Feb 18, 2011

Our Brand New MRT Stations

Two posts ago, I had mentioned the problem of leaky ceilings at our MRT stations. I said that quite apart from giving rise to the hazard of slippery floors, the constant exposure to rainwater had discoloured the floor tiles.

Yesterday I took a few more photos, just to show you what I mean. Here they are - two images of the floor tiles, in their dry state:

Pretty sad that this is happening at an almost brand-new MRT station (which opened only last year, on the Circle Line).

As I had mentioned earlier, my point is not only to complain about the shoddy state of our MRT infrastructure, the lack of quality control and so on. If only life was really so simple.

I said that I saw these signs as a metaphor for the slow and steady deterioration of Singapore as a whole. For we are degenerating and deteriorating in a wide variety of ways.

Go think carefully, about issues like public housing; the income gap between rich and poor; the failure of median incomes to keep pace with the rise of the cost of living; our national soccer team; the affordability of healthcare; our safety nets for the aged and the sick; the stress levels in our education system; the safety standards of the SAF and the welfare provided for servicement who get severely injured or killed in military accidents; the transparency of our government about the people's money held by Temasek and GIC .....

And just ask yourself. Did Singapore, as a nation, see any improvement on these issues, over the past five or ten years?

Or did we just slowly and steadily get worse and worse? Just like the floor tiles and ceilings at our MRT stations.


Anonymous said...

It’s very true lah, things slowly getting worse and worse. But only for some groups of people. For other groups, compared to the past, things are many times better and faster, eg ministers’ and top executive salaries and the wealth of the elites.

But most important is we are still peaceful and PAP continue to win the elections. This I think will last for a long time and even surpass the lifetime for most of us.

In this sense we are very different from other countries. Singapore will be the last place on earth to have a revolution, like the one in Egypt.

So not to worry, as long as one has talent and use it right, one will lead a good life here. That the hordes of foreign talent flocking here is testimony to this.

DareToAct said...

That's what u get when you have in-breeding. When u keep getting the same kind of people in the government and civil service. They are yes men and women. They either think alike or don't think. When things go well, they take credits. When things don't go well, they blame globalization, low fertility rate, Singaporean not hungry, the weather, etc.

Anonymous said...

let us contrast with the Japs. LKY claims the Japs are in decline, is that so? Maybe he means Japan's present GDP growth is nothing to shout about.

However the Japs are well known for their culture of perfection in doing everything little thing right and proper, almost obsessive. From their salesperson and cleaners right to the top. And they always stick to their own people, they train their own and make sure their own people comes first. This is how you nurture loyalty and over time a competitive advantage and committed spirit and in the bigger picture, nationhood.

Singapore's problem has always been the old man. Because of his past and the dishonorable way he rose to power, he has never trusted his own people. The purging of the old guards began in the 80s paving the way for his son to ascend. And today there are no 'good men' left only sycophants.

The only way things can change for the better is to reform the system. This GE vote with courage and vote wisely.

Amused said...

A few comments -

Anon@9:28am - No one foresaw the regime change in Tunisia and Egypt. I don’t think anyone can completely discount the fact that PAP may lose the upcoming election. Slim chance? Perhaps. Impossible? Ask Mubarak.

Mr Wang - I am glad that you are discussing these real issues publicly. We need more public debates and discussions on the directions and priorities of the country.

DareToAct - It's very true that a manager hires mostly yes men, and men of his ability (or lesser.) That's why big corporations eventually stumble. The organization is too afraid or incapable to challenge the status quo. And Singapore is a HUGE corporation!

Anonymous said...

I visited Singapore in December 2010. Being away for the last 5 years, my first impression of the now Singapore was a huge disappointment.

It is very similar to visiting Hong Kong and Thailand. Dirty and crowded but less vibrant, unfortunately. Everyone seems so tired and bored.

Yep, many were seen holding their latest gadgets, ipads and iphones but like these gadgets they owned, Singaporeans are like programmed robots. How sad.

