May 30, 2011

Lui on the Train - Much Ado About Nothing

Today the Straits Times has an article about Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew being spotted on an MRT train. The article goes like this:
NEW Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew was once again spotted taking the public transportation. This time, he was seen riding a MRT train during morning rush hour on Monday.
A commuter identified only as Nat snapped photos of the minister after seeing him in the crowded train, and posted them on citizen journalism website STOMP.

Nat said: 'I snapped pictures of him on the train this morning at 7.45am, on the North South line heading towards Jurong East at Bukit Gombak. Welcome to the crowd!'

Mr Lui was last week seen riding a public bus last Tuesday, and photos of the sighting were also posted on STOMP."

Well, it's not a bad thing if he takes the public transport to see what it is like. But to me, it's an overkill  to pitch this as a good thing. If some Singaporeans think that this is a good thing, then I have to say that their expectations of our government are too low.
Personally, I would expect the Education Minister to visit schools from time to time, to see what's going on. I would expect the Defence Minister to visit army camps and bases for the same reason. I would expect the Heath Minister to visit our polyclinics and hospitals, and yes, I would expect the Transport Minister to ride on the trains and buses. 
Expecting any less from our ministers is to have unduly low expectations for them. We're not paying them peanuts - we shouldn't be getting monkeys.


Anonymous said...

Easier for the transport minister to do this than say the edu minister or defence minister without all the wayang.

The transport minister can just hop on any bus or train with his SO at a far distance without creating much commotion or attention. But to replicate it in schools or camps would be harder. The education minister could not just pop into any school or class without the teacher not knowing that the person looking in is the minister. Neither can the defence minister walk into any camp without the RP informing the camp CO that the minister is entering the camp lar. Then the wayang would start.

So those ministers with more "public" portfolios (transport /health for eg) ought to be shot if they dont know the ground well. While those ministers with portfolios that are relatively "less public" ought to think about ways to survey the ground more accurately such that the mere presence of the ministers (or his proxy)would not alter assessment.

Anonymous said...

Yes,it is a wanyang.

I wonder how come they can become Minister whilst Mr Wang cannot leh.

Did you went for the tea party.

Die Hard PAP Supporter said...

my heart overflow with gratitude that Minister Lui is taking public transport.

It shows that the PAP is getting better with PR and spin, which can only bode well for their prospects at GE 2016.

It also shows that it is not enough to implement unpopular policy, one must also sugarcoat the unpopular policies.

Anonymous said...

After Chen Show Moa is caught taking MRT trains by those uncouth and shameless anti-PAP netizens, Minister Lui shows that taking public transport is no longer a privilege enjoyed by the opposition.

Anonymous said...

These monkeys are just going through motion to show that they bother to be like "lesser mortals" and that's all. Nothing will change from them. See how the ShittyTimes keep reporting how these ministers will behave like lesser mortals ? Seriously who really care about these monkeys doing wayang ?

Why don't those monkeys use twitter to update themselves to show-off ?

"I boarding mrt train today"
"i taking bus today"
"i enjoy the smell of bangladesh's armpit in MRT and want to smell everyday in MRT"
"I love to crowd in MRT and bus so I know Singapore is loved."
"MRT toilet very clean always though I prefer to use my million-dollars toilet."

Anonymous said...

Please pass me the handkerchief, I'm so touched by the wayang!

Anonymous said...

Both LTY and the SMRT boss shd be taking public transport more regularly to open their eyes to the "1st world" public transport system. Whether Lui is wayang or not is immaterial, at least he is seen doing so, can't fault him for that. Next, we might see the Home Affairs minister checking out Geylang for vice activities, abuse of students visas, social visit pass etc.

PAP Sympathiser said...

Look guys,

chen show mao only took the MRT, yet you guys praised him as though he's the second coming of christ.

Now, Minister Lui took the BUS and MRT during PEAK HOURS, shouldn't this makes him better, if not equal to chen show mao?

so give the guy a break, yeah? if you dun like him, dun vote for him lah, but why all the brickbats?

