Just desserts for Singapore vandalA foreign government to...

the Forum

April 19, 1994

Just desserts for Singapore vandal

A foreign government to cane an American citizen? How dare Singapore punish one of our own! Who do they think they are?

If you believe the above, you may need surgery to remove some of your arrogance. You have wrapped yourself so tightly in Old Glory that you can no longer think clearly.

Here are the facts: An 18-year-old American lad named Michael Fay of Dayton, Ohio, traveled to Singapore. While there, he commited vandalism by spray-painting some vehicles.

He was caught. He confessed to the crime. He was sentenced. Part of his sentence is that he be caned (a good whipping).

Here is the problem: Singapore is about to apply its punishment to an American citizen who commited a crime on its soil.

Many Americans don't like that idea. Their attitude of "that's not the way we do it here" has them pretty fired up. What arrogance!

Accept it -- when you commit a crime abroad you are subject to that country's laws. In America, Michael Fay probably would have been fined, charged court costs and given probation. That's the American way. However, Michael commited the crime in Singapore. And now he will get what is coming to him.

I guarantee you one thing, Michael Fay will never maliciously vandalize another person's property in Singapore.

Gordon J. Johnannes


Dirty landmark

We recently visited the B&O Railroad Museum at 901 W. Pratt St. The museum is clean and well kept, an indication of the great pride shared by the volunteers there.

Sadly, these same volunteers seemed almost embarrassed to take us on the $2 train ride that runs from the museum to the north side of Carroll Park.

The source of the embarrassment is the appalling amount of garbage the city has allowed to accumulate along the tracks. Litter in every conceivable form covers virtually every foot -- beer cans, plastic cups, piles of automobile tires and household appliances, etc.

The gentleman who led our tour was a retired 41-year veteran of Baltimore's railroads. He recalled for us the days when there were thousands of employees building engines that were used all over the country.

After almost every sentence he apologized for the filth that lined both sides of the track where these people once labored.

I challenge Mayor Kurt Schmoke to not only clean up this historic area, but to see that it is kept clean.

The impression it will leave on visitors will be that our city cares about its landmarks and history. Presently, this can be seen only in the few blocks immediately surrounding the Inner Harbor.

Let's help these good people retain the respect and dignity they deserve while also preserving a place of wonder for our children in the years to come.

Thomas A. Kraus


Health care for all

As President Clinton's health care reform plan nears passage -- and I fervently pray that it will -- I cannot help but be somewhat amused by the "terror" it has raised in the hearts and minds (not to mention the effect it will have on some bank balances) of those who have seldom if ever experienced the very real problems that accompany the lack of adequate health care coverage for all, no matter their station in life.

As a long-time HMO member, I am grateful for excellent, on-going coverage for myself and family members when it was needed.

Eleven years ago, my husband died of lung cancer. Through our HMO, he received specialized treatments as well as in- and out-patient care, not only by our own personal physician (selected from a long list of accredited, available physicians) but by caring staff and physicians at hospitals best equipped to render the necessary services.

Complete coverage for a very nominal family-plan fee. There were no additional or surprise fees and no exorbitant prescription costs.

Perhaps what's needed at this point is an out-pouring of support from other satisfied HMO members and also from those whom the White House is fighting the hardest to help.

Along with all the other "rights," I for one believe that every citizen is entitled to the right to receive adequate, quality health care.

Genevieve T. Shepperson


Golfers for Hayden

I disagree with Kenneth J. Ebmeier's April 8 letter, "Baltimore County is unfair to golfers," in which he concluded that Baltimore County golfers should "throw the bums out" at election time this year.

Over the past 28 years, area county executives have determined that it is easier to do nothing than to improve the golfing facilities in their counties.

It is my understanding that all fees collected at Baltimore County golf courses will be used to improve the present facilities and to build additional golf courses.

Construction of a new, 18-hole golf course at Diamond Ridge is scheduled to begin in the fall of 1994. Previously, the fees were deposited in Baltimore County's general fund.

The financial plan may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than no plan at all. It appears that $200 per year in extra golf fees isn't excessive if we have additional golf courses in Baltimore County.

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