Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why Khaw Boon Wan and Lui Tuck Yew are just Scapegoats

When Lui Tuck Yew decided to quit his post as Minister of Transport and withdrew himself from any future involvement in the government, he probably found out what Khaw Boon Wan found out today.

While Lui did not wait for things to happen before he resigned, Khaw had no choice but to put up with the furore of public angers following almost daily train breakdowns culminating in a train collision that injured 29 passengers and staff.

And Khaw minced no words when he pointed out at the systemic and cultural faults in the original planning of the whole MRT system. Which means that you can keep on changing Transport Ministers or SMRT CEOs but the result is the same - more breakdowns from virtually unknown or unheard of sources. It's like a lottery game.

If you look closer at the issue, both Lui and Khaw were in the Transport Ministry for too short a time to be blamed for any major decision-making by them that results in the disastrous rail system. They were merely put there as scapegoat to be slaughtered by the public.

During his press conference Khaw shed some light into something we can only guess, but now it is from the horses' mouths. He mentioned in no uncertain terms that the lack of funding from the govt, resulting in cost-cutting measures, which in turn leads to cutting corners are the root-cause of today's public transport problems.

This culture of cost-cutting versus the cost of everything else started during the reign of Lee Hsien Loong as the Finance Minister, who is keeping very quiet now. He is the one who approve or disapprove these spendings. And during those days, his culture is based on profits. For every dollar he spent, he wanted to earn back another dollar more.

Which means, if he approves the building of a new MRT line, SMRT must provide proposals to earn back double the amount spent over say, a 10 year period. SMRT need to work with other agencies to come up with proposals that include building HDB clusters around new stations to maximise flow of commuters, setting up of shopping malls and renting of space to retailers at MRT stations.

This is, in fact, the main reason for today's overcrowding and overloading of the MRT trains, resulting in the many breakdowns

So the emphasis is not on providing the public with a high quality, high standard, long-term viable transport system, but one that will generate maximum profits as soon as possible. The results of this culture is showing now. Low quality, understaffed, poor workmanship and sloppy maintenance resulting in even more breakdowns from the already overloaded trains and tracks.

The man responsible for this debacle is keeping very quiet, because he doesn't want this to affect the next general election's results too much. He leaves it to the scapegoats (whoever they might be) to take the bullets, while he plays the good guy out to help you out of your troubles. He has difficulty doing this now with the MRT, with the constant breakdowns.

Who knows this gutless man better than his brother and sister? His siblings already warned Singaporeans of the danger of their gutless brother, who will not hesitate to abuse his power to get what he want for himself.

A leader who truly think of the helping the people and the country, would not care too much about his salary, but this man insist on paying himself exorbitant remunerations (see chart taken from a forum, below). And this amount exclude the 12-month bonus he is rumoured to be getting every year. And the lame reason given is he should be paid like a CEO. He can't be earning less than his CEO wife from Temasek, can he (irrespective of his job role)?

We also saw with our own eyes how he manipulated the Elected Presidency to get his choice of President in the Halimah saga.

Judge a dog by how it wags its tail, and not by who its father was. He (or his culture?) is going to be the root of all of Singapore's future troubles, and they are coming as regular as Christmas. Spat with China, Oxley saga, Elected President saga, SMRT scandals, etc.

What next?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The SMRT Scandal - by a whistle blower

A station manager from SMRT blow the whistle on what’s going on in the organization. He share with the public his experience with SMRT work culture.

This is what he said:

Hi redditors. As promised, I’m gonna write about my experience with SMRT work culture. I’m currently working at SMRT as a Station Manager (SM) and for privacy/security/work reasons, I would not go into technical details of work and try as much as possible to anonymise the things. I am not going to send proof because this is the only livelihood I have and I don’t want to lose job just because I talk bad about the organization on reddit. I swear, my direct supervisor maybe on reddit and he not really on good terms with me. Also, apologise in advance for bad English, I’m not good with English since young (poly graduate).

Anyway, I see that the SMRT problem has been getting worse ever since the time when we had the “cable tie” problem. It seems to be getting worse, but like what they always say: “We are working on it”. No, seriously, we are working on it, if only the people here aren’t that all lazy and complacent. People always say to me: Why SMRT don’t have SOP? Why they don’t tell the SM what to do at station if train breakdown? Actually, we have SOP. The SOP is quite long and covers almost all situation, even those that you have never experience before. You know why people don’t follow or cut corners on SOP? Because it’s boring and repetitive. Our station staff get lazy. Why must check XYZ every hour? Check if this thing locked? No need lah, won’t happen one. Limpeh work for 25 years NEVER happen, don’t worry! At least according to one of my colleagues. Some of them have worked for 30 years in the company and yet, they are still slacking off. Yes, 30 years. Old old birds, from the time where we got wear epaulets on grey shirt.