Anonymous said...

I can understand why you may want to vote out Lim Wee Kiat or Irene Ng at the next GE, but why all the brickbats at Minister Lui?

He's only taking pulic transport what, opposition also got take public transport what.

Anonymous said...

Agree, all i can with all these ministers' scrabmbling actions is that THEY ARE FINALLY DOING SOME WORK!

Anonymous said...

Ok we can look at this in 2 ways.

One is that, correctly, he is doing what he should be doing and hence, no big deal.

Two is, all the Ministers thus far have not done this necessary thing, hence when Minister Lui does this, it is a BIG deal!

Anonymous said...

Here comes the Emperor!

Just last year, I was strolling in a park near my place as usual. Then a well-dressed lady giving instructions to a couple of Blangahs caught my attention. It's a Sunday and what's she doing? She was inspecting every bench and every spot on the ground and giving instructions from time to time. I also noticed that the park was immaculately clean.

A short while later, I saw an entourage of people and among the group was our dear minister Mr Tharman!

Ah I see, the emperor is here! No wonder the park had a couple of amenities added just a few months before when it had been practically untouched for as long as I could remember.

So when the emperor comes visiting, it's "good". But the unfortunate thing is the emperor rarely comes and if he does make an appearnace, usually it's for some special reason - some upgrading projects that require the residents to vote, so he must be seen first and not appear a total stranger.


Can you imagine a newspaper headline that reads "Man does his job"? This is NOT NEWS. But if the headline reads: "Man does his job after his colleagues goofed for 50 years"... now THIS IS NEWS!

Anonymous said...

The newspaper he was "strategically" reading/holding in both instances clearly indicate both were just elaborated PR exercises for the minister.

ah mun said...

I said it before. When Ah Loong came to my place to open a community hall, the vicinity got all spruced up. Painting, grass cutting, washing, the whole works. I thanked him very much. Please come often if not the place is not so clean.

Oh, lest I forget, before him was Lau Goh during the Cheng San hot seat contest.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of what happened when the WHO visited hospitals in China during the Sars outbreak.

As reported in the press, sick people were moved out of the hospitals to other hospitals or into ambulances and driven around during the visitation period, so as to give the impression that the situation wasn't as bad as people thought.

The same thing happens when a minister visits a school. Things are made to look extremely good and the tour itinerary is planned so that only the best parts of the school are exposed.

Kinda defeats the purpose, right? Because our dear minister sees only the best and goes back as impressed as ever.

Anonymous said...

Education Ministers and Perm Secs do visit schools from time. However, they never drop in unannounced. They also do not talk to teachers, unless in the presence of school management.

As, the education ministers and big shots from MOE HQ see and hear only what the school management wants them to see and hear.

MOE HQ doesn't want them to learn first-hand that many teachers are frustrated with the long hours of teaching and the politicking behind the ranking system.

So, our education ministers have the happy impression that overall, teachers generally have high morale in their line of work.

Anonymous said...

If only all the Parliamentarians go to the ground to understand the people, I say keep it up, kudos to them.
But they must do it sincerely, there is absolutely no reason to believe that, just because they live in ivory towers, they did not get to see and hear what's happening around this tiny dot. And with the Internet, they can even know everything in their beds.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope he will continue to board the morning rush hour train or bus. That is his job - to have a real feel of the ground; instead of relying on feedback from his subordinates.
Can the Health Minister visit the polyclinics as well. It is always crowded and run out of queue numbers in the early morning.

Anonymous said...

Mr Liu must have read transcripts or seen videos of the Reform Party rally at Yio Chu Kang Stadium during the 2011 GE. Mr Kenneth Jeyaratnam announced that he travels by means of public transport all the time.

By the way having taken public transport for the whole of my life (62 years no less) may I recommend that Mr Liu not only hops on to the MRT at one station and exits at another where his retinue waits eagerly to whisk him away in the aircondiconditioned, chaffeur driven ministerial car but take an ACTUAL ride which means "

1. Wait for and then take a feeder bus from his mansion to the MRT.

2. Then take the MRT.

3. Wait for and then take another bus to his office.

If he does that for one month rain or shine I am sure the heads of the bus companies and the mrts will roll. Only then can he know what it public transport means in Singapore!

