Every day on Page 2 of The Straits Times, reporters write about why certain news reports matter to readers. This is a weekly round-up of the columns.
The current penalty for running an unlicensed massage parlour is $1,000, with no jail term. As a result, the number of such establishments has been growing. Reporter Kok Xing Hui said it is timely then for the Massage Establishments Bill, which will introduce tougher penalties to crack down on vice. http://str.sg/4Cws
It may be turning 50, but Asean is still a mystery to most of the 640 million peoples in this 10-nation group. But senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai said the group has a solid history of building consensus, and has brought its people peace and stability. It just needs to build on this solid foundation. http://str.sg/4Ckq
Singapore could see more fenceless condominiums in the future. But reporter Toh Wen Li noted that having a more open design does not automatically translate into a stronger community spirit, and Singapore needs to look at more intangible elements of our city that bring us closer to our neighbours. http://str.sg/49jK
The annual population report attributed Singapore's slowest population growth rate in more than a decade to a decline in Work Permit holders. Some may cheer the numbers, but Insight editor Elgin Toh noted that there is a flip side to the changes. If foreign worker inflow is not calibrated right, firms here may lose their competitive edge. http://str.sg/49zh
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria recently released a propaganda video featuring a Singaporean. Reporter Cheow Sue-Ann said the terror threat is very close to home, and Singaporeans have to be mentally prepared for an attack and how to deal with it. http://str.sg/49bG