Saturday, December 17, 2011

Little to be desired from SMRT management

SMRT Train
Two train disruption in two days. Each took a few hours to resolve. Hundreds of thousands of commuters were affected. While you can refund people back their money, you can't refund them back their time.

Trains can break down. It inevitable, sometimes.

What's appalling is how SMRT handled the situation. They had no contingency plans for such a large scale disruption. To top that off, they can't even react to the situation properly.

The first thing you should do during disruption is to communicate to people. If it's going to be a long delay, communicate often every 5-10 minutes. These are really basic.

If their PR is so bad, then don't hold a press conference to make a fool of themselves. Find out what really happened so you can answer the grilling questions.

And then there's the "Income Opportunity" message sent out to taxi drivers. That's just stupid. Any person with basic comprehension skills will know that's going to be insensitive.

On the person who broke the train window to get ventilation, SMRT has decided not to take the case up. It should be the other way round. Commuters should take action against SMRT for endangering their lives. Ventilation even on working trains can be quite bad on some days because there are just so many people. I can't even imagine what it's like to be packed in a train with no ventilation.

All these just goes to show that the management is only good when nothing happens. When nothing happens, any person can run SMRT. It's how you react to unexpected situations that counts. And now we know exactly how capable they are in this regard. Incapable.

I've never understood why the government themselves don't run public transport. It's a public good — if you remove it, the country grinds to a halt. So why run it as a for-profit corporation?

And of the recent SMRT & Comfort price hike, wait, aren't they a cartel - not in the strictest sense - but they are behaving like one in public. When you raise prices, your competitor also raise prices. So where are the market forces? They can basically raise prices whenever they feel like it, and the public won't be able to do anything — since they are the only taxi providers, they can't take other transport unless they want bus or train.

I do understand that taxi drivers need that fare hike to maintain their living though — everyone's complaining about cost of living.

Second train disruption in two days draws ire
As criticism mounts, SMRT explains
SMRT should be surrendered to a new Statutory Board
Public inquiry to look into MRT disruptions: PM Lee
Disruption on North-South line enrages rush hour commuters

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The unintended consequences of smaller HDB flat sizes

So now they are using the argument that you have more space per person because there are less people in the flat.

That's true, technically speaking.

However, when you're thinking of having a baby in that smaller flat, you'll immediately be tipped over into the less-space-per-person category. At which point, if you want to have a more spacious and comfortable life, you've to upgrade and buy a new property at ridiculously high prices.

I think that shrinking household sizes, falling birth rate and high HDB flat prices are somewhat related. I hope the government knows which affects which.

Honey, I shrunk the flat, but it's just us now
Use space well and small flats can be comfy too
Smaller flats have not lowered quality of life: HDB CEO
'More space per person despite smaller HDB flats'

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SingPost overcharging for passport collection

SingPost is charging $10 for collecting the passport.

A registered post for sending something like a passport into your hand is no more than $3.

So basically SingPost is overcharging for this service.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thai Girl should get compensated

Thai Girl vs SMRT (2011)


I've read some of the comments from readers on the Thai family suing SMRT. Some are pretty amusing. Just from reading the comments, you can tell who has knowledge of the law, and who are arguing based on their common sense.

So the question really is if SMRT was negligible?

I think so. It's SMRT's property so it's their duty to keep their passengers safe.

Of course, the girl's actions have to be taken into account as well - I'm guessing no one in the right mind will jump onto a track. Well, the video evidence will come in handy.

SMRT has been slow to install those platform gates. I've always been wondering about past suicide cases of people who flung themselves onto the track. SMRT could have installed those gates to make it difficult for people to jump onto the track. It's not as if they don't have the money.

After many years, they finally started putting up the gates, but it seems that they didn't do so at Ang Mo Kio station.

The principle of law is to restore value - to restore the victim into the condition he/she was previously in. If there's one thing I can remember about law - back when I was studying business law in NTU as a course - it's about the very basic principle of law.

SMRT only offered $5000.

The family is only suing for damages amounting to the replacement limbs. They would have sued for real legs if they could.