Ser Ming said...

It will be better if the Ministers visit their respective ministries in an ad hoc manner. No point making any visit with everything prepared nicely for them.

Anonymous said...

When LKY visited NUS. Painters were clearing out through the back of the library as he made his entrance there. All the trees along his route in the campus were inspected and those found 'wanting' were literally given the 'chop' after he commented about them! :)

Anonymous said...

MR Lui, please do something to make our MRT and bus journeys more pleasant. Please view the 60+ pages under "Ugly Commuters" in to see for yourself the utterly bad behaviour of some commuters. I am irked every time I encounter such behaviour.

Raymond Lim and Ms Saw, CEO of SMRT, never did respond to my many emails on this subject. Surely as paying passengers, we should be entitled to more pleasant rides than those highlighted in the Stomp pages? I hope Mr Lui will see first hand some of these happenings.

Anonymous said...

Yishun, Sembawang MRT stations very very pack. I think it's the next worst after Jurong East. However, Jurong East is better now with the additional platforms.

They should fix Yishun, Sembawang problem soon at least before the situation worsens.

Imagine the residential crowd taking train boarding and the working crowd going to work in Yishun Industrial, Biz Park, all squeezing at the entrance and exit. Jam packed with people buying from bakery shop, clashing with the queues of the ATM machine, only to be made worse by people taking feeder buses. And finally climaxing at the escalators to Northpoint and bus interchange.

It's melting pot orgy at its worst to the state of crawling.

With Seletar and the new business, light industrial buildings in Yishun, i think it's going to get even worse during peak hours.

My gf called the LTA about it and want me to call in to highlight, but I too busy so I post in the forum here.

Hope Transport Minister can look into this.

Either increase capacity or space at the Yishun, Sembawang MRT stations or open up another MRT station NS12 in between so that the crowd don't all load and unload at the already crowded stations.

For Yishun MRT, build another entrance exit point facing Northpoint, rather than all squeezing at the bakery facing, HDB block facing.

Build more escalators to get the people moving faster between Northpoint, Bus Interchange and MRT station.

Anonymous said...

To those million-dollars monkeys,

we are not interested whether you take public transport , and do things that you ought to do as million-dollars MIW to behave like lesser mortals, we are interested in the time when you are not doing things like lesser mortals, like going for paid holiday to attend $50,000 cook lessons in france using tax-money, travel in Merc, B&W in peak office hours, reaching changi airport from tuaw in 20m compare to hours by lesser mortals, playing golf and attending high-class social func when you are paid $10,000 per day of tax-money ...

please update us of things that you do like god and demi-god, not lesser mortals, in twitter and ShittyTimes .

Anonymous said...

"chen show mao only took the MRT, yet you guys praised him as though he's the second coming of christ.

Now, Minister Lui took the BUS and MRT during PEAK HOURS, shouldn't this makes him better, if not equal to chen show mao?"

Because all these PAP monkeys have been denying that transport is overcrowded , flat is un-affordable all along during the election ! I didn't see that opp party denies that.

Anonymous said...

Who was the Stomper? On both occasions, the someone who spotted Liu sent the photos to Stomp. A bit coincidental...don't you think so?

My impression of Stomp is more of an avenue for people to sabotage, so pictures of rats running in a stall, students behaving intimately on staircases, some auntie shouting profanities, etc, are the norm.

Minister on a bus, MRT?

If I see Liu on the MRT, I would be quite taken aback but I wouldn't be so free as to take shots of him from different angles and send them to Stomp.

Anonymous said...

Ministers not performing to expectations?

But then as long as the opposition is not ready to form the government even by 2016,


even if for the next 5 years, PAP continue to be as "good" as the past 5 years,

I am very sure 60% will still vote PAP again in 2016.

