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Raffles Hotel Will Sling Itself Into the Next Century

A chapter is closing in the 103-year history of Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The hotel, which once hosted literary greats W. Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling, is being shut for renovation and the addition of a wing. ". . . We have to prepare for the next 100 years,” said Raffles manager Roberto Pregarz, who with the hotel’s 300 staff will be laid off until it reopens. The 127 rooms--each named for a famous author--will be closed after the remaining guests check out. An earlier plan to keep open the Long Bar, where bartender Ngiam Tong Boon created the Singapore Sling in 1915, was turned down by the owners, a land company. The hotel was declared a historic landmark in 1987.

--Mayor Edward I. Koch had a shock when he talked with some young New Yorkers. “The language in some cases was un-understandable,” he said, coining a word. So, Koch and schools Chancellor Richard R. Green have launched a grammar and English usage effort. The program will start this spring with “Putting Your Best Speech Forward Day,” when city teachers will focus on “speech demons"--a list of mispronounced and misused words and phrases compiled by Green. They include: “ax” instead of “ask,” “pitcher” instead of “picture,” “brang” for “brought” and “meetcha” for “meet you.” And, as Koch used to say, “liberry” instead of “library.” “It was brought to my attention that I was saying ‘liberry.’ I wasn’t aware of it,” Koch admitted.

--George Bush is in demand on college campuses. Rice University, Texas A&M; University and Bush’s alma mater, Yale, have expressed interest in becoming the site of his presidential library. “Rice is certainly interested in the presidential papers . . . " said George Rupp, president of Rice, where, in 1978, Bush taught a graduate-level course in organization theory. Bryan Jones, head of Texas A&M;'s political science department, and a colleague, presidential scholar George Edwards, drafted a memorandum urging the school to explore the possibilities of gaining the library. And even though Newsweek quoted Bush as saying he has decided his presidential papers should go to a Texas school, Yale is interested. “I’m sure Yale will be making an effort to persuade the President to locate his library here or at least some place near here,” said Jack Siggins, an administrator of Yale’s library.


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