Apr
22

PM Lee has lambasted Singaporeans as disgraceful over opposition to Pinoy people here holding an Independence Day celebration in the heart of a famous shopping belt in Singapore. The government mouthpiece, The Straits Times ranked 150 in the world, have been trumpeting the comments of so called experts decrying the xenophobia.

PM Lee is seriously out of touch. The protest comes from a wide spectrum of society not from the fringe. It has to be seen against the background of the influx of foreign workers who have swarmed the country like locusts, displacing local workers from jobs and depressing wages. Besides, our traditional social tapestry is now in tatters, undermined by foreign values and cultures.

Celebrating the event in a public place shows utter disrespect for the feelings of Singaporeans who are increasingly angry over what many see as a foreign invasion of the country. This has resulted in the establishments  of foreign enclaves and their refusal at integration with the natives.

As many Singaporeans have taken pains to stress,  if the event is held privately indoors or within the confines of the Philippines Embassy nobody will kick up a ruckus.

That PM Lee, elected by Singaporeans, was quick to chide them is disgraceful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
21

The majority of netizens and people I’ve spoken to are unhappy over the Pilipino Independence Day Council Singapore (PIDCS)’s plan to celebrate their Independence Day openly in Orchard Road.

It’s insensitive to hold the celebrations in the open in such a public place outside a popular shopping mall in the heart of the city.

There are many other foreign communities in SG who may be envious of the govt’s partiality towards Pinoy. This is not helpful towards fostering integration with all communities concerned.

Clearly PM Lee has not learned a lesson from the Little India Riot COI. I’m sure SPF is worried about public order issues.

The issue is not about xenophobia which PM Lee has roundly accused netizens of inciting but about the insensitivity surrounding the controversy.

The way the Philippines flag is portrayed in the poster is particularly offensive. Also, the flag is a subtle reminder for Pinoy to pledge their allegiance to the Philippines.

It would be disquieting if new Pinoy SG citizens were to do that.

A precedent has been set. It’d be hardly surprising if other migrant communities also demand the space to celebrate their own National/Independence Day.

The government is fuelling sectarian divisions.

It’s opening a Pandora’s box.

Apr
15

One of the most unpopular and vilified government agencies in Singapore is the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The motoring public has accused it of greed, high-handedness and arrogance. But LTA has thus far chosen to remain silent.

Its ERP tentacles have reached even the doorsteps of motorists. Its legion of Enforcement swoops into every nook and corner to search for illegal parking. They are more omnipresent than the police force.

When MPs pleaded for Saturday ERP to be removed, LTA remained unmoved.

All this the motoring public is well acquainted with.

However there’s another revenue-generating instrument of LTA that’s not on many people’s radar.

This is the surcharge motorists have to pay if they wish to renew their COE for another 10 years. This surcharge is levied on the road tax, increasing by 10 % every year to a maximum of 50%. Which means a motorist has to fork out 150% of his road tax from the 15th to 20th year of the lifespan of his car.

Now, after one has renewed the COE why does he have to be punished with a surcharge?

People assume that LTA is rational and well-meaning. But is that true?

I can still recall LTA’s response when asked why the need for an exit toll for Singapore vehicles at the Woodlands Checkpoint it replied that it was because the Malaysian side imposed a toll.

Now, I entirely accept the Malaysian entry toll as we are using their road space and adding to their congestion. But why pay a toll when we are LEAVING the country?

LTA has resisted calls to scrap Saturday ERP. Traffic congestion in the city on Saturdays is practically absent and attaining speed of 90 kph is a piece of cake.

ERP is a congestion charge so it’s illogical to impose a fee when there’s no congestion.

The only conclusion most motorists I’ve spoken to is that LTA is obsessed with generating revenue.

LTA should be more socially responsible and not allow greed to be its core value.

20140415-100129.jpg
LTA ENFORCEMENT: snoops everywhere looking to issue summons
Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
03

Workers’ Party has lambasted the government in Parliament for outsourcing Homeland Security.

At the border checkpoints and airports you see Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs), many recruited off the streets of Malaysian cities. This is hardly surprising actually as the government believes in recruiting cheap labour.

But this practice is highly irresponsible. In fact, it’s dangerous for our homeland security. It’s all far too easy for a rogue APO to plot with criminals and terrorists to do us harm.