Or they may even win back Aljunied GRC after the voters there repented!

KNS said...

He should get on a bus from east coast side going toward CBD in the morning about 8am. He'll really see the impact from our welcome-FT policy, then face the daily jams at Mounbatten rd, nicoll highway. If he's lucky, he may even a few pressed-for-time commuters eat their breakfast on the way.

Trebuchet said...

This is ridiculous. The man takes public transport a lot, has done so for years. No need to publicise. He doesn't boast about it.

Anonymous said...

Damn if you do, damn if you don't. I wonder what will please the dissenters..

Note that this article was initiated after members of public saw him, and not cos of arranged PR tactic (of course, I am sure that there are some people out there may even argue that the members of public may even be "arranged" by Lui to "see" him?)

Though I am not very keen on Lui after his previous episode at the walkabout (which Mr. Wang posted earlier during the GE period), I do think that at least this outing of his amount is a start for him in his new portfolio. but I am sure there will be naysayers who will say otherwise.

Though, I agree that ad-hoc visits are good; Ministers should also learn to tell their kah kias not to sanitize the visits for them. The sanitization probably arises from fear of reprisal. The fear is very real even in your work place. Come on, if you own boss suddenly drops in at your cubicle to look at your work, wouldn't you also start to think of the worst case scenario? If you are a considerate boss, I am sure you also wouldn't want to do that to your subordinate too often cos it also mean that you don't trust your subordinates to do their jobs.

But surely, walking the ground more often and learning your terrain would not be a bad thing. It probably also depends a lot on how the ministers broach it within their own ministries and the imbued culture of the ministry eg would the MInister be reproachful? Or acknowledging that the people in his ministry has a lot more to put into action without according blame?

Of course, there are other ways to collect information on how well your ministry is doing, it's a matter of how creative or resourceful you are.

Anonymous said...

Management by walking around doesn't mean things will turn around for the better.

If after 6 months or 1 year, trains are as crowded as ever, then it means "just walking around" and nothing else.

And by the way who doesn't know how to "just walk around"?

SG Girl Next Door said...

Taking one bus trip and one mrt ride was no big deal BUT it's a good start.

I doubt just base on one trip each (bus & mrt), he could experience the problems faced by thousands of commuters daily. Hopefully he and his assistants could take more bus and mrt rides at peak hours and at different boarding stations so as to understand what the ground have been complaning and come up with doable solutions to solve those issues.

Jun said...

Maybe they can take off some cues from "Undercover Boss" and walk on the ground without being recognized..

He should try taking the trains. Doubt he have any arm space to even READ.

Perhaps he should also think of UPGRADEing the 80's Train design and extend it longer, for goodness sake.

Its been 6 cars for almost 2 decades?

Anonymous said...

So what if he finds the train jammed up and not well managed? He must not forget that the CEO of SMRT is a good friend of his boss's wife. If I am not mistaken, that Malaysian CEO was recommended by Ho Ching to take up that position. Who can tell the boss that his wife has poor judgement?

Unstraitstimes said...


More alternative views here

Anonymous said...

All of the current problems originate from the mother of all evil foreign talent policy gone wrong.

If they don't fix that one, Lui can continue taking the publlic transport and Khaw can live in a rental flat, and they still won't solve the problem.

All these are just fire fighting wayang to make some happy while delaying the inevitable.

Anonymous said...

"Lui on the Train"


Good ! ... join the sardine club, Pui ... oops .. I mean Lui. So how's the sardine experienced ??? Power right!... How about making it a daily affairs ??? You're most welcome you know .. Pui .. oops .. I mean Lui.

BTW .. just wandering ... how's your body odour after the ride ??? Oh.. how silly me ... obviously it smelled like sardine :)

Stop your wayang drama, Pui Lui ... Now tell us .. after the sardine experienced, so what's your next course of actions ???

P.S. Pui Lui ... How about telling your goons buddy (GKY) Manpower Minister, to apply for a blue collar job ??? Eagerly waiting for your reply.

