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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 29 December 2003

Weather: Meteorological Service Singapore    High & Low Tides

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Good riddance to 2003!

Hallo

It's the last Monday of 2003! A brand new year will arrive this Thursday and I am quite sure many of you people here in Singapore will agree with me that you don't wish for 2003 to stay a second longer.

The SARS epidemic took us totally by surprise. It also affected our economy badly. In its wake, it left disrupted lifestyles, knocked the wind out of our shopping paradise, and put paid our dreams of a better second-half 2003. 

Many of us found ourselves struggling to pay the bills. And things got from bad to worse as the months dragged on. We were behind in our instalments for hire purchase or housing loans. We learnt to dread phone calls from banks and finance companies. It's not that we were bad paymasters. It's just that this year money was harder to come by.

We had to scrimp - not because we wanted to save the balance of what we earned, mind you - but rather because we had trouble making ends meet. Government agencies, such as the HDB and RCB, worked quickly to help us lower our burden by either stretching our mortgage instalments or reducing their fees.

In short, 2003 has been a bad year for most of us. That's why we can't seem to wait for it to end. I, for one, am glad 2003 has only three days left in its run.

It's also time to make resolutions for 2004. Have you made yours yet? I still haven't. I have worn myself out trying to live through the second half of 2003 so I have no time to think about resolutions. Maybe, next week.

Have a good week!

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Public Holidays NEW YEAR'S DAY is the next public holiday. It falls on 1 January 2004.