Monday, July 05, 2010

Beyond Public Transport....


"“If you’re the best today, strive to be better. If you’re better today, strive to be ‘betterer’ and if you’re ‘betterer’ today, strive to be ‘betterest’ so that over time, Singapore’s service standards can just keep getting better, ‘betterer’ and ‘betterest’" - Minister Lim Swee Say

The PAP leaders have this habit of pointing out what they think is wrong with Singaporeans and demanding Singaporeans improve themselves. However, when Singaporeans suggest much needed improvements to our transport system, our public housing and flood control mechanisms, the first thing they do is deny there is something wrong and once the evidence become overwhelming and there is no way to deny the facts, the 2nd thing they do is blame something else (other than their policies) for the problems we face. The PAP leaders who are paid the highest salaries in the world should be the ones to do a "betterer" job....why is Minister Lim asking Singaporeans workers who endure a 3rd world wage structure (see article here ) to improve. Lim Swee Say should improve his English and stop using words like betterer. He should be calling for improvement of the transport system so that workers can get to work more comfortably to start the day fresher and more productive.

All of us should thank SMRT CEO Saw for being so honest. She admitted that her goal is not really the comfort of passengers - she is okay with the situation so long as they are not crushed. She later admitted that the trains crowded but she can't do anything about it without compromising reliability or safety. Actually, there is something else she can't compromise and that is the shareholders' profits and dividends ...of course the SMRT can extend the length of each station and expand the number of carriages for each train, of course the trains can be upgraded to increase frequency and shorten waiting times. But all that requires her to use shareholders' fund and the increase in revenue is unlikely to compensate for expediture since the demand for MRT service is fairly inelastic. Like I said, I don't blame her...she is only doing her job to take care of the interests of shareholders. There is no point trying to argue with her anyway since she has already shown all her cards and admitted that the trains are crowded. You look at the whole system, together with the COE + ERP and you realise the entire transport system will not evolve to improve the standard of living greatly in the coming years. Our COE system is an example of system that will lead to great unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This bidding scheme is one in which a scarce resource (cars) is allocated based purely on a person's ability to pay rather than his needs. A millionaire's son gets a car for partying while a lower middle income father with a handicapped child cannot afford one as he struggles with other medical costs. This system causes great mismatch between needs and allocation. You superimpose this COE system onto Singapore's income distribution which is the most unequal in the developed world and you get plenty of dissatisfaction with the system.

2 days ago, Minister Tharman talked about the govt aim to raise the median income to $3100 from $2400[Link] by 2020. To me, that is a rather meaningless goal because it may not translate to any improvement in living standards. What is the use if 5-room HDB flats go for $1M at that time, or our MRT trains reach crush point and medical costs which has been rising much faster than income continues to escalate.....The problem with Singapore has never been a lack of GDP growth. The problem is the income gap and raising median income without narrowing the income gap will solve nothing. If the income gap keeps rising, cars and better homes will just continue to move out of reach of most Singaporeans.

If you want things to improve in Singapore, there is not much point complaining or giving feedback to the PAP govt. Just like the SMRT, it must have taken thousands of complaints and plenty of feedback over the years....but is constrained by the system to operate in a certain way. Similarly, your life will not improve if the system in Singapore does not change. If you give in to Minister Lim Swee Say's demand for workers to be faster and cheaper, you will not better your life much...you will end up working faster, harder, cheap ..'betterer' for the rest of your life perhaps even not being able to retire until the day you die. The best way to improve your life is to improve the system and the way you do that is to bring in the people whose interests are aligned with yours into parliament.

32 comments:

Shang Lee said...

great post Lucky Tan, as always. Do you think there is a way around the system? something like a disruptive technology e.g. wikipedia is to encyclopedia? is there something of this sort that will bypass the system and in a way that forces the system to adapt or make the system irrelevant?

Anonymous said...

The only way to improve is to vote out PAP.

