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Archive for February, 2013

A fire broke out yesterday at Newton MRT station yesterday, resulting in train stoppages along the N-S line till lunch time.

What happened was electrical short circuit due to flooding from accumulated water in the tunnels. The question is why is there accumulated water in the tunnel? Didn’t anyone notice that there are water?

This episode calls into question the credibility of SMRT’s maintenance process. How could they missed out such glaring defects after all that happened last year with the tracks?

Age of the system is not an excuse, London, Paris and Tokyo have subway system much much older and you don’t see them in such state.

In my work, the mantra of the management is cost cutting. Non management departments are all forced to participate in cost cutting exercise.

What you see is designers forced by management to change our materials to one of an inferior quality. When engineers tried to warn the management of potential issues, they are either ignored or suppressed. More often than not, you see the management overruling hard science over their gut feel.

When our product malfunctioned in the hands of the customer, the engineers are blamed for designing a faulty product by the management. But the one pointing the finger forgot that 4 of his own finger is pointing back at him.

The engineers know that the issue is not design inadequacy, because older designs using the original materials are lasting much longer than current newer models, even with reduced maintenance.

This is the issue in Singapore now. We’re in a cost cutting to nowhere. Every word that comes out from the management mouth is nothing but cost cutting. I am not surprised if the technical staff in SMRT are overworked and ignored by the management.

This is Singapore’s problem. Management in Singapore seems to have this quirky mentality that the law of physics doesn’t apply to their words. This is in turn reflected in the highest level where despite studies around the world by academic using hard sciences to show the effect of over crowding and the physical constraints, our government still insist on 7 million people.

This is hubris and this is very dangerous. When hubristic people like them drive the whole system, they will drive it based on their feel and not on hard facts and truths. They will one day drive it all over the cliff and by then, it will be too late.

Think of humpy dumpy.

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They still don’t get it

They still don’t get it. It’s not the way you communicate your white paper that sucks, it is also your content. No matter how honey mouthed is your salesman, they can never sell poison as honey. They can do it for a few unsuspecting seller but people are neither blind nor stupid. They will see through it.

The government still thinks that they err in the way they communicate. Hubris can be blinding. So does staying in a very high ivory tower.

Today, a PAP MP, Hri Kumar proposed a National Service Duty on PRs and foreigners. In a nutshell, “We do a duty, they pay a duty”.

Well done! In one swoop, you just cheapen NS. Now I would like to ask? How much then should they pay? 5%? 10%? Let say the proposed National Service Duty is 10% of total income, can I as a citizen pay that amount not to be called back for reservist or any standby duties?

You just tried to append a price to the 2 years we wasted away in the army. And no amount will be appropriate. How do you append a price to the best 2 years of a guy life?

When you tried to be so businesslike, then you just force the citizen to behave in the same way. Do not lament why is Singaporean so emotionless and unpatriotic, when you’re so calculative in your dealings with the citizens.

If you noticed, every year during national day, there is actually not alot flag being hung up voluntarily. For example, my estate flag eyelet can only be accessed from our house. Every year the number of house hold putting up flags have been dropping. Imagine my blocks of 44 units, only 3-4 hung up last year. That is less than 10% of the whole block. I used to remember when I first shifted in at 1992, you can be pretty sure 80-90% hung up the flag. It held steady till 5-8 years ago when the flood gates started opening and slowly you see flags started to disappear..

All these, no doubt superficial but they provide a glimpse of the mindset of people. No one bother or are proud to hang our flag to celebrate national day. In fact, listen around, how many of your friends actually planned to catch the NDP parade and how many made plans to travel to neighbouring countries?

When we have citizens that rather spend time overseas than celebrating our nation’s existence, you can see for yourself the level of patriotism in it.

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Just finish reading the white paper on population[Link]. I was writing my thoughts on the content of the white paper before I decided to stop writing because to be honest, the more I write and the more I see PAP MPs arguing in favor of the white paper, the more disgusted I become. I need to save my sanity.

I cannot believe how PAP MPs can go on national TV and in the hall of Parliament grovel about how we need more foreigners. The last I remembered, foreigners don’t have voting rights. Who then are the MPs working for?

Well, to be honest. I have absolute zero faith in this PAP government except for increasing the GDP of this nation.

I wasn’t expecting much of a reply on my previous blog post on some random thoughts. Wasn’t expecting much traffic through this blog.

But allow me to just explain more on the previous blog post I have posted. I do not believe that much into GDP figure as what our leaders believe in. GDP is just another metric, it just measure the economic activity of a country. There is a lot of ways to increase the economic activity, we can increase the output by increasing productivity which is very difficult in Singapore due to the availability of cheap labour or we could increase GDP by just increasing the base, we just let more people in, more people will consume more product and services and therefore increasing the GDP.

Allow me to share a story from my workplace. I am an engineer doing design work for a firm in Singapore and we have production facilities here locally. One thing that struck me on the first day was how the production staff fill up containers after containers of powder by hand. It took 4 staff: 1 to line the bottles up, 1 to measure the powder, 1 to pour and 1 to check the weight is correct and send it on to the next production line.

You see the problem? We’re supposed to be a first world country, a developed country and yet we are still so labour intensive. Other countries are pulling away from us in terms of automation and productivity.

We will always be facing such dismal productivity level if we have unbridled influx of foreigners. It is a vicious cycle, more foreigners leads to low productivity and when we have low productivity, we increase it by increasing the amount of people working. The cycle just feeds itself and grows into a monster. PAP have created a monster that it cannot control. Look at how you have business association and chamber of commerce and a multitude of MNCs threatening to pull out should the influx of worker be curtailed.

Although we have PAP MPs coming up to speak against the white paper, it is all nothing but a grand PR campaign. Look at Inderjit Singh, he spoke so passionately about the ill effects of this white paper. His speech resonate with what is on the ground but there is one problem. It is nothing but just talk and hot air.

On the day of voting, Inderjit Singh didn’t even turn up. His behavior is deplorable and an insult to the mandate he received from his constituent. This is the kind of MP we have, self preservation of one perks and benefit over what they say. The kind that runs away from the problem and afterwards boasting about not attending parliament.

Talk is cheap. Practice what you preach. Had you went yesterday and voted against the white paper and defying your party whip, I would really respect you, at least you have a backbone to do what you believe in.

On the day of the voting of white paper, MSM broadcasted PM’s defence of the white paper. I don’t want to even think about it because you don’t have to attend Cambridge to see the contradiction in his speech. But did you notice how empty was parliament during his speech? Is this what we expect of our law makers?

This whole white paper episode just serves to show me of the future Singapore. One that even at 2030, when Singapore is 65 years old, we will still be debating about a national identity and culture. Instead of strengthening our unique Singapore identity, this white paper will just destroy whatever identity we have.

By then, do not ask again why are we such cultureless people.

I bid farewell to the Singapore I always know.

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