Sunday, August 30, 2015

Population growth is NOT the real mother of problems

The mad and frentic population growth impacts Singapore peasants from both tangible and intangible perspective. It strains all our infrastructure, shrinking all our public space, inflates cost of living, destroys our social fabrics, dilute our national identity, impacts the sense of security and the list can go on and on.

Therefore, we tend to believe that it is the main culprit for all our current woes. But when delved deeper, there is this underlying philosophy that connects the whole string of problems that have been persistently impacting the peasants. 

Even without population growth, all other existing issues will remain if the underlying cause is not addressed. We can freeze population growth but prices of public housing can still soar through the manipulation of the supply of public flats. For eg, supply of BTOs were eventually rammed up after 2011 in response of population growth but that fails to bring down the prices of new BTOs. 

How else then, when supply has satisfied demand, to soften the prices? And who actually controls the price? As such, population growth is not the cause of high housing prices. Also, housing prices have been an issue as early as the late 90s but it was curbed by the Asian Financial Crisis.

Therefore, population growth is a problem itself. It does not create existing issues such as stagnant wages/fall in real income, high living costs, escalating heathcare costs, unfair job competition, deteriorating public transport etc but merely exacerbates the extent of the whole range of issues.  (However, I do note that population growth does cause new forms of crime.)

What population growth does, is to bring our problems to their back-breaking points earlier than they should.

For eg, the 2011 massive train broke down. Prolonged period of under-maintenance will inevitably shorten the lifespan of both our trains and train system even in the absence of a growing ridership. Massive breakdown is just a matter of time. 

The Art of Monetizing Everything

If we were to look at all our current issues, be it population growth or healthcare affordability, they share the same underlying philosophy--absolute obsession with money. For it is this single philosophy that frames all our aristocratic policies to achieve the aim of profit making from the peasants.

Vivian says it best. To him, there are only two type of people who will serve at zero cost – the wealthy or the corrupt. Plain and simple, for a person like him, money is the sole motivation for everything he does and every breath he draws.

We need money to enable the basics of life. However, there is a huge difference between the means and the end. 
When aristocrats are driven by profit-making movitation across our public housing, public transport, healthcare, living costs, workers’ stagnant wages....., the peasants will be sacrifced. 

We should not be surprised that public housing meant for housing the masses at an affordable price deviated into a profit-making mechanism; public transport deviated from delivering efficient transport services to lucrative retail business; our healthcare is not about patients but breakeven?

It is all about--the pursuit of more profits and even more profits.

Population growth

Many others had mentioned about the true intent of this 6.9 million human target. It has nothing to do with our aging population in truth but the economics. 

Population growth brings direct lucrative profits in the forms of cheaper labour for businesses (a check on the salaries of the peasants too), demand on housing needs for developers, increase consumption for retails, upward pressure on residential rents (to justify higher property tax) and commercial rents which both benefit the government coffers and….many more which the PWP did not tell you.

Population growth is a short cut money-making mechansim to help boost Hsien Loong’s GDP pride. Without GDP, he is nothing.

Housing.Public transport.Healthcare.

The obsession of money seeps through every single vein of our aristocrats. You see them peering at all matters on earth through their money-tinted glasses. Homes, family bonds, integrity, aspirations can be valued in dollars and cents. 

Money-obsession will motivate our aristocrats to produce innovative means to milk money. Think of COE. It is the only kind in the world.

Public Housing.  From the moment when our homes can be monetized in the form of asset enhancement, we have stopped building a nation. If your home is created for the purpose to be traded for profits, then one needs no home. There isn't any need for a nation either. For nation can be traded for profits too.

A public housing scheme targeted to make HDB flats accessible to the general public at a minimum rate has been infested by all kinds of profit-making notions, such as including the “cost” of land, calculated at market price, into the cost of building public housing. Pegging our PUBLIC housing pricing to market rates until this was changed in recent years. Effectively, we have a public housing with market price. It is about profit-making, not about the provisions of affordable housing for our peasants. 

Public transport. Everybody knows too well of the story of our beloved MRT system. Private companies exist for the sole purpose of making profits. Inevitably. It is not SMRT's issue but rather why was SMRT allowed to act in this manner? And SMRT's largest shareholder is our Temasek Holdings. 

Surely anyone with eyes can see that the MRT system had been far more reliable during the era of pre-privatised days than the privatised version. Since that woman took over SMRT, our public-funded train system had deviated into retail business and a profitable work-place for former generals.

Healthcare. Hsien Loong mentioned the need for Medishield Life to breakeven. He denotes our sickly and elderly in dollars and cents. In his twisted aristocratic mind, defence budget, Gardens by the Bay, SG 50 celebrations need no breakeven.

Then we have the Khaw Boon Wan’s blatant advice of sendiing our elderlies to JB for cheaper home care.

If we are so short of fund to provide for a genuine low-cost healthcare, then why built an unsustainable project such as Gardens by the Bay? The revenue it generates cannot cover the cost of maintenance.

We have public funds to prop up the vanity project but holds back funding for our sick and elderly? Does the Gardens mean more for Hsien Loong than our sick and elderly? “With you, for you, for Singapore” sounds hollow at this juncture.

Many bloggers before me had pointed out the inadequate spending on our healthcare as a developed nation. We even fall behind countries like China when we boosted about our near-the-top GDP per capita.

If that is not enough, CPF also profits from Medishield premiums. For every $1 of premium that CPF collects, it only pays out $0.43 on the average and the rest will be profits. 

Education. Calculative is the word. The calibre of our students are measured in a narrow-minded manner that determines the amount of resources that they deserve. The “thick ones”, whatever that means, should resign themselves to the fate of low-status manual workers. That is how a human being is stripped off its meaning in the eyes of our aristocrats. They claim that we have limited resources and precisely so, why are we reserving a growing size of our limited resources for foreigners?

Capital Gains and Estate Duty

For a money-obsessed mind of our aristocrats, it came as a surprise that there is no capital gains tax levied on the sales of stocks, bonds, precious metals and property, especially when we have such hot real estate that requires 10 rounds of cooling measure to rein in the prices. 

Estate duty which was mysteriously removed in 2008? Hsien Loong’s mama fell into a coma in the same year.

Singapore is loaded with the super wealthy beings. It doesn't make sense not to collect more money from the growing rich. The aristocrat resorts to double taxing the peasants on our utilities to make every cent counts--GST was levied on our water conservation tax but would be generous enough to leave inheritance value untouched?

For afterall, estate duty and capital gains tax will only affect those wealthy beings, including our natural aristocrats. Who will stand to benefit from the absence of such taxes? Not the peasants definitely, who are already struggling to pay off their PUBLIC housing.  

Aristocrats' dull talents

黔驴技穷(qián lǘ zhī jì)。Our aristocrats likened to the Guizhou donkey which has exhausted all his tricks in the face of a tiger. 

Plain to see, our aritocrats are only interested in fleecing the peasants for every cent they can off us but not their wealthy friends. Which in other words, it is the poor peasants who are propping up these expensive aristocrats with the little money that we have and providing them with the "profits" that they revel in. 

They are unable to create a profitable local economy without profiteering from the peasants. Like the Guizhou donkey. No more tricks to play. Their talents are even more pathetic when it comes to profits-making/investments in the real world beyond our country.  

The essence is, our aristocrats cannot live their aristocrat lives without the peasants! In order to make even more profits, they can only fleece more from the peasants. By holding back the peasants' own CPF money, increasing taxes for them, increasing the price of all necessities which the peasants will need.

Population growth is an issue itself. We have to stop the madness of population growth. But the bigger monster is our aristocrats' money-mindset--this  is the "mother" of all problems. Deep-rooted in our system and are rotting our healthy system. The aristocrats will not relinquish the easy lives that they have been enjoying. 

These cheapskate aristocrats got to be removed. Else the peasants will not see the daylight at the end of the tunnel. 

When the current level of profits satisfy the aristocrats no more, rest assured that they will produce new efficient ways to harnest more profits from the pockets of the peasants.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

PAP fails if Singapore fails without PAP

Singapore will fail without the PAP.

Who put that idea into us and turned it into a self fulfilling prophecy? And if we believe that scenario, Singapore would certainly fail. Because we would resign to our fate and stop exploring other alternatives to succeed apart from the PAP-format.

It would be a dent to the pride which is boosted by the likes of our Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay and F1, to see beyond these glamour which Hsien Loong is so proud of, are nothing but a skindeep definition of “success”.

Because a country, after coming through 50 years of nation building of supposedly solid foundations, cannot wean off its dependence on a mere political party, cannot be deemed a “success”. It only raises serious questions about (1)the foundations of our country, (2)the strength of our citizenry and (3)PAP’s deliberate creation of a nation which allows PAP to grow into every ounce of our nation’s flesh, so much so that the two merged into one. If PAP has become an inseparable entity with our nation, that only exposes a few things:

1) Weak fundamentals of our nation
PAP claims, our nation cannot withstand the change of political parties. PAP, for all the credit it has claimed for our nation-building, failed to build a sound and independent foundation for our nation that can stand on its own. On the contrary, it has produced a weakling that is entirely reliant on PAP, a political party. PAP is the crutch that it has built itself into, which Singapore will be forever reliant on it. If that is really the case, it explains the need for PAP to propagate the threat idea that Singapore cannot do without PAP.

Let’s pause and think.

If Singapore was to collapse without that crutch, wouldn’t it make sense to endure the short term pain of removing that crutch which hinders our nation to learn to stand on its own? A child will never be able to learn to stand, walk and run on his own if he is forever reliant on a crutch. The same logic applies to our nation. Unless you do not aspire to walk on your own.

PAP’s propaganda also betrays the unsustainability of our country. No doubt we need leaders with vision (I am not talking about a leader who can only envision how much of GDP growth--that is not a vision) to navigate Singapore Boat in the right direction, however, if the Boat has been built with strong elements to sustain storms and challenging waters, then even in the absence of the previous captain, the Boat should not sink. It will sink if the building materials are of inferior quality. The Boat might sail in a different direction but that may not be necessarily a bad move. With a dedicated crew, that is, our people, we can help the new captain to keep the Boat afloat. This brings us to the next issue.

2) Humiliating Singaporeans
There are crew on board the Singapore Boat. The captain cannot hold the boat all on his own. This appears to be missing from the dimension of PAP’s claim.

Having a strong, dedicated crew, that is our people, on board helps to assuage the impact of the absence of a capable captain. Nations cannot be strong with a weak citizenry. The smartest captain on board will be rendered ineffective without capable crewmen. This is the dimension that is conveniently missing from PAP’s claim. We have never realized that it is not a mere political party that makes a country strong--it is the people.

For all the compliments that PAP heaped upon itself, it is simultaneously and indirectly humiliating Singaporeans. That we lack the talents, the competency, the far-sightedness, the strength to lead our country, only THE PAP can do so. Do you get the message? We are the wretched souls awaiting for their saviour. Without PAP, we are rubbish.

Does that not explain the rationale of PAP’s indiscriminative foreign talents policy? We need foreign talents to build our nation for us. That implication is humiliating us, after all that 50 years of nation building, our people are incapable of bringing our nation forward. 

Did PAP fail to invest appropriately in our people, the only natural resource that our nation has?

3) Failure of our education
If our people are that ineffective, incapable, what went wrong along those years of nation building? It wasn’t a matter of five years but FIFTY SOLID years! What went wrong with the education which parents and the country have both invested heavily in?

It contradicts the global rankings of our tertiary education when PAP finds us not good enough. What is the good of excelling in the international Olympiad Maths when the products of our education are deemed inferior to those of South East Asia’s or North Asia’s?

What went wrong?

Have we been educated in the wrong direction? Or have we been forced to accept an inferior local education? How did our international rankings manage to score high?

Confusing and contradicting facts.

Could it be that those who have helped to improve our education global rankings are foreign imports? If so, does that not say that PAP has not invested sufficiently on our very own people? Or that they have given up even on investing on us?

When words and actions contradict one another, there must be hidden lies.

We have good education and yet we need “foreign talents” to support our country. There must be reasons beyond the incapability of our people. They have not be forthcoming about this issue. SEA and NA foreigners have been welcomed onto our shores to replace our highly educated people. It implies the futility of our people pursuing a tertiary education at all cost. 

4) The strangle on our people
For all the insults PAP has heaped onto us, such as lazy, dafts, be trained like dogs, choosey, uninnovative etc, did you ever pause to think what was the cause of the "failures" which we have been rightly or wrongly accused of?

We are cultivated since young to pursue higher education, as the salary scale of the civil service says so, an indirect admission of despise on the lower educated and the kinds of jobs associated with it. Manual jobs bear the brunt of distaste. It would never come across to us the unique skills a plumber holds. Instead, we judge on his low education and label him as a failure. We can never understand why would Europeans pay so much for manual jobs which Singaporeans shun. Likewise, we can never understand why a British plumber or a construction worker can hold his head high as compared to their counterparts in Singapore?

Where did such kind of values stem from? Most of our forefathers started off as manual workers. Did we use to despise them?

We accepted readily the low wages of manual labour and justified the high salaries of a handful of professions. We didn't question the rationale. And we didn't fight to improve wages for the low-income to rise in tantrum with living cost. Instead, we looked away when real income of low wage workers falls. Who should we blame when we refused to take up such jobs? Ourselves or the kind of values bred in our society?

We accepted that it is “punishable” to be single; to be non-tertiary educated; to be a manual worker; to be poor; to protest in the public; to strike for unfair treatment…..

There is only one right perspective for everything. We did not realize all our acceptance of certain “values” was actually achieved/cultivated through social engineering. Through the means of carrots and sticks. The “values” of our society are dictated and executed. The pay scale of civil service penalizes non-tertiary educated; housing policy is linked to family planning; size of family is linked to fines; protesters and people who strike are arrested etc that influenced the types of values that we choose to uphold.

Democracy has to be evil; protests have to be a demon; social welfare will only head towards wreckage. Did anyone tell you that Germany has a higher social welfare than the UK and its country is not even close to the brink of collapse?

A highly-educated nation but with dismal thinking ability.

We think in one direction. Whatever PAP decrees is the truth, the alternatives got to be lies. If you cannot turn left, you got to turn to the right. Can we not walk straight on? Or create another path ourselves between the left and the right?

Who is strangling our people? And killing the thinking ability of our people silently.

Conclusion--It is about the people!
Contradictions. Threats. Half truthful lies.

Whatever the ruling regime may spin say or advocate, we got to rely on ourselves. Otherwise, we will be losers, forever under the paternal care of PAP and there will never come a day when we will learn to walk on our own feet. PAP has no intention to let us walk on our own with the strangle it holds in all aspects of our life. Media, national education, transport, healthcare, political arena etc. Even public housing has to be linked with marital status. And no one thinks that it is wrong. And that is the wrong.

Ultimately, it is not whether PAP can take Singapore into the next lap, but whether we, as a people, can rebuild our country’s foundations in the right way that can withstand the change of political parties and political figures.

Our nation must outlive the short-lived political parties and human life span, if it aspires to be a strong nation.

If Singapore would fail without PAP, then it is PAP which has failed us. Failed to build a truly strong nation manned by a strong people. Instead, what we see is a glamourous but empty shell.

Stop pondering whether Singapore can do without PAP. Move on. Grow ourselves in order to grow our nation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Under PAP, what do Singaporeans own

We look around us at the possessions that we paid dearly for but do not really belong to us.

Singaporeans paid heavily for “the right” to drive a car, in the form of Certificate of Entitlement (COE). This certificate costs more than the price of the car itself, as the price is subject to supply and demand. We simply cannot pretend that we do not know that the supply of COE and the demand for it are both controlled. We paid a dear sum to be "entitled" the right to drive our cars for TEN YEARS. For ten years only, we "own" the car. 

The government called this public housing. By that, it should mean subsidised housing intended for low income dwellers. What ever subsidy the government may claim that they have been generously given out, it is the ultimate price of the HDB, in comparison to income level, that matters. If we are spending 30 years of our lives to service a public housing loan, it is simply not affordable. Current price of a 4 room flat, unsubsidised, in a mature estate such as Clementi costs $478,000, close to half a million. And that comes after many rounds of cooling measures implemented. Our HDB flats are nearing to half a million price mark.

It is not a freehold apartment. We do not gain full ownership of the flat as it is a 99-year lease product. This flat will be returned to the HDB eventually after that. In actuality, we are the unofficial tenants of the HDB, paying monthly rent for 99 years. It is our national pride, according to HDB's statement. 90% of resident households own their HDB flat. It does look great in terms of statistics. Like all sales tactics.
And this is the most unfortunate reality of all. Singaporeans do not own the country that they have built. This country belongs to PAP and PAP only. Singaporeans do have the right to vote, once in every 5 years, in a 100% insulated political climate for PAP. The vote, however, does not allow Singaporeans to have a say in the type of future that they want for themselves. Instead, the vote is being given to the PAP to decide what type of country, economy and future the Singaporeans should have. 

This is the norm which Singaporeans have accepted readily and happily because there are no protests outside Istana. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chun Sing's "political failures": the likes of Ong Ye Kung etc

Chun Sing has called Chee Soon Juan a political failure, in Chun Sing's unique definition of failure. Never mind that Chun Sing himself hid under the skirt of Tanjong Pagar GRC and had the red carpet to the political arena rolled out all the way to his feet. Ironically, a general himself who did not even have to fight for his victory into the political arena and was subsequently rewarded with a ministerial post.

The imminent GE 2015 has seen political failures crawling out of the can of Chun Sing's sacred political party. Such as the likes of Ong Ye Kung and Koh Poh Koon and others. Failed Here, try Somewhere else.

If a politician requires his party leader to fight his battle for him in the form of protecting himself in safer GRCs, saving him the hassle of fighting for survival and the misery and tears of a loss, how can the peasants expect such a passive politician to fight the battle for us? When the battle is not even about himself but us?

It is wrong of us to believe, that a political party leader who has to rely on his father's aura to be parachuted into the Parliament and then be presented the throne of Prime Minister, will ever understand the importance of standing on one's own feet, the need of overcoming inevitable obstacles in life and the need to live through failure. A person who has never failed will be deprived the opportunity of living with failure and to come out a stronger person. Will Hsien Loong understand that?

Therefore, it is not in the least surprising for the same mollycoddled party leader to grant Tin Pei Lin the privilege in learning the ropes of a MP on the job at the expense of taxpayers while members of the alternative parties will have to fight for their own chance to glimpse at the doorknob of the Parliament House.

Can the likes of Ong Ye Kung, Koh Poh Koon etc with little visible will power on their own to strive for the benefits for the peasants? When they allowed themselves to be deployed like a muppet to relatively safer GRC to cement their chances of getting into the Parliament? Does their actions not prove that:

       1. Their actions contradicted the impartiality of meritocracy
They are deployed to stronger GRC not due to their own merit but what the party leader deemed. And most importantly, they do seem to be pleased at ease with such contradiction as their days to the Parliament are not far off from now.

       2.  Lack of resolution
They are determined to get into Parliament by hook or by crook via the easier path. Refused to pick up from where they have fallen but instead chose the short cut to the political arena. What kind of values are these people promoting? Will they have the courage and the conviction overnight during times of challenges that they will plough through the challenges for the welfare of the peasants, instead of choosing the lazy way out?

       3. Lack of conviction
They succumb to the absolute orders of their party leader. A portrayal of weak resolution or no convictions of their own. During times when their party leader is heading the wrong way, do not expect such people to stake their fat salaries and high positions to challenge the party leader and veer him to the right direction.

I thought strong leaders were much needed which in my understanding, are leaders who will make tough decisions in difficult times and will not shy from difficulties. Nevertheless, the likes of OYK and KPK whom their party leader claim to possess ministerial caliber are just light years away from it. Instead, and I would like to borrow Chun Sing’s expression, they are nothing but “political failures”.

Hopefully, Chun Sing would have a word or two with them and shame them into withdrawal.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Between AHPETC and SMRT

Which is the greater mishap for us, as the peasants of this aristocratically-ruled island country club? The perceived "failure" of AHPETC or the real-life experienced failure of SMRT? Which is a more costly failure for the peasants?

Direct impact of AHPETC’s “failure”

(1)State of cleanliness

Impact is limited to constituent level. The most disastrous impact will be hygiene discomfort, that is, cleaning work comes to a halt due to the breakdown of TC. That is based on the assumption that residents' Service and Conservancy Charges (S & CC) collected could not suffice to meet the cleaning cost somehow. That would at most impact the estate cleanliness.

Though a paranoid on cleanliness, I must admit that this is not even an inconvenient. The breakdown of MRT is inconvenient, considering the fact that peasants have to commute to work. As long as the services of shops, supermarkets, wet markets, post office, banks, public transport (if it is still in working conditions) and such still function despite the failure of TC, estate cleanliness does seem negligible.

In perspective, there are more pressing reasons, such as stubborn inflation, to worry about than estate hygiene discomfort really. NEA will tackle mosquito breeding and rats infestation in my constituent unless non-PAP wards are excluded from these services. Even if I have to engage an estate manager directly to manage our block of flats, that still won’t break my bank.

However, living costs do. Healthcare cost for myself and my aging parents will. I reject Mr Khaw Boon Wan’s aristocratic suggestion of putting my parents in any JB home care to reduce the cost of care.

In fact, a 10 million imminent population is more disastrous for me than failure of my TC.

(2) Lower Service and Conservancy Charges

Ironically, despite MSM’s repeated mantra of AHPETC paying more to their managing agent, residents still get to enjoy a lower rate of S & CC as compared to during PAP’s reign?!!! Doesn’t that show some form of efficiency and cost savings? Why couldn’t the TCs under PAP, paying relatively less to their managing agents than AHPETC, decrease the S & CC to benefit the residents? After all, they enjoy greater economies of scale than AHPETC. Yet, AHPETC which has been accused of paying their "friends" unfairly more, could help to bring direct savings to the residents. If paying more to managing agent could improve efficiency and brings lower service costs to residents, why not? We are already paying our political leaders the highest salaries in this universe to stamp out corruption and to attract talents into our political arena anyway. That didn’t bring about a cost savings unfortunately, to the peasants.

Greater implications
1) Doubts on the ability of AHPETC’s political party to govern at national level

Is that even relevant?

There is no relevance between Hsien Loong’s ignorance of our mee siam and his ability to run the country either. Cockles or no cockles in mee siam, he has been running our country for the past decade.

I doubt Hsien Loong knows about the details on the running of his ministries, nor would he know about the amount of money that is going into the sinking fund each month from his TC.

The management of a TC was thrusted upon the shoulders of our MPs when the rule of game for politics was changed to trip the opposition. Whatever justification said about MP’s additional role in TC management does not disguise the fundamental purpose of our MPs in their political roles. They are elected to shape our national policies to the benefit of our citizens, not just residents. A MP who has the abilities to keep his TC all in order but dead silent about the detriments of national policies in Parliament is a complete waste to taxpayers’ money and it defeats the purpose of even having a MP. An estate manager would just suffice for that task.

We have to understand that the purpose of our civil service is created to facilitate the daily functions of our country, and therefore leaving our political leaders to make decisions.

Our political leaders do not fret about our income taxes being paid on time or not; neither do they need to decide which cleaning company to engage. That would be under the purview of IRAS and NEA. In short, our politicians are not estate managers.

We do not need accountants, financial consultants, estate managers….to be our political leaders. On the other hand, we are in dire need of GENUINE leaders who can LEAD, who are not obsessed with their monetary sacrifices or aristocrat status.

2) Spread of corruption to the national level when AHPETC allegedly awarded contracts to “friends”

CPIB is there to ensure a corruption-free environment.

If there is really corruption involved, I have no qualms that our super efficient CPIB would have brought those involved to justice. The persecution of former chief of SCDF and directors of CPIB are fine examples of our super efficient CPIB.

If those were not enough, just look up there at the aristocrat level where Hsien Loong is. His wife is overseeing the investment capital of our sovereign funds. Such obvious conflict of interest. There must be a super robust system in place to detect any possible wrong doings of his wife. If such robust system exists, AHPETC would certainly be on the radar system.

Moreover, high pay has been used to entice politicians not to be corrupted, so that should apply to AHPETC team. If there is any shreds of doubt on our pay-more-to-reduce-corruption system, give politicians’ pay another boost then. And certainly Grace Foo will be the first to jump through the roof in joy.

3) Integrity of the AHPETC team

I maybe naive but politicians are not god-send angels. Also, absolute power corrupts any human heart. Which is why I would rather put my faith in an independent system or an independent body to check on ALL politicians than to believe politicians’ integrity.

A system that can compel politicians to uphold their duties with integrity is more effective than relying on individual’s integrity. In the real world, political parties’ power rise and fall, but the system in place do not. If we have such an effective system, we should not be worried about the integrity of the politicians at all. They will have absolutely no chance of enriching themselves at the public expense, like what SMRT is doing.

Direct impact of SMRT’s failure

For peasants without cars, public transport is not even an option. And because we are peasants, we have to work till we die, therefore, reliable and affordable public transport is crucial to our livelihoods. The impact of train failure goes beyond train commuters and affect across various groups of people who are in some ways connected to the train commuters.

I am not sure if our aristocrat leaders and ex-generals realize that. If they are fixated about productivity, they should know the relation between train breakdowns and our productivity.

Greater implications

1) Privatising profits; nationalising loss

SMRT fails on two levels. First as a private company which fails to deliver its core product; on a second level, it fails as a private company which is supported by public funds.

And SMRT has been given a credit card with no spending limit and is definitely a spoilt brat who has no priorities in spending. We have seen it happened in its interest of venturing into retail and telecommunication when it fails to maintain reasonable standard of its own core product, which is our public transport. Expensive infrastructure such as the stations and tracks have been built for SMRT’s operations. On top of that, public funds were used to purchase new trains and distribute monetary rewards when SMRT trains run on time. Do we also reward police with cash for catching thieves?

There is also an “independent” fare review committee that has been advocating higher fares for SMRT in 9 out of 10 years, amidst all local and external circumstances such as surging and slumping oil prices, fall of real wages for bus captains, growing ridership.

Why does Hsien Loong cringe at the sound of welfare for our people but extremely generous towards private companies which profits have not benefitted the general public? Not even when it comes to assuage the burden of healthcare costs on our people, Hsien Loong is more concerned about the breakeven ability of his Medishield Life than the out-of-the-pocket costs for our people. 

If we are worried sick about AHPETC's management of TC's funds; we should be million times more worried about how our public funds are being spent. It is an accumulation of successive reluctant prudent spending on our people, in the form of our healthcare, social spending etc, that built up our public funds. In other words, we the peasants are spending more from our own pockets to ensure the surplus of our public funds.

2) Profit-oriented

Think of the cheap plastic cables used to stabilise our sleepers. There will be no end to the corners that a private company will cut to boost its profits. Inevitable.  

But how did we end up with a profit-oriented private company providing public service?

Desmond Kuek made known his priority clear soon after he was parachuted to head SMRT. SMRT answers to their shareholders, not the peasants who have to board the train out of no other transport alternatives. Ironically, the public transport company and its CEO owes their very existence to the peasants who couldn't afford COEs. Desmond, Tuck Yew and Hsien Loong do not see it that way.

No compelling reason for such a private company to remain competitive or efficient when there is free-to-spend credit card thrusted into its hands.

3) The scariest part--No accountability of public funds

SMRT is a mutant, not entirely private and neither entirely public. How many of such models have been adopted in other services? Using direct or indirect public funds to boost the profitability of private companies. Think of Temasek’s monetary support given to Olam, a private company with dubious financial and accounting. It was an amount of S$2.5 billion spent.

The bigger question is, who actually condones the behaviour of channelling our public funds to satisfy the insatiable greed of private companies? WHO IS THIS PERSON?

Hsien Loong and Tuck Yew, on different occasions mentioned, that the public has a responsibility to ensure the profitability of SMRT, a supposedly private company. Coincidentally, they were silent on SMRT’s responsibility towards its commuters. And that paints the big picture.

That our public funds are used callously to recoup the losses of irresponsible private companies. This dwarfs the “sins” of AHPETC’s mismanagement of their TC. There hasn’t even concrete evidence of AHPETC’s misuse of funds.


  1. SMRT has nothing to lose but AHPETC has
A private company allowed to nationalise its loss while privatising its gain will have no worries about its efficiency. Even LTA’s millions of fine on SMRT for poor service can be recouped through charging higher fare in the subsequent years.

AHPETC has everything to lose. It has a political team that went into politics with no guarantee of cushy jobs in GLCs or PA or being appointed as advisors of any constituent if they were to lose in the elections. For them, the only way to secure future votes is to perform. SMRT may break down 365 days of a year and it would still be be granted a fare increase. Peasants will still have to board the train out of no other alternatives.

2) SMRT is an epitome of how our country is run?
Isn't such possibility ten times worse than AHPETC's allegedly dishonesty? Our reserves are freely accessible to private companies, as well as private individuals? Worryingly, there is no debate or an independent system to oversee the expenditure of our public funds. One person determines the use of public funds.

3) Who is actually screwing the peasants
If the worst could be said about AHPETC, it will be their incompetency to manage the TC. But should there be a relation between a MP and his/her admin abilities in the first place? Are we looking at the abilities of our MPs to better the welfare for the citizens through municipal and national policies?

That Khaw Boon Wan scored a gleaming record on his Sembawang TC but failed miserably to provide sufficient hospital beds for a booming population during his term as a HEALTH minister. His residents in Sembawang GRC rejoice; but patients across the entirely island, save for those aristocrats of course, are paying for his incompetence as a Health Minister. A* in managing a TC but F grade as a health minister.

Which is worse? Who is screwing the peasants harder? And why are we even worried about AHPETC when there is already a bigger monster baring its teeth right before our eyes?

The truth is, we still prefer to close our eyes when it is already right before our eyes, praying fervently that it will miraculously go away on its own accord.