I think the case will be settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

35 seconds too late for election

Related stories:

To quote LKY:
It's a feeble effort to show that they wanted to contest. But everybody knows, you want to contest, you go before 12 o'clock!

Clearly, this incident has illustrated the fact that not everybody knows. Either that or some people are not too smart to know, don't have the common sense to know, or for whatever reason.

There's no difference between 1 second late, 35 seconds late or 1 day late. It's still late. In that 1 second, you could have missed your flight, failed your IPPT, lost the 100-metre dash to your opponent, etc. This is the elections we're talking about, not about waiting for your friend for dinner.

I cannot understand why the opposition would want to put themselves in a position to submit the papers late.

There's absolutely no excuse at all for submitting the papers late, short of an act of god - such as a freaking tsunami were to hit Singapore - or even if there is an act of god.

There are rules and regulation. Know them and use them to your advantage.

In this case, nothing is as important as meeting the deadline.

I want to sympathize with the opposition but I can't.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How some Singaporeans are going to vote in the 2011 elections

This is how some Singaporeans are going to vote in the coming 2011 elections.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

PAP's cutest candidate

How's my caricature for PAP's cutest candidate, Tin Pei Ling?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Singapore Budget 2011

Singapore Budget 2011

Budget 2011: More than S$13b in benefits for S'poreans

"If you can not measure it, you can not improve it." - Lord Kelvin

I'm not really interesting in whatever is given out in this budget. What I'm interested is what they say are their goals and whether they can achieve them in the future.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are HDB flats too expensive?

Are HDB flats too expensive?

Are HDB flats too expensive?

The best way to measure is probably to count the number of years it takes to finish paying for the flat (which depreciates to nothing at the end of the 99-year lease).

On a street in Singapore

Interesting book. I might just get it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hold on to core values amid changes: PM Lee


Gov’t to review Baby Bonus scheme

Baby Bonus 2011 Cartoon
Source: Gov’t to review Baby Bonus scheme

The government should focus on non-cash incentives to tackle the fertility rate problem.

Are couples really choosing not to have babies because of the high cost of living? If so, then money is the problem. If a problem can be solved by money, then it's not a problem -- Singapore Government is pretty rich.

It would be interesting to see what the government think is/are causing the low fertility rate.

Monday, January 31, 2011

MBS dealers told not to take sick leave during Chinese New Year

MBS dealers told not to take sick leave
Source: Do not take sick leave or else…

This is the unpublished variation of another cartoon which just showed the king.

Initially, I had wanted to draw something relating to how powerless the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is. MOM "is not too pleased with this move", the report says. Well, Marina Bay Sands doesn't really care, and they won't care in the future either.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For the next bird

Paper bullets
The next bird that sits on the window screaming obscenities is going to get a load of this.

Monday, January 24, 2011



Beefing up Workfare by Siew Kum Hong

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Online Citizen is to be gazetted

TOC to be gazettedThe Online Citizen (TOC) is targeted to be gazetted by the government.

Other sources:
TOC response
The Online Citizen to be listed as political association (
Blog told to register as political group (
The Online Citizen portal to be gazetted as political association (
Singapore moves to curb popular news website (

Here's my view on all these.

The gazetting will make it compulsory for TOC to disclose the source of their funding. In particular, there should not be any foreign funding. Transparency on financing is good, regardless of whether there's gazetting or not. This applies to all companies.

The gazetting doesn't affect TOC's activities. TOC can continue with their reporting. There really isn't any negative side to gazetting.

I find it funny that the Registry of Political Donations want TOC to name the president, treasurer and secretary. Why funny? Most of these political website are started by individuals who don't give themselves those titles. I figure TOC will have a difficult time filling up whatever forms they need to fill.

The challenges for TOC includes the following:

1. Since the PM has sent the letter to gazette TOC, the readership has increased tremendously. TOC must make sure that their reporting, their opinions are of quality - in other words based on facts. Many oppositions (not that I'm saying TOC is an opposition) think that laws don't apply to them and that's why they always get into trouble with the law.

2. Try to get readers to post more constructive comments. Currently, most of the comments are just complaints sprouted out mindlessly, based not on facts but whatever fancies the reader. Negativity has breeds easily.