Tag Archives: singapore

Getting From Here to There: Transport in Singapore

So, I was greeted this morning with MP Lui Tuck Yew asserting that vehicle population growth will be “halved” to 0.5% from next month, despite COE premiums rising to a new high of $92,100 for small cars on Wednesday. And that’s just for the COE. What a great start to my day.

Certainly, from up high in his pedestal looking down on the roads of Singapore, the given solution is an easy and simple one to make – We don’t have space for roads, so we have to cut the number of cars. And the way to do that is to lower the quota allowed. The resulting price hike is inevitable and desired: More people will be priced out of the market for private-owned cars and vehicle population will be curbed. Problem solved, Mr Lui will pat himself on the back and perhaps treat himself to a new car because, well, why not? It’s not like it’s affordable to the lowly peasants anymore.

Increasingly, cars are becoming the preserve of the rich, simply because they are the ones able to outbid everyone else for a COE. PAP would say that this is simple economics and we can’t help it. Suck it up and take the MRT. But maybe, Mr Lui should seriously take into account what he simply termed as “desires and aspirations to own a car” that he claims to understand, and actually know that it is an aggravating feeling as a young Singaporean to watch my aspiration for my own car before I start my family get further and further away from me. And surely, I’m not the only one who desires the autonomy of owning his/her own vehicle.

I say aggravating because it is difficult to watch the rich in Singapore wantonly purchase cars, bid up the COEs, and simply leave them at home because they have too many, while at the same time middle-class families are increasingly forced to give up owning their own vehicles because the cost of renewing their COEs is too exorbitant. I know of a friend from a well-to-do family who just received for his 18th birthday a BMW X3. I also know of another 19 year old friend who drives his dad’s Mercedes around because he has 3 other cars and leaving them around without driving them spoils the engine. Meanwhile, another friend of mine recently has his whole family taking public transport because they had to give up their family car.

We all know about the more-than-dismal Gini co-efficient in Singapore, with the rich earning a whole lot more than the poor. This is best seen in vehicle ownership in Singapore, and sadly, Mr Lui is apparently only able to stoke this inequality, all the while proclaiming he “understands” the plight of middle-to-lower-class Singaporean families. So here are some ideas, dear Mr Lui, and perhaps it’s time for the Government to think out-of-the-box rather than employ regressive economic policies.

1. Limit the number of cars a household can own to 2.

Seriously, unless you have 10 children, which is highly unlikely in infertile Singapore, you wouldn’t need so many cars. This would really help limit the disparity between the rich and poor in Singapore and allow more households to own vehicles. But as Mr Lui puts it “The Government currently has no plans to review the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system for vehicles”, so apparently they don’t see anything wrong with squeezing ordinary Singaporeans out of owning cars. So unless such an idea gets more support or refinement, it’s highly doubtful that our firmly-in-the-box Government brains will even consider this idea.

2. Resolve all public transport issues and future-proof it

It is highly ironic that Mr Lui raised public transport as a viable alternative to private car ownership the same day that the North-East line broke down for 6.5 hours and affected 53,000 commuters, with 3 other breakdowns since March 2012, while the Circle Line has also suffered from breakdowns. This comes on the back of Mr Lui also mentioning a possible fare hike in the future because there is a need “to improve service levels for commuters while keeping operations commercially viable” (despite record profits of over $200 million for both SBS and SMRT every year). So what we have in an unreliable and increasingly expensive public transport system, and if you couple it with this:

crowded mrt 2009-003

Squeeze squeeze squeeze

There is no way public transport even comes close to being a close substitute for private vehicle ownership. So if you want to reduce demand for cars and COEs using public transport as an alternative, Mr Lui, please improve it and future-proof it for any further disruptions.

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In reply to what is probably the dumbest argument I’ve seen yet (excluding YouTube comments)

I’m usually not one to insult people over their opinions, seeing as I’m all for free speech and people voicing their thoughts. But sometimes you just come across something that is so ridiculous you forget about respecting others’ opinions and start writing an article to insult it. And in the process you also write an extremely long title for your article because you have no idea how to shorten a sentence while still fitting “dumbest argument” and “reply” in it.
 

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Medals for Money: When we won 2 medals

The recent London Olympics is only the third Olympics I actually remember. I remember following Li Jiawei’s progress in 2004 as she lost out on a medal, much to my sadness. I remember the record-breaking fest in both the pool and on the track as Phelps and Bolt dominated each respectively. And this Olympics,  I remember it too for a few reasons.

This was the first Olympics that actually inspired me, and made me want to try for the Olympics myself. I know it sounds stupid since I’m already 18 and everyone else has a huge head start blah blah, but still, I remain inspired. And that’s fully due to one Helen Glover who, in a nutshell, trained for only 4 years in an entirely new sport and now sports an Olympic Gold Medal.

 

She’s holding something Singapore spent millions to try and buy.

I mean, sure Bolt and Phelps did their thing (again), Pistorius made history for the disabled, the Men’s team archery final was unbelievably dramatic and so on, but this just beats them all in my opinion. But after all the marveling, I got to thinking, how likely would this be in Singapore? And why do I not even give a shit that Singapore came back with 2 medals this Olympics?

So, I will also remember this Olympics for another reason: When we won 2 medals, it was then that I realised that Singapore’s sporting policy has failed miserably.

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Meritocracy Has Failed in our Education System

Meritocracy is the core principal guiding Singapore’s education system. From Primary school, students are banded in their early years according to learning ability, with the good and slower separated into different classes to cater to their various learning styles and speeds. The system makes perfect sense theoretically: You reap what you sow. If one puts in the effort and time into studies, you will get the good grades you need to advance. However, this system allows too many to fall through the cracks, cracks which appear due to the blunt tool of examinations used to measure this ‘merit’. Singapore’s use of a one-size-fits-all policy has unfortunately created a society of inequality and has, more than anything, failed our students almost completely.
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One reason why I dislike PAP

Everyone dislikes something for some reason, and contrary to popular belief in Singapore, people do dislike PAP for legitimate reasons as well, other than wanting “more opposition voices” alone, although that’s important too. This is actually part of a series, because each point I dislike about the PAP is equivalent to a post. So… Here’s number one. Feel free to disagree and let me know in the comments!

The PAP thinks it’s the Government.

If your first response to this statement is “It’s not meh?” it’s okay, you wouldn’t have been able to tell by the way PAP acts.

PAP is a political party. It occupies a disgusting majority of the seats in parliament so much so that it practically rules Singapore since any opposition to policies are insignificant, but it’s still just a political party. The government of Singapore has Member of Parliaments from different political parties, and is known under a different name called The Singapore Government. But this distinction has become almost insignificant with the way PAP conducts itself.

PAP justifies the dangling of the upgrading carrot (cliché!) and denying opposition constituencies use of public facilities by the rhetoric “Of course it’s like that. They are opponents. Why should PAP help them? It’s a competition.”

Now these are not unfamiliar words you have seen in the papers. Personally, I have volunteered at Punggol East Constituency, meeting Michael Palmer(Speaker of Parliament) and his staff,  and have actually had this line said to me by one of his most senior staff (nice man actually). So, PAP really does believe this is fair. And that’s not all. This statement actually has common people agreeing that this is fair.

“I don’t see anything wrong with that”

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The Sin of Excessive Wealth

This post is not (just) about the ongoing City Harvest Church saga, but was inspired heavily by it. I am agnostic and as such, I view myself as really neither here nor there regarding my religious inclinations.

[But to summarise, I believe in fate, and possibly a supreme being, but I don’t believe in religions, with all the rituals and rules. I also disagree with the idea that a loving God (sometimes referred to as ‘Father’) would eternally damn his ‘children’, so to speak, who choose not to believe in the Church’s idea of what he is. If he (I don’t like capitalising my pronouns, sorry) actually does that, I wouldn’t want him for a father anyway.]

But enough about me, this post is about religion, specifically one of the largest ones : That of Christianity and its subsidiary interpretations. I.E. Catholicism, Protestantism etc. But mainly the large, rich churches [Looking at you, Catholics(The ones at the Vatican)].

As the title goes, this post will be about ‘Excessive Wealth’, which is wealth that is … well, excessive. For those looking for a proper definition, Google tells me it refers to what is “more than is necessary or normal”. So if you connect the two, excess wealth and the Christianity, you get … a scandal!
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Why the blog?

Why not the blog?

I’m currently a JC student at the point of writing and feeling incredibly stifled. Not just by an education system that doesn’t encourage self-thought, but by a government that doesn’t want to hear the bad stuff. So this is me, about to un-stifle myself and write about the stuff I think about. It’s not all political, but it’s all me.

And to prevent myself(hopefully) from getting sued under some defamation/libel law : Everything written on the blog, except, of course, comments from other people, are my own personal thoughts and are in no way intended to influence others nor parade as a ‘truth’. Opinions I make on people, governing bodies, associations and the like are simply that, opinions, which are personal and are in no way intended as an assertion of truth or finality. They are just my opinions. I think I’m allowed to have them.

So if I say ‘Fornicate you Sir’ to Teo Chee Hean and call him an idiot, I shouldn’t have to apologise. Not that I want to do that, but I don’t think the Reuben guy should have had to apologise for his own opinion as well. But Chee Hean probably doesn’t like it when a boy half his age calls him something that rhymes with ‘Duck’ and shares the same meaning as ‘Coitus’. And SAJC doesn’t like it if the public thinks that’s what it teaches it’s students.

And with that done, good night.

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