Do Singaporeans reflect at all? Do they even sit down for a second and wonder where they are going?!

I guess not, they all follow a programmed path. The LKY path to success.

Things will get worse, for sure. But, I don't see any collective will to change.

Anonymous said...

It was the old man himself who once said that he often made an assessment of a country that he was visiting from the state of the hotel or the general environs that he was staying in. Well, there you go: the state of Singapore's MRT, by the MM's own yardstick, is clearly an indicator that the country is unwell.

AL said...

I haven't noticed any leaking MRT station. I just hope we don't end up like the city of Detroit. Once a car manufacturing powerhouse, now literally derelict. Check out www.infrastructurist.com

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed we are slowly and surely getting worse and worse and I agree we can't depend on this govt to take care of things. I couldn't wait for MOE to increase the number of Special Needs Officers (a miserable one officer per school) so I homeschooled my kids; I couldn't stand the public transport system any more so I got a driver's license and a car. I've given up hope of the govt making themselves useful; now I just want them to leave me alone bec they do more harm than good.

Not only is the govt suffering from a malaise, this has spread to the people who after years of propaganda are unable to recognize bad governance even when it farts in their faces. So the situation is really hopeless. Because I believe in helping myself, I plan for my children to study and move overseas permanently as I see no future for Singapore and my sense of belonging to this country is fast eroding.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Wang, I have had migrated to
Canada for more than 15 years. My
family and I have never looked back.
Although my kids were born Singapore,
they had revisited Singapore only once. They had vowed never to return again.
They had never seen so many people
so stressed and unhappy in one place.
I like to end with the following adage:
`Absolute power will corrupt any
system eventually`

Anonymous said...

'slowly' certainly isn'nt the right word if damages are found in relatively new stations. Deteriorating 'fast' would have been more appropriate.


yes, everything in Sin is FAST sliding down the slippery slope.

Dare the intellectual step up to be counted???

Anonymous said...

Re: "the safety standards of the SAF and the welfare provided for servicemen who get severely injured or killed in military accidents"

Another classic case of "Its all your fault" if you read the ST

Most of the guys here would know the "safety standard" of the SAF. How often have we heard that "safety procedures are fundamentally sound" without thinking through what it means? Safety procedures that are so onerous that it pushes people to take short cuts could still be "fundamentally sound" in their terms. Rather than pointing the finger and say that soldiers are not following, why isnt there any review on why is it not followed? Too much work lar.

MRT station leaking? Later they would say you kao peh about public transport costs and taxes lar. Same like costs of living, its your fault that you want to buy luxury goods mah. Buy NTUC housebrand lar.. then your cost of living would have the additional x% off this year because the Govt cares for you!

sgcynic said...

The shoddy managment of the YOG is a microsm of the state of Singapore (pun intended).

Anonymous said...

"The shoddy managment of the YOG is a microsm of the state of Singapore (pun intended)."
Anon February 18, 2011 2:27 PM

But they won the election what. They also have walkover what.

You can or not?

Anonymous said...

Buy NTUC housebrand lar.. then your cost of living would have the additional x% off this year because the Govt cares for you!

Actually, if you buy from the provision shop uncle, you will be surprised how much money you can save.

That once long time ago best price place is now a profit center squeezing out local merchants and giving you higher prices now. Sad.

Anonymous said...

wont you naturally expect to hear the wolf saying it is the gentlest and kindest and welcome to my home(liar)!

Anonymous said...

By now, we are quite used to PAP Ministers using funny numbers to prove their assertions. It now seems however that even the Deparment of Statistics is going into the funny numbers business. The following is from Goh Meng Seng on how DOS used misleading data to hide income inequality.


Anonymous said...

