetch the bride. And when he joined the foreign bank where I worked, we refreshed ties again.  

Even if he is proven guilty of such charges, I will find it extremely difficult to stomach the truth. After all, who would ever want to believe that their old school chum would have done such a thing.

Have a good week ahead.



Animal Farm 2003 3-21 Sep 2003

Time For Puppets  3-14 Sep 2003

Children's Sculpture Exhibition  6 - 24 Sep 2003

Septfest 2003 Sep - Oct 2003

Scherbakov Plays Rachmaninov  24 Sep 2003

Beyond Therapy 15-24 Oct 2003

The Vagina Monologues 28 Oct - 2 Nov 2003

Land Of Joy  6 - 30 Nov 2003

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NEW WEB SITES  is a new Web site, launched on 16 Aug 2003, promoting Singapore education to foreigners.

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Public Holidays DEEPAVALI is the next public holiday. It falls on 24 October 2003.



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8 September 2003

Singapore Time