They have been in power so long that they are blatantly complacent and indifferent to public feedback.
We need to vote out some of them in order to shake them up, and to get them to accomplish what we paid them millions to do in the first place.

Shameless bastards have the nerve to collect millions of dollars each year while not doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

If they can say things like betterer, that only means they (the PAP) can be fuckerer and fuckerest. I have no doubt of that.
Subvert them by all means.

Anonymous said...

Kick out the PAP!

Anonymous said...

Wah lau eh, my bus fare today increased by 17% due to the distance based fare. Somemore the bus operator can even say the new system is fairer!!!

Fairer to who, majority or minority?

This is a disguised form of fare increase without having to say it! How ingenious.

Anonymous said...

dis-Grace-Fu

lim-Sia-Suay

shame, PAP, shame

Taishan said...

A better minister is certainly required.
This "better, betterer, betterest" minister needs to be battered and fried.

Anonymous said...

The raise in median income from $2400 to $3100 over the span of 10 years works out to just about 2.5% wage increase per year. This is below CPI growth in wages considering that SIngapore's CPI has been greater than 2.5% over the last few years. The goal is practically nonsense as the wages are not growing, so effectively the target is just another of PAP's news grabbing rubbish that does nothing at all.

Thank goodness I am Australian now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Australian guy 16:52,

Please don't say that out loud. Their lies only work for dumb peole. For decades they have been paying 2.5% for our CPF-OA and singaporeans are just happy to accept it without thinking about the inflation rate. After paying for $300,000 affordable HDB I wonder how they are going to retire. Lambs are for slaughter, pigs are paid highly because they sacrifice alot to take care of the Animal Farm.

Cheers
Economist with a heart :)

Anonymous said...

it is good to vent your frustration but singaporeans need to do more. pap knows that despite the whinging, at the end of the day, they will be voted back into power.

pap is relatively a good responsible and honest government but they have gotten complacent. how then can we help them? vote against them in a few seats the next election. i think if they lose at least 10% of the seats, then we will see a rejuvenated pap government which will act in the interest of the people.

what are you waiting for? get organised. election is coming.

Amused said...

If the population decreases by a millon or two by 2020, living conditions will improve measurably. There goes your SMART crowding problems and your housing affordablity issues.

Anonymous said...

look at the poster showing 3 people holding their Ezlink cards, so happy to give $ to SMRT & SBS, it makes us looks like stupid sheeps always so happy to give & give until we die!

Anonymous said...

on the 1st july we got the $200 GSt Credit, and on the same day ST website says electricity tariff will increase. isn't that too much of coincidence? isn't this "give & take"?? so those stupid people out there who so blindly support pap, please wait up, stop getting "owned" by pap and still continue voting them in.

Anonymous said...

Spot on.

Anonymous said...

I think it would take some death from suffocation or stampede within the trains before some "concrete solution" can be found....

Anonymous said...

Well well well... All my family members came home and said that their per tip fare has increased. Range between 2 cents to 4 cents.
So it is consumer fault not to transfer just because there is no need for a transfer.

Anonymous said...

The SMRT CEO admitted that the trains are crowded and she cannot do anything about it. What the hell we need a CEO for? Paying her millions and not doing anything. We might as well employ a monkey as CEO and pay her peanut.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is high time to find a cheaper CEO who can solve problem better and faster. LOL

Anonymous said...

Well Lucky,
Haven you give up? I am pretty tired of all these policies. The policies only benefit the rich...

It just needs a little co-operation from all the citizens who truly want their future generation to have a better living lifestyle to vote some opposition into the parliament and to represent us in the parliament. Citizen voice can then be heard in the parliament.

Has Singaporeans become too selfish and self centered?

Discrete Steps said...

Can any political organization say that X House, Y mode of transport, Z amenities is the bare minimum?

Anonymous said...

Great post. The powers that be used to be socialists and believed in the fair distribution of the nation's resources amongst her people. Along the way a myth was excepted as truth. The myth that only unbridled, unregulated free market capitalism would ensure the survival and prosperity of our little accidental country. Now it is obvious that a compromise is necessary before the problems associated with our current economical philosophy spiral out of control.