Beneath the shinning nice surface is a rotten core. This must happen when they lowered standards just to make themselves look good. Starting off with the $650 million lost in 6 months after buying over Micropolis, they have been lowering standards. The Micropolis lost was then the largest ever and yet they defended Ho Ching's decision as part and parcel of investment risk taking. So they relax on those who made mistake justifying it on their weird adaptation of decision paralysis on fear of failure. Many major mistakes were left off with only a warning "Learn from your mistake." It does not take long for the rote to set in.
Too long with one party in power don't give the system the necessary cleaning resulting from a change in government. So a change in government every now and then is a good thing.

auntielucia said...

Haha, Mr Wang, where is your own standard? Don't do any copy editing of your own post? Hur, hur, hur! "the welfare provided for servicement who get severely injured or killed in military accidents;"

Never heard of "servicement".

But u are right abt shoddy construction work. When I had lunch at Jin Shan Restaurant at Marina Bay Sands last July, barely a few months after the casino opened, there was actually a large pail between our table and the next catching leaks from heaven knows where!

Anonymous said...

"When I had lunch at Jin Shan Restaurant at Marina Bay Sands last July, barely a few months after the casino opened, there was actually a large pail between our table and the next catching leaks from heaven knows where!"
- Anon February 18, 2011 10:27 PM


Marina Bay Sands did very well last year and even set to expand some more. The restaurant is just one of the hundreds of outlets and facilities there.

See the big picture, which is also what really matters, whether it is casinos or the government.

Anonymous said...

The problem can be summarised as such: "Cheapest Quote Possible".

Anonymous said...

Ah Wang, you must understand lah, when we import so many FTs from 3rd world, we import their 3rd world high standards also mah. To them it is already very high standard liao. We may see it as no standard, but to them it is already very high liao.

Anonymous said...

"When I had lunch at Jln Shan Restaurant at Marina Bay Sands last July.......there was actually a large pail between our table and the next...."

Hmmm, some Chinese may think it is for spittle. Moving back to third world.

Anonymous said...

when i show my wife your blog on the current state of singapore and the mrt station. she asked if you live in punggol?
btw we take the north-east line from punggol and stop at dhoby ghaut station everyday. both stations experience water leakage.

Lets get real said...

One, I think it boils down to the culture of the people. If the people doing the jobs aren't proud of what they are doing, then the job is not likely to be good.
Two, the people who are tasked with inspecting and approving the jobs to be done by others. If these guys also can't be bothered much, it adds to the problem. Look at the residential projects completed recently. They are the result of the construction boom that took off about four to six years ago. When they have so many projects to do and they are rushed to finish them, something has to give. What else, but quality. The guys are working day and night to rush jobs.

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to be worried about the MRT infrastructure if the argument is true that we cannot expect good workmanship because they were constructed during the boom of the last 4 to 6 years.

In other words, how much safety features have been compromised using that assumption?

Anonymous said...

Not just the mrt. basic infrastructure has gone bad over the years but i do not see the government putting in efforts to renew these vital infrastructure.

In the early days, Singapore is known for its excellent roads, electrical & water supplies and telecommunications. Take Pasir Panjang Road for example. The new Business City is completed and the new Circle Line MRT is coming up next and all these are graced by the poor road conditions surrounding it.

I cannot drive through Pasir Panjang Road without getting an involuntary massage in my car.

Minister's pay have increased. Living standards have increased. Housing prices have increase and even traffic penalties have increase but our roads are worse than those in Malaysia and Indonesia.

It seems like today's Leaders only care what happens in the CBD and high life of the rich Singaporeans. What happened to the lives of common folk. Even we pool all our budget hongbao cannot pay for the roads. I remember Singaporeans coping better without Hongbaos from the Government.

LPPL said...

before you can utter the word "hongbao", the greedy businesses out there will have increased their prices to wipe out any hongbao benefits you are going to have.

Anonymous said...


And after the election the Government is going to take back the 'hongbao' money via GST increases, transport fares etc. The 'hongbao' has served it's purpose of delivering a good mandate. to indicate that it still should work for the next election and the next.

Losers will remain losers. They have to wake up.

Anonymous said...

Blame all those contractors. They think do govt. very easy and sure earn one lor!! Until something like Nioll Highway happens.