You might be thinking: Okay lah, people get bored with repetitive stuff. Men would know from NS, it gets boring after the 200th time you go patrol the camp. But this is getting out of hand. Some of my colleagues, who working in station, go sleep for like a few hours every shift. Sleep, play games or even just lepak. Some are still hardworking, even though they sleep, but some really cmi. One station the aircon went out, the SM did not deploy fans, because want to sleep. Also, other stations had things where the station staff go handle “suspicious articles” like as if not suspicious. The object are sometimes very suspicious, like got one time was a pressure cooker (which, if you guys don’t know, people got make bombs before with those things). What if that thing explode? I don’t want to imagine.

Sometimes it even gets criminal. You know why LTA suddenly got idea to go cashless by 2020? It’s not smart nation, that is just excuse for covering up something worse. Because station staff always “borrow” money from the PSC cash drawer to buy lunch/dinner/groceries and then they either: lie on the cash report or they blame other staff for the shortage. That is what I suspect is true reason and there was this incident in the news where the Tanah Merah SM stole $20k from the PSC. Another thing is I heard got staff who always like to scold passengers if they blur or if they scold at them. I know we are not customer service kind of training, but that is bad customer service.

The staff not scared of being fired? They are not scared. Because every time got problem, CEO and top management, those university educated people, get the blame. They all attend the conferences and kena sai from public. We all are the ones who did it, but we never kena, only cut bonus or kena “strongly worded” email. Yes, maybe the pump incident they got, because that is almost criminal. But most of the time, our uncle Desmond and Khaw take the blame. We all don’t. Sometimes like ironic because the passengers give gifts to staff who I know are lazy. They all also cannot fire because: we all collude with our supervisors, who is usually someone we know who got promoted or they have no proof one. If got proof also, one of the colleagues say he gonna post on social media and shame SMRT and their million dollar management for firing someone who is working very hard to feed his family, even though I know he always cut corners and slack off. You know what? Singaporeans will accept the story, because blue collar worker kena fired by men in white. Oppo figures also repost, because can use for politics and shame government. Win win right? But commuters never win, the lazy staff will get the job back through pressure by public.

What can outside people do? Actually, I also don’t know. I want to say should follow Donald Trump (I don’t support him) slogan: “Drain the swamp”. The SMRT is just basically a swamp filled with leeches. Top to bottom, all of them like your NSmen: lazy, chao keng, siam and arrow people. People tell me they should replace Desmond with HK/JP/don’t know what CEO. But for what? Some colleagues even got the cheek to say: “better lah, cos japan ceo always take blame and they cut salary. Shiok, still can enjoy bonus.” and that cos Japan companies like to shame workers by removing responsibilities: “shiok ah. Don’t need to do work still get paid”. How to fix liddat? You need to remove this people, they already got the mindset of not doing work.

I heard SMRT is hiring FT from nearby countries because they not enough local talent who want to join MRT especially with the news. I actually support that idea, because they all are at least hard working and if they don’t do work, they have to leave Singapore. My colleagues all jealous when the FT gets award by SMRT, but my personal experience is, at least they do their work and they don’t go against everyone. I not saying that I want FT to work, but it’s actually better for the train system.

I finish ranting already, fed up but I like trains and the work. Feel free to ask questions, I am here to answer them. Don’t ask sensitive question, I don’t want people know.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Desmond Kuek - the Army trained Backstabber

According to inside sources in SMRT, 6 staff has been fired for owning up to falsification of the maintenance record despite being guaranteed no penalty would be meted during the “amnesty period”. The staff who came forward are from the facilities management department, in-charge of tunnel ventilation and anti-flood and anti-fire measures.

The move by former army general SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek to fire the staff who owned up is an open backstab despite him promising no penalties.

In a company email circulation earlier this week, SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek wrote that staffs who owned up before the commencement of a “full audit” would be excused from punishment:

“In order to quickly establish the extent of such improper practices, an amnesty period was allowed for staff to volunteer information in open reporting as a mitigation against further disciplinary action.”

On Oct 7, the train tunnels between Bishan and Newton were found to be flooded by rain water after the pump drainage system failed. The pump system maintenance records were later found to have been falsified according to a preliminary investigation report issued by SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

SMRT CEOs Desmond Kuek and Lee Ling Wee, and the two Transport Ministers Khaw Boon Wan and Ng Chee Meng, refuse to take responsibility of the flooded train tunnel incident, and pushed all blame to SMRT employees for the “lapses”.

Latest Update on MRT Scandal:

MRT train collides with stationary train at Joo Koon station; 29 people hurt

SINGAPORE: Twenty-nine people were injured after an SMRT train collided with a stationary train at Joo Koon station at 8.20am on Wednesday morning (Nov 15), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT said.
In its first tweet at 8.25am, SMRT said that a "train fault" happened at Joo Koon station. 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) later said it was alerted to the incident at 8.33am. 

In a joint statement issued at 11.12am, SMRT and LTA said a train heading in the direction of Tuas Link station stalled at Joo Koon station at 8.18am.

A minute later, a second train stopped behind the first faulty train, the statement added.
"At 8.20am, the second train moved forward unexpectedly, and came into contact with the first train," the statement said. SMRT and LTA added that they are investigating the incident.

Twenty-seven passengers and two SMRT staff sustained "light to moderate injuries", and were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and National University Hospital (NUH).

Channel NewsAsia understands that 10 people were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and 15 sent to NUH from the scene of the incident.

Later in the day, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital received four walk-in patients, with the latest at about 7.30pm.

Out of the 15 sent to NUH, one declined treatment and returned home, while 13 others received treatment and were discharged. One passenger is currently warded for observation.

Out of the 14 injured admitted to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, 11 were treated and discharged, while two were warded for observation and the new patient is being treated.

"The Ministry of Transport, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT will remain in touch with the injured passengers and others who may come forward later to offer the necessary assistance," LTA and SMRT said in an updated joint statement late on Wednesday.

A spokesman from Ng Teng Fong Hospital said among those injured at the hospital, two were assessed to have sustained injuries under the P2 category.

According to the Health Ministry’s website, medical care at emergency departments is prioritised according to four levels. In this case, the category refers to “Major Emergency Patients” who are usually unable to walk. Injuries under this category include limb fractures, joint dislocation and severe back pain.

Another eight sustained minor injuries and were assessed to be under the P3 category, which includes sprains and minor head injuries.

Facebook user Mei Anne wrote that she was a passenger on one of the trains, and hurt her back as a result of the collision.

Two trains collided at Joo Koon MRT station on Nov 15. (Photo: Facebook/Mei Anne)
A platform at Joo Koon MRT station was cordoned off with police tape following the incident. At least 10 emergency vehicles were seen outside the station.

At about 2pm, more than five hours after the train collision, SMRT announced that train service between Boon Lay and Tuas Link stations in both directions will be suspended for two hours.
"This is to facilitate the recovery of the two trains involved in this morning’s incident at Joo Koon MRT station. We are doing all we can to restore services safely and expeditiously," said the train operator in a Facebook post.

It added that free regular bus and bridging bus services are available between those two stations.
At about 3.20pm, one of the trains involved in the incident was pulled away in the direction of Tuas Link MRT station.

In an update at 5.15pm, SMRT said services between Boon Lay and Tuas Link station "have resumed but are running slower".

Commuters were advised to add 10 minutes' travel time between Jurong East and Tuas Link.

In an update at about 5.45pm, SMRT advised commuters to "seek alternative transport" or add 25 minutes of travel time for those taking the North-South Line. Free bridging bus services between Bishan and Yishun were available.

The delay was later increased to 40 minutes and commuters were advised to take alternative rail lines.

The last time that an MRT train collision happened in Singapore was more than two decades ago. That incident, a front-to-back collision between two trains at Clementi station on Aug 5, 1993, resulted in 156 injured commuters.

An independent inquiry panel found that the accident was caused by a 50L oil spill from a maintenance locomotive which had been carrying out maintenance work at about 5am on the day of the accident.

Following the findings, SMRT revised its operating procedures to require staff to inspect the platform tracks for oil, and in the event of an oil spill, the train at the station preceding the spill will not move off until the train ahead has left the station.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Why Are We Called Dogs?

Some kind words from our founding father. We the dogs had helped created such a successful city state. For who? The rich and powerful of course.