Anonymous said...

I am really ashamed to hear any Singaporean say words like betterer and betterest, because it really say a lot about Singaporean mentality. Even to hear this Minister talking about improving wages from $2100.00 to S$3400.00 by the year 2020 is also pretty meaningless. I also recall a former PM telling us that we can achieve Swiss standard of living. Where are we right now, Swaziland standard? All these rhetoric bears no substance when simple things like floods cannot be controlled in a tiny island, or a non-military personnel without training can penetrate into a high security area. I think they have really run out of ideas how to galvanise the nation. We need better leadership than the present civil servants we voted in.

Anonymous said...

"DBS network hit by 7-hour breakdown",
Straits Times, 6 July, Front Page headlines.

Like the response to our Orchard Road floods;

We cannot DBS to invest in a huge, expensive computer system that can prevent an event that happens only once every 50 years.

ttg said...

If all she can do is to be resigned to the constraints (aka shareholder's returns) that she is determined to comply to, and instead compromise on the well-being of the "customers", then I'll say SMRT should replace the CEO with someone cheaper. It will further maximize shareholder returns without making it *worse* for the customers.

Whatever happened to "customer comes first" ?

Anonymous said...

it is preferred to have your future kids born in another country and then return to singapore as a FT.

Alex the Peasant Boy said...

Actually, the CEO Saw isnt totally wrong. I would reckoned that her main concern is to make money for the shareholders & as long as nobody dies, it's perfectly fine. She is doing a good job, generating profits & neednt answer to any of us.

I dont think voting the PAP out will do the trick here cos even if the Opposition gets more that 50% of the seats, there's nothing much they could do as most of our public services have been sold to private owners already. Just look at the transport, power & water supply & even POSB!! The PAP has washed its hands on all these as they know they couldnt rule us forever & they might as well cash in.

What I think the best option is to have both the PAP & Opposition run Singapore. The PAP wont dare to take us as idiots cos there will be checks & the Opposition will want to work hard to gain our trust. Of course, there are some PAP ministers that I would like to be removed. Idiots like Lim SS, Mah BT, Wong KS & the biggest clown of them all, Lee SL. Yes, since Lee took over as PM, things have gone from bad to worse. From the escape of MAS to the increase in GST to the heavy losses by PAP Town Councils; it just show that he's a lame duck PM. I have never heard so many bad news till he took over as captain of the boat & if he doesnt go, I am afraid we are all heading towards an ice berg in a few years' time!

No matter how much The Straits Times spins it, Lee is here cos of his dad. From the escape of MAS to the PAP Town Council losses, all these happened during his watch. How many leaders you know that made so many silly mistakes & yet still could hang on to power? He has so many heavy weights helping him out at the PM Office & yet, he screws up as if he's an intern!! How many more kicks can a tiny island like Singapore takes? We have no natural resources to fall back & looking at his wife's performance, the country will run out of money in no time!! No wonder all the PAP cares is money & not how well the citizens are living!

Anonymous said...

Sinkapore will sink even without floods, just watch the fate to come.

Anonymous said...

If u think current situation is bad, you have not seen nothing yet.

U Singkee complain so much about not enough HDB flats. Well many flats will be built and some of them will be in places such as Jurong West.

Most people staying in these new flats will be young couples with no car. So guess how they go to work? By MRT of course.

Population increase to 6 mil, ... it may well be standing room only in MRT for the future.

B.C. said...

Lim Swee Say: if you’re ‘betterer’ today, strive to be ‘betterest’
....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmg2S3Jf62Q&#t=1m9s

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Murphy said...

The only way to improve is to vote out PAP. They have been in power so long that they are blatantly complacent and indifferent to public feedback. We need to vote out some of them in order to shake them up, and to get them to accomplish what we paid them millions to do in the first place. Shameless bastards have the nerve to collect millions of dollars each year while not doing their jobs.