The SMRT Secret

WARNING: Wall-Of-Text post

I have a yet another dark secret to reveal. 

I'm a owner of 1000 shares in SMRT. That makes me a shareholder of SMRT.

What's 1000 shares though? It's peanuts! Not that kind of peanut of course. I paid $1.6k for it. Nothing noteworthy enough to haolian in a public blog I know but I'll like to share a short tale behind this.

I would never forget a short debate with my best buddy a few years back about this investment decision. His stand was that it was unethical for me to be part of the shareholders of the SMRT, a corporation that strived to serve their stake and shareholders instead of, rightfully, their customers.

My sin

By being a shareholder of the SMRT, I was indirectly guilty of causing the discomfort and miseries of commuters everyday. I couldn't rebut his point because he was right and I agreed with him. But I offered the reason behind my decision. 

My justification

As a customer of the SMRT myself, I was subjected to unreasonable price hikes and I could not do a single thing about it. No one in the government seemed to be interested to stop these crap. The only thing I could do to protect myself against these hikes was to become one of the assholes holding their shares.

SMRT dividend history
If you look at the dividend history of SMRT, I received $85.00 for my trouble in 2010 as dividends. Using these dividends I collected from the SMRT would, I reckon, be somewhat a hedge against these price hikes. This suck, but I had to do it. I'm just a man and I have only 1 vote in every General Election.

As a shareholder of any company, I'll check their annual report every year. Since I bought their shares, SMRT has broken their net profit record year after year after year. From an investor point of view, it's ok to hold the shares, the company is doing well. From a consumer point of view, it is infuriating. 

I'm sure my buddy finds me hypocritical complaining about the year-on-year record profits but my heart is true. I'm with the consumers instead of shareholders. I know it doesn't sound convincing but hey, somebody else worked for the Japs as a translator didn't he? If he gets worshipped like a god I should get some empathy at the very least no?

My action:

When a CEO of a company that you invested in leaves the company, you have to sit up and take note. Something is happening and you have to make a decision to sell up or not. That's the investment basic. We know what happened a couple of days ago, Mr Saw resigned. Thus it is time for me as an investor to make a decision.

I'm not trained in technical analysis yet, I may try picking it up in future. But I have some useful insider info in the form of a farewell letter from Mr Saw as fundamental analysis information. Let's examine this:

Dear Colleagues,

In December 2011, I celebrated my 9th anniversary with the Company, which I have grown to love and am very proud of.  It has been my privilege and joy to serve with you and I am humbled by your dedication and commitment despite the challenging environment in which we operate. It moves me to see how you put your heart into your work; serving our customers to the best of your abilities. 

And it is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you.  I have tendered my resignation and while my executive responsibilities will conclude on 6 January, I will remain with the Company to assist(appointing the cause to investigate the cause. World class government!) the relevant investigation teams and the Committee of Inquiry (COI) in their review of the causes of, and responses to, the disruptions to train operations in December, and with the transition to new executive leadership.

I believe the foundation for continuous success in SMRT has been firmly laid and I take pride in our collective achievements since 2002 up to now.(Self praise and forgot about collective failures) The Company has remained strong operationally and financially with solid performances in Trains and Commercial Divisions. Buses, Taxis and Automotive Services have continued to improve in a difficult operating environment.

The success of a leader is measured by the performance of the organisation he or she leaves behind and I feel the management of SMRT is in good hands.(Shameless self-praise again) We have an outstanding team led by Khoo Hean Siang in Trains and Teo Chew Hoon in Roads, both of whom are delivering continuous growth through exemplary management in what many consider to be unexciting businesses. The only regret I have is that I will not be here to see through the realisation of all of SMRT’s business potential in the coming years.(She didn't regret  dismissing valued staff during her tenure?)

The recent MRT disruptions have put our company under close public scrutiny, and we are subjected to on-going investigations and a public inquiry. Despite the negative attention on the Company, almost on a daily basis, you continued to serve with a heart. Unfortunately, amidst all the focus on the recent lapses, the outstanding work that is being