The said...

/// The transport minister can just hop on any bus or train with his SO at a far distance without creating much commotion or attention. But to replicate it in schools or camps would be harder. The education minister could not just pop into any school or class without the teacher not knowing that the person looking in is the minister. Neither can the defence minister walk into any camp without the RP informing the camp CO that the minister is entering the camp lar. Then the wayang would start. ///

Disagree. Why not? Why can't the Education Minister just pop into any class in any school. Yes, he will be recognized. But there will be no chance to wayang. The teacher may put in the best effort, but that is about all he can do to impress. The current system is that the visits are made known well in advance, so that the principal has the time to scrub the whole school, paint the school, ask the relevant teachers to prepare some super-duper slides. And may I speculate, ask the students to come up with some smart questions, or even have the questions planted by the teachers.

Same with the Defence Minister's visit. A surprise visit will not allow time for any wayang.

Anonymous said...

All this publicity about ministers meeting the ground, listening to the ground, taking mrts, using public toilets (maybe not...) surely raises an important issue.

1. How come previous ministers did not do any of these? Where oh where was Raymond Lim when he was minister? Where was Mah Bow Tan too?

2. If the PAP is doing all these and making a big hue and cry that means public policy has failed over the last two governments in reaching out to the public.

3. So what is the justification for the huge salaries of ministers?

4. Should there not be penalties against these ministers so that so that they have to pay back the pubic money for their incompetence?

5. Or is it just a case of money in my pocket and good luck to you.

6. Therein lies the problem with one party government dominance. When something goes wrong what recourse is there?

7. Now if something does go wrong with our reserves.....

Anonymous said...

The failures of the government reflect on the review of ministerial pay.

There is a lot of talk about pegging the pay to jobs.

This is wrong because doing a hundred jobs does not mean that you are a good worker.

Pay should be pegged to performamce.

So what does the LACK OF PLANNING AND FORESIGHT about housing and transport, to name two areas say about the pay and the performances of ministers?

Surely the Prime Minister himself must answer this!

Anonymous said...

"So what does the LACK OF PLANNING AND FORESIGHT about housing and transport, to name two areas say about the pay and the performances of ministers?

Surely the Prime Minister himself must answer this!"
Anon May 31, 2011 9:36 AM

Whatever lah, but 60% voters still give the "thumbs up" and 93% of seats to them at the last election!

So the Prime Minister's answer is still quite OK with voters what, right or not?

Anonymous said...

The PAP is upping their PR game, especially ministerial PR. But it is just PR and smoke, no action so far.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty obvious that this is
a deliberate leak to netizens.
I find this so farcical, after
increasing the population by a couple of millions, a minister goes checking on the fuss of over-crowding in the MRT after many years later.
These clowns have been implementing
policies that affect our lives
daily and have never bothered to care.Now they pretend to care.
If your salary is in the hundreds
of dollars per minute, I rather
you work on the solutions rather
than to be seen to care.
You are paid in millions, you messed up, you better come quick with the solutions.Stop acting!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

The PAP is worried about the trend.

2001 Elections - they won by 75.3%
2006 Elections - they won by 66.6%
2011 Elections - they won by 60.1%.

If these were your exam results, you would be scared, right?

From A1 to B3 to B4 (just barely).

super duper said...

Education Minister can pay surprise visit, he may find students not knowing who he is, teachers dropping their books and files the second he appeared, principal not in (at MOE meeting), and the VPs kalang kabut.

If the defence minister does a surprise visit to a camp, worse man. RP at the gate ask him to book in, then the MP at the guard room scared until tremble and piss in the pants, and he is not sure whether to book him or just let him proceed without issuing pass. After that, they don't know who to inform cos it is not in the routine order. Then the minister may run into a few lobos walking around doing not much, others playing video games, yet others snoozing under the shade. By the time his presence is known with the top brass, they are scrambling to find their berets, polish their boots, lock up the documents, etc.

But it'll be fun all around. They will wake up. You know, some of the best-run big companies have popular CEOs who walk into the staff canteen and dine with the employees--the rank and file ones, mind you. That's where he gets an accurate pulse of the company.

SG Girl Next Door said...

"If these were your exam results, you would be scared, right?

From A1 to B3 to B4 (just barely)".

Gilbert, if my parents continue to reward me with cash and expensive gifts even my grades drop (or fail), do you think I care?

On the contrary, I'm not raised this way. :)

Anonymous said...

With regards to shops at MRT stations, I believe that was Ms Saw's (SMRT's CEO) initiative to earn more revenue for her company. Like we really do need another bakery/travel agency/dental clinic/maid agency at the station?

I think it was a bad move. People want to get into/out of and away from the station in the shortest possible time and smoothest possible way.

Anonymous said...

Nothing but wayang to try to pacify us.

Please let us not forget what is the REAL cause of all this transport problem. The ROOT CAUSE of a lot of our problems & unhappiness is the PAP's opening of the floodgates to foreigners, like a lot of people here call them "TRASH".

No amount of the PAP or its ministers taking the bus/MRT or SMRT adding a couple more trains here and there will solve the economic and social problems these foreigers bring.

PAP must be pressured to reverse and stop their foreigners policy-no more foreigners must be let into Singapore and those who are already here must get out, except for the very few that really contribute (be transparent we want to know the criteria used for the selection). PAP must not give out singapore PRs and singapore citizenship to all and sundry, especially to the PRCs, pinoys & indians so much so that singapore is now the laughing stock for these people. Wherever we go nowadays (public transpsort, shops, shopping malls, markets, anywhere) out of 10 people we see 7 or 8 are foreigners and the so-called "new citizens". We are now a minority in our own country, we are now feeling like we live in a foreign land. Finding a singaporean in any retail/F&B shop/service company/food court is now like trying to find gold-they have all been overtaken by such foreign people.

Someone here mentioned those with student pass and social visit pass walking in geyland. The problem is a lot more serious-these people have infested our beautiful country with their dirty minds, dirty acts and dirty ways.

Foreigners (and so-called "new citizens") are the REAL culprits behind the high property prices-how on earth can PAP allow new PRs and new citizens to buy public & private properties so easily. PRCs are well known to buy multi-million $ private properties with CASH!!!! Why are they paying CASH!!!! Did PAP investigate? What happens to singapoore's anti-money laundering policy?

Foreigners, such as PRC women (and in their large numbers) are well known creators of social problems in Singapore-don't tell me the PAP doesn't know.

The whole PAP foreigners' policy is nonsensical, totally disregarding the feelings, interest and well beings of Singaporeans. Don't let them tell you otherwise-the latest being the nonsense from Khaw BW (totally no respect anymore for this person). And stop threatening singaporeans again - when PAP find that they cannot find excuses for their actions, they always resort to threatening us.

Since the election PAP has been very quiet on this FOREIGNERS ISSUE, total silence!!! All of us must pressure them until they see sense and reverse their policy.

Jun said...

Anon: May 31, 2011 3:12 PM

Not forgetting that we can't even eat nor drink in the station.. WTH are there eating joints around within the station? Such irony, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

for someone with DFS's experiences in retail, the CEO of SMRT has failed miserably. Look at how vibrant and also the buzz generated by train stations in Japan and HK. You can check out their train frequencies too. Then take a closer look at ours (read:Dhoby Ghaut). Their train stations are brilliant and as my Japanese friend told me, people would spend a lot of time in stations. Its a place to meet up with friends to chill and socialise. They influenced lifestyles.
So look Ms Saw (no pun intended), go find out how our creative our Asian neighbours in advertising their spaces and also in keeping transportation efficient and a breezy experience for all passengers - instead of squeezing us like sadines and earning huge profits to justify your tenure. last but not least, i heard you are a close friend of ho ching. Hopefully, i stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

The spell from the white mushrooms is working its magic.

Anonymous said...

Considering the money they are getting, we've got a tribe of King Kongs, not monkeys.