Homeland security should be handled only by born and bred Singaporeans. Period. Singaporeans whose allegiance to the country is beyond a shadow of a doubt. Foreign APOs don’t pledge allegiance to Singapore. At any moment, they can shed their uniform and vanish in Malaysia.

I’m not suggesting that all foreign APOs are crooks but that their loyalty may be in doubt. Besides, have their backgrounds been thoroughly investigated?

I have my doubts. Just look at the many cases of fake certs produced by foreign workers and their mendacious claims to this and that work experience. Even MOM couldn’t cope.

Again, recall the ease with which the Kovan double-murderer police officer who calmly rode his bike to the Woodlands Checkpoint and escaped to JB?

There are no ifs and buts. Foreigners should not be put in charge of homeland security in any guise.

Do we have to wait for another tragic incident and another COI before the government acts? It’s getting to be a bad habit to say the least.

20140403-132852.jpg
Dangerous: homeland security reduced merely to alerts like this.

Mar
27

Now the Police Commissioner has admitted something we knew all along: manpower shortage in SPF.

This raises a few questions. Assuming he raised the matter with the Interior Minister, TCH, was he persistent enough or did he merely agree to whatever excuse the minister gave to turn him down.

Given the culture of groupthink and compliance in the government, most would say the CP simply slunk away in disappointment.

CP Ng disclosed that there is a hint of lawlessness in Geylang. Actually, not only in Geylang but in the whole country!

Singapore has become increasingly lawless. Taxi drivers are routinely attacked. Teens riot in shopping malls on a murderous spree. HDB residents are also routinely robbed. A fight even took place outside the State Courts recently.

And I’m not even going to describe the slaughter and reckless and inconsiderate driving on the roads due to an absent Traffic Police.

People have long noticed the absence of active policing in public places, something which I’ve mentioned many times. Crime occurs because of a perceived opportunity. And criminal elements have taken note of that.

The government is irresponsible in being ever ready to spend billions on fanciful defence toys than on a strong SPF to ensure law and order in the country.

It grates on my nerves every time ministers say they take a calibrated approach to this and that when in fact they are totally clueless.

Our MRT trains and buses are very vulnerable. Security of both is lax, posing a great danger to commuters. The authorities have to make security on trains and buses a priority ASAP.

Or do they need another incident and yet another COI to get things done?

20140327-113403.jpg
SPF’s crime fighting strategy: by notice boards appealing for witnesses and not via active policing.

Mar
20

In the wake of two security breaches at the Woodlands Checkpoint, prompting the by now familiar outburst from TCH, ICA has turned the checkpoint into a fortress of sorts.

A friend who regularly crosses over to JB for golf fumed, “Just one hundred metres takes me more than one hour to clear the checkpoint.”

Some of the security measures put in place by ICA seem like an overreaction.

For example, the immigration officer would leave his booth to call out the names of everyone in a vehicle. Unless your photo in your passport looks drastically different from your facial features, the officer would be none the wiser. So what’s the point? Just a waste of time and holding up the long queue of cars. At best, the officer is seen going through the motion.

At the Customs inspection area, an ICA officer would place a plastic cone in front of your car. After the inspection, he would walk to the front of the car, remove the cone and repeat the whole procedure with the next car. Any suggestion that the plastic cone is a formidable barrier is laughable. In the latest security breach, a driver had no problem gate crashing his way out of the checkpoint so what’s the point of the plastic cone?

It used to be that an officer checked a few cars at a time and this helped to expedite traffic flow out of the checkpoint.

No doubt ICA would say it’s all in the name of security. I can accept that. But these questionable practices cause unnecessary delay and inconvenience to motorists. ICA should seriously review them.

While security is important, ICA should study how it can expedite traffic flow. Having more Customs officers, opening more exit lanes and officers to help direct traffic can be helpful.

The heavy congestion at the checkpoint is making many motorists angry. ICA seems to have no answer to the perennial problem.

Dec
20

The guy masquerading as a samurai warrior wielding a sword on the MRT trains highlights the security lapses in our transport system.

MRT stations may be awash with surveillance cameras but is anyone monitoring them? This incident suggests MRT staff were not alert enough and that they had put passengers in great danger.

I’ve seen the occasional police patrols, but they don’t inspire confidence frankly. Heavily armed but they patrol in a big group as if seeking safety in numbers.

The security personnel at entrances to MRT stations are often seen as being more preoccupied with their handphones than security issues. Besides, they are often missing at their posts.

In China, everything has to pass through an x-ray machine. In Japan, police officers station themselves at entrances to subway stations. In Bangkok, bags are searched.

