Monday, 18 April 2011

The Million Dollar Salary Syndrome - Why PAP Could Not Work Like "a Bolt of Lightning" Anymore?

Has the ruling PAP become a ridiculous party and political system? While it is capable of putting a "lightning rod" like Ms Tin Pei Ling to attract "a Bolt of Lightning" without an Election battle, its Ang Mo Kio "A- Team" is certainly not able to foresee and prevent the accident at AMK MRT Station in which a Thai girl lost both her legs.

Recent critics in ST Forum had commented on "Why an opposition 'A' team may not work?". This is very much a fictitious argument. An existing A-Team from the ruling PAP might not work effectively, so why be bothered to cast aspersions on an Opposition 'A' team which is not even given a chance yet?

In reality, what that affects the common people on the ground is not easily visible to so called A-Teams within the ruling PAP. Even if it is visible, it may be given a "blind" or "secondary" eye at the expense of general public interest due to "commercial" reasons. I cited the accident at the AMK MRT Station as an example because we have existing A-Teams overseeing it. - an A-Team each from the PAP AMK GRC, the Ministry of Transport and the SMRT. The AMK MRT Station is a very crowded station and these A-Teams could not use their "common sense" to see to the priority to get the barriers installed there first.

You may recall the current installation of safety barriers was initiated only after many complaints from the public. The top management of the SMRT was more concerned about upgrading shopping experience at the MRT stations to collect more revenue. It took a long time to deliberate on the decision to add on protective safety barriers due to additional cost issues. If accidents had not become too often to disrupt MRT traffic and caused greater economic losses, do you think the SMRT would emarked on the upgrading works? Would the Ministry of Transport have taken actions? Not for many years with these controlling A-Teams.

Conversely, upon the completion of safety glass barriers works, SMRT was very fast to reap advertising revenue. You see these double standards of the current controlling A-Teams? Not when it has to spend money to safeguard public safety at their own costs?

Photo : Singapore MRT - Safety Barrier for elevated station platform. Note : Advertisement put up immediately.
Photo : Singapore MRT - Undeground station platform at Bishan. Note : Advertisement on glass panel.

Despite what PMO Minister and Second Transport Minister Lim Hwee Hua said that 'commuters would be worse off with nationalised transport system', I had a pleasant experience travelling on the Nanjing Metro MRT while in China.

Although the Nanjing Metro was built later than our MRT lines, it was fast to put in safety barriers in the interest of public safety, although having design fault such as a wider gap between the platform and train. Singapore MRT had overcame this design fault but allow a greater "fault" at the expense of passenger safety and cost savings which ignored a potential "legal" issue in the laws of "equity" or "natural justice".

However, SMRT was so fast and efficient to reap "advertisment" revenue after putting in barriers.

Photo : Nanjing Metro - Glass safety barriers at Yuantong Expo Centre Underground Station.
Note : No advertisments

Photo : Nanjing Metro - Glass safety barriers at Andemen Interchange. Above Ground Station
Note : No advertisments / Train glass was reflecting nearby buildings.

Photo : Nanjing Metro - Train Internal View,  Note : No advertisments on wall and floor.

Photo : Nanjing Metro - Signage at Andemen Interchange. Note : No advertisement.
Photo : Nanjing Metro - Map at Yuantong Expo Centre Station.
Note : Jiang Xin Zhou is the island near the Olympic Station where
Singapore's GLC had purchased some land rights but had
faced clearance issues with local grape farm owners.

Photo : Nanjing Metro - Use token instead of ticket at gantry. Note : Payment by cash : RMB 2~3,
Payment by Nanjing Citizen or IC Card : RBM 1.80.
Photo : The Nanjing Olympic Stadium MRT Exit at Hexi.
Do you see the difference in mindsets between our public and private sectors? Do you see the difference in mindset between our competitive system and the nationalised public transport system in China? Do you see any difference in efficiency? There seems to be a "Million Dollar Salary Syndrome or air" with the PAP Ministers and top public servants which make it easy for them to dismiss issues which they lack competency and interest. In politics, PAP believes in a "nationalised" system to favour PAP. But in transportation they don't believe in a "nationalised" system. Do you see the irony and double standards? 

This could explain why more well qualified scholars (including ex-public servants) are now joining the Opposition Parties and the PAP is finding it hard to recruit such high calibre candidates from the private sector.

PM Lee reminded his PAP audience these key points when he launched the ruling PAP manifesto during the Young PAP's 25th Anniversary Rally,

Never forget that we are servants of the people,
Always maintain a sense of humility and service,
Be as strict with ourselves as we are with others.

During Election time, the PAP is subservient to the interests of the people as "servants of the people" but when the Election is over, the PAP is subservient only to MONEY which put public interests at the mercy of the PAP policies.

A discerning Electorate should pick up arguments which are given as a matter of convenience by politicians simply to disparage ideas from the Opposition. I observed that letters published recently in the MSM had  echoed such  views by the PAP Ministers which treated the Electorate as if they are ignorant and ill-informed "servants", and the PAP Ministers and supporters as if they are "colonial masters".

I hope Nanjing is not taking a lesson from Singapore on how to budget for the next YOG in 2014.

[Note :- Nanjing’s population in Year 2000 Nov Census was almost 3.78 million. (Singapore 4.02 million then including non-residents, and comparable). I do not have the latest statistics as the population census was just completed last year end , but unofficial figures for Nanjing’s population for 2009 was 7.7 million, compared to 5.07 million for Singapore last year based on census. The land area of Nanjing is about 9.5 times Singapore’s area.]

Reference #01
ST Forum Apr 9, 2011
Thai teen's tragedy: Will SMRT help her?

I AM saddened by the photograph of Thai student Peneakchanasak Nitcharee yesterday ('I want to see my family').

The 14-year-old's hopes and dreams have been shattered by a horrific accident, which should not have happened had appropriate safety measures been taken swiftly on the Ang Mo Kio train station's open-deck platform.

Her parents, whom I gather from yesterday's report are from a low-income background, have stated that they are not in a financial position to pay for the hospitalisation costs.

While I have no doubt that kind Singaporeans will rally to assist them financially, as they have so often done, I am curious to know whether SMRT will do likewise - if not from a point of legal liability, which has never surfaced in all the past fatalities, at least because of a strong tug at the heartstrings in this case.

Ralph S. Lesslar

Reference #02
ST Forum Apr 15, 2011

IN LAST Friday's report, 'Why calls for two-party system won't go away', Ms Lydia Lim states that there are more qualified and credible opposition candidates this upcoming election and that the 'new candidate with the most impressive academic credentials' could belong to the opposition.

While I agree that this might be true, it does not address the fact that there could be insufficient talent to form two governments in Singapore. What she cited refers to the distribution of the talent pool among the different parties. In fact, we see the opposition having trouble fielding candidates to contest a few group representation constituencies, which is indicative of its ability to form an 'A' team for this election.

Her second argument for the opposition lies in having alternative viewpoints in Parliament 'to scrutinise and critique government policy'. However, if such critiques come from a minority party without veto power, it will not be able to make an impact on policies. Thus would the inclusion of opposition in Parliament really result in the checks and balances envisioned?

Finally, Ms Lim used Apple and its iPhone as an example of how world-beating innovations tend to come from 'the second party'. Can we be sure that the opposition parties we see today are the equivalent of Apple in the political scene? As the late founder of Ford Motor Company Henry Ford said: 'You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.'

We need to consider whether the opposition parties have shown themselves capable of forming an 'A' team and providing checks and balances in Parliament.

Goh Ching Soon
Reference #03
TODAY Apr 16, 2011

SINGAPORE - The Government has considered the idea before but it did not think a nationalised public transport system was feasible, Second Transport Minister Lim Hwee Hua said on Friday.

And in rebuttal to the transport proposal in the Workers' Party manifesto, Mrs Lim said commuters would even be worse off.

"I presume the underlying motivation for nationalisation is because it's cheap. But nationalising in a lot of other countries has led to inefficiencies. Ultimately, you get cheap transport but it doesn't quite work out for the residents," she told reporters on the sidelines of a community event .....

Reference #04
AsiaOne Apr 16, 2011

A man has been arrested for attempting suicide at Sembawang MRT on Friday night.

The man, in his mid-30s, had fallen onto the train tracks at Sembawang MRT station. The Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Police Force said they received a call at about 11.35pm.....


  1. SMRT is a for-profit company. As such, advertising is just a way to make more money. I don't see what's wrong with it as long as it does not potentially harm people (like sexy posters making one stand too close to the track, which is then again becoming moot with more safety barriers).

    I don't know for sure, but Nanjing Metro is probably nationalised. So it has less or no advertising.

    As for the safety barriers, yes, I agree with you that SMRT does seem install the barriers out of economic necessity, and social and Governmental pressure rather than out of social responsibility. It's not a secret that in a capitalist system, the ones at the top are almost the ones who can make more profit and disregard the social costs and do the bare minimum to appear to support CSR. This is why I support the nationalisation of public transportation, especially the train system, as the infrastructure was built using public funds in the first place. Using public funds to benefit a company with actions which says "profits over people", what is this?!

    As for the latest unfortunate incident, instead of finding fault with the decision of SMRT to build barriers in a certain order instead of building at the more crowded stations first, I take issue more with the decision to do it so slowly. SMRT can in all likihood afford to complete the barriers in 1/2 the time (not speed up the building of each barrier, but build at more stations concurrently albeit with more cost), but it's again the truimph of profit over CSR.

  2. It is interesting that the writer to Forum quoted the example of Ford as an example of "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do". Indeed, one builds a reputation as they go about doing what they set up to build. And just judging by how Opposition Parties have arisen and drawing great singaporean talents from all walks of lives, we can only be happier that more competition will only do Singapore good. On the contrary, one cannot say much about what happened to the Ford legacy today as their arrogance, waste & complacency had led to their ultimate demise not only in the city state but also on a global stage today.

    And to the point that the writer questioned the inclusion of opposition without veto power would actually result in the checks and balances envisioned. Well, that is why it becomes imperative for citizens to realize the need to give a sizeable seats (1/3) to put them into the house for more effective governance. Yet, instead of truly welcoming constructive inputs/debates from other A teams, PAP chose to fix the constitution that would implement the NMP/NCMP concept which is totally against genuine democracy for improvements.

  3. MRT stations are crowded everywhere not just AMK. Go see Woodlands, Admiralty, Sembawang, Yishun esp during peak hours. And I agree with you, I have more pleasant experiences in many MRTs in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Japan, Taipei than our "first class" MRT, don't even get me started on the taxi situation in Singapore. No where that the fare is so complicated, need to pay surcharge to book, expensive and still so hard to get during peak hours. First class transport? We are fooled by our state-controlled media.

  4. 权力使人疯狂

    I am most delighted recently

    My boss suddenly treated me very nicely

    He said to me, ‘I am your servant, not your master’

    I was so scared upon hearing

    Opened my eyes awakening from the dream and thought someone was kidding



    他说我是你的仆人 不是你的主人

    我一听 吓得张开眼睛

    原来是南柯一梦 有人要寻我开心

  5. 权力使人疯狂

    Since there is no group think

    on the casino issue please ask your MP what he / she thinks

    there is only one stance he / she must take

    Yes or No with no mistake





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