RICE Digest: Elon Musk Rent Troubles, Boon Keng Scuffles, and Yet Another Work Fatality
Top image: Daniel Oberhaus / Flickr
RICE Digest is our weekly news roundup where we provide level-headed commentary and (hopefully) some fodder for your dinner table conversations. 

Elon Fuss

Sure, we have problems with surging rent costs, but it shouldn’t be a problem for someone as outrageously rich as Elon Musk, right? And yet, here we are—Twitter staff in Singapore were escorted out of their own offices last wednesday at CapitaGreen because their overlord didn’t pay the rent.

The billionaire, who famously bought the platform last year for US$44 billion, is refusing to pay rent for his Twitter Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. Employees in the CapitaGreen building last Thursday were shooed away by its landlords, first learning of this displacement over an internal email by Musk that they will now only be required to work remotely. 

Obviously, employees aren’t granted flexibility—Musk has notoriously been against any form of work-from-home practices, whether in Twitter or Tesla. He’s just bleeding money from all corners, with Guinness even deeming his losses the “worst loss of fortune in history” just a couple of days ago. Yikes.

It’s tragic to see Musk’s public self-destruction happen in real time. But while Twitter users were already mourning the sudden loss of their favourite platform back when Musk bought it, what we’re seeing now is a slow, painful death of a man once deemed a visionary. In reality, the dude’s just a divorced guy, better at self-sabotage than building safe cars.


It’s undoubtedly worth discussing the issue of kids nurtured by smartphone screens, where apps exclusively define their social interactions and their natural need for attention is monetised over live streams. 

Hell, just last week, it became a national talking point when a young girl got harassed over getting excited over her Charles & Keith bag. Truth is, we aren’t facing a generation terminally unable to touch grass. Instead, we have a nation of kids having their messy adolescence broadcast for an audience ready to tear them apart.

So when a video popped up on Facebook last week featuring kids fighting at a Boon Keng basketball court, it showed how things can stay the same. We just have better technology (and higher-res cameras).

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your leaning), the video did not capture the same amount of traction as the TikTok teen with her luxury bag. Still, it’s startling to think that those throwing hands in the video will grow up—after hopefully learning what they did wrong—having the same footage exist for the rest of their lives.

But something even more unsettling… people still wear denim shorts?!

Workplace Hazards

Sadly, we’re still seeing casualties in an area of work where we shouldn’t.

Last Thursday, a 37-year-old worker fell to his death while painting the exterior of a Bedok condominium. This took place during a heightened safety period imposed by MOM that is set to end next month.

The incident also follows a year that marked the highest number of workplace fatalities since 2016 (the highest cause being workers falling from height), so we’re far from making good progress when yet another worker becomes a tragic statistic.

As per the safety period rules, the worker’s employer is barred from hiring new foreign workers for three months because of poor risk controls. Now, they have to answer to MOM about the incident, and rightly so. While employers being held responsible is always a good thing, let’s hope we don’t hear about it when more labourers die in the course of their jobs.

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