In Singapore, everyone can enter MRT stations with all sorts of luggage and backpacks. This is a dangerous practice which needs to be stopped immediately.

Should there be a terrorist incident, will the government come out to say it was just an isolated incident and let’s have a COI to find out the causes?

Dec
17

NParks’ Park Connector Network (PCN) concept is something I’ve yet to see in another country. For cyclists, it’s simply fantastic as they can go far without having to compete with motorists. Distances of up to 60 km is easily attained on the PCN.

However, NParks can improve the PCN further.

Here are some suggestions and issues:

1. Directional signs can be missing due to road works and construction activities. Temporary signs should be put up.

2. Directional signs should be at eye level and lit up at night. Distances from one area to another could be indicated.

3. Along Mandai Road, overhanging branches outside the golf club have rendered part of the PCN there unusable.

4. The Kallang River PCN is hampered by staircases. A simple solution is to build a ramp.

The idea is to make the PCN an enjoyable experience.

In the coming years, the PCN will reach a distance of up to 700 km. This is like driving from Singapore to Taiping in Malaysia. Hardcore cyclists can’t wait for that day.

20131217-092606.jpg
Hindrance: there are two such hindrances along the Kallang River PCN. A ramp would be helpful.

Dec
11

Such is the towering stature of Nelson Mandela that more than 100 world leaders past and current attended his Memorial. Among them were autocrats, dictators and others whose sole preoccupation in office is to enrich themselves, their families and cronies.

The US President drew the loudest cheer when he rose to deliver his eulogy.

Mandela he said fought for freedom, human rights and democracy. His remark that some leaders endorsed Mandela’s struggle but did not practise what they preach must have made some of them squirm in their seats.

Which reminds me of the ruling PAP regime farce and hypocrisy. In our National Pledge we promise to build a democratic society but the regime asserts that the National Pledge is merely an aspiration.

It’s reasonable to claim the Singapore government is the most authoritarian country in ASEAN, and brooks no dissent. It’s is even trying to curb what we read on the Internet.

Among the dignitaries at the Memorial was our Finance Minister. If asked in Cabinet meeting to give his views and feedback will he urge the regime to practise what they preach about building a democracy?

I doubt it. He has to keep an eye on the ball i.e. his million dollars salary.

Perhaps, just as in the schools, Cabinet meetings should begin with the recitation of the National Pledge. Not that it’ll help given the repressive values of the ruling PAP.

But no harm serving as a reminder.

Dec
10

I’ve touched on the subject of the disappearance of SPF from public places in several posts. Many others have also expressed disappointment over this.

Once again, the spotlight falls on SPF prompted by the rioting in Little India just as it did over the police officer who murdered two persons in Kovan.

With thousands of foreign workers descending on Little India particularly at weekends, the potential for an incident like an argument, quarrel, fight or accident to spiral out of control is great. As a professional organisation, it’s deeply disappointing that SPF failed to realise this.

As a frequent visitor to Little India, I’ve noticed the lack of a police presence there. The occasional police presence is represented by the Auxiliary Police, either Cisco or Aetos.

Greater police patrols could have responded faster to the road accident that sparked the rioting, helped calm down emotions and thus prevented it from getting out of control.

Crowds numbering in their thousands, overcrowding, drinking and strength in numbers in cliques are a recipe for an explosive situation in Little India. The same could be said of Geylang, the red light district.

Regular police patrols instill in people the perception that police is just around the corner, and this helps to deter and prevent crime or the ability to respond much faster to a crime situation.

While SPF prefers to fight crime from behind their desks and remains invisible in public places, another uniform, that of LTA Enforcement, is highly visible and omnipresent as its “officers” zip around on their bikes to every nooks and corners, even late at night, in their relentless hunt for illegal parking. Many have noted the irony.

One only wishes if SPF could be equally visible and omnipresent.

Perhaps it has secret weapons we are not aware of like super secret surveillance cameras, plainclothes officers on the ground, satellite surveillance and so on. This could account for its unflappable attitude while the rest of us get overly excited.

I had asked before what would rouse SPF to be true to its mission to fight crime seriously. Maybe the Commission of Inquiry into the rioting could be the catalyst to effect a change of heart in SPF.

But don’t place too much hope on that.

Whatever the outcome of the COI, it’s reasonable to assert that a police force can’t fight crime from behind a desk say what you like.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers