Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 New Year Day’s Message to PM

Dear PM,
Thank you for taking the time to wish us Happy New Year Day’s via your NYD Message 2013. We understand that you are definitely busy with many initiatives and priorities such as the National Conversation, Budget 2013, Population Paper etc that you have not been able to decide on a by-election date for Punggol East SMC.
I read through the NYD Message 2013 and would like to add a heavy dose of reality and cynicism to the sugar coated over-optimism. Singapore has not made steady progress in 2012, instead the pain associated with a variety of breakdowns in the public transport system, SMRT bus driver strikes, escalating inflation (COEs, housing, daily necessities), over-crowding and continued foreigner “invasion” has made 2012 even worst for Singaporeans.
Tackling the specific points of the NYD 2013 message, the Singapore Conversion has been touted as the Silver Bullet to solve many of our problems and to engage Singaporeans to focus on their futures. The Main Stream Media has no doubt published many photos and videos of Singaporeans involved and enthusiastic about the Singapore Conversation. However, the enlightened ones have already dismissed the whole exercise as a pathetic wayang show ever since the netizens have identified numerous grassroots and PAP associated helpers in the televised debate. I continue to encourage my fellow enlightened Singaporeans to keep up their skepticism and instead insist on taking control of their own destinies by enacting change via the ballot box. It seems that is the only way we are heard.
On the population, the NYD 2013 message has step-sided the key point which Singaporeans have been shouting but never adopted. Singaporeans want to make sure that the guiding principle is “Singaporeans First and Foremost”.  There keeps on being this call and nag that we need to be inclusive of the new arrivals and share Singapore values regardless about where they originally came from. The question is how about all the Singaporeans that did National Service and lived in Hougang ? They had the true Singapore values but were always made to feel like second-class citizens via lack of upgrading and improvements to their estates. Are these Singaporeans worth less than the new arrivals? In my mind, the White Paper on the Population due out will undoubtly remain as a continued propaganda of needing to import foreigners (and if they are rich even better) into Singapore and lead to over-population of 6.5 million people in this crowded little island. What would not been explicated stated would also be the welcoming of rich foreign millionaires who buy their way into Singapore and inflate everything from cars to housing prices. Cases in point are COEs of over S$ 81,000 for 1,600cc and the ECs penthouses being sold for S$ 2.05 million. The imbued objective being, if you are not rich and cannot afford to stay or procreate in Singapore, you are welcomed to leave, even though you were born, raised and contributed to this country.
It is indeed ironic that the NYD 2013 message has also brought the issue on embracing the right values. When Yaw Shin Loong was implicated on his extra-martial affair, the full weight of the lynching party came down on him and requested that he come clean and that he had let down the voters in Hougang. When the same incident happened to Michael Palmer, the PR machinery was flawless in painting him in a good light and requested that he be given space and time to set things right. Double-standards don’t feature well in upholding right values, do they?
This issue on values also leads to another point of discussion, the claim that no system is perfect and that there will always been cracks. Perhaps then we should consider paying people in Public Sector senior positions and political leaders a lot less and not pegged their salaries to the private sector. This scheme may assure that they are joining to uphold the ethos of public service and not to uphold their lavish lifestyles. If Michael Palmer was paid only the median of the Singapore population salary, then maybe he would not be able to afford the expensive Monday-night rendezvous in Fairmount hotel or given to Laura Ong the expensive Dior handbag? Maybe he would focus on making ends meet like the rest of us and still be the MP for Punggol East SMC ?
The true values of the first generation leaders have seemed to be eroded over the years. When the odds were against them with the British departure, being kicked out of Malaysia, needing to provide affordable housing and good jobs to Singaporeans, the first generation leaders were fearless, innovative, self-sacrificing and focused on improving Singaporean lives. Interestingly, these values seemed to be demonstrated by the more credible opposition party members, who have everything to lose and nothing to gain if their political careers fail.  
This reflective response to the NYD 2013 message is intended to be a reality check on the year 2013 and beyond. The NYD 2013 message may have intended to be uplifting but Singaporeans have their eyes wide opened and now live by the creed, “Fool me once, Shame on you. Fool me twice, Shame on me.”

Monday, 10 December 2012

Question ? Why is Public Transport not under the purview of Public Servants?

See the last line in the report from MSM, I don't buy the argument that if the Public Transport System is nationalized it will result in a worse-off condition. Things are already so BAD, that it can only get better if it is nationalized.

The Public Utilities Board is a Stat Board under Public Servants. So does it mean that it is inefficient and that we do not get our water supply? The last I checked, I had water to bathe in...
The Public Libraries in Bukit Batok, Bedok, Toa Payoh etc are under Public Servants and we have iPads available for loan now! We have up-to-date books and newspapers... Without competition from another alternative, the Public Libraries are doing fine...

When you screw up, say you screw up lah, and correct the problem by taking the right steps to Nationalize SMRT and SBS Transit. 

From ChannelNewsAsia :-
SINGAPORE: Industry observers say transport operators should look at alternative ways to raise the salaries of bus drivers.

Passing the buck to commuters should be the last resort, say observers.

They are commenting on Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew's suggestion that bus fares may go up in future to help improve the wages of bus drivers and that the public transport fare review, due next year, will consider this issue.

It's not easy getting Singaporeans to come on board as bus drivers.

So salary increments might make the job more appealing.

The question is: who will foot the bill?

Some industry observers said it should not be assumed that commuters will have to bear the additional costs as the two public transport operators remain profitable.

"So, from the passengers' side and the general public point of view, it may be difficult for them to swallow," said Professor Lee Der-Horng, an associate professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore (NUS).

"...if they can first of all pursue their internal resources and try to improve their operations and see if they can further cut down operating costs, then perhaps, it wouldn't be necessary to approach the public and seek an increase in public transportation fare."

MP Gan Thiam Poh, who is also a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport, said: "I feel strongly that the operators should try to explore or exhaust other means, such as other revenue, such as revenue coming from advertisements, rental or whatever...I think passing on (the costs) to consumer, that should be the last resort."

But even if salaries for bus drivers are raised, it might not be enough to get Singaporeans to bite.

Industry observers say that the long hours, rigorous work and the desire to have a job of higher value are among the main reasons Singaporeans shun the job.

Hence, a dependency on foreign manpower in this area might become unavoidable.

According to the chairman of the Public Transport Council, Gerard Ee, Singapore also lacks the body count and has an ageing workforce. That is why it must look to foreign manpower to fill the gaps in certain essential industries.

"Some jobs are just not popular, and as long as people have choices, they will give it a miss," said Mr Ee.

Industry observers also suggested that the operators look beyond Malaysia and China when hiring bus drivers, "so we will not be overly-reliant on a particular country or a particular region", said NUS' Professor Lee.

Suggestions to nationalise public transport have been raised but some observers said that this could result in inefficiencies and a drop in service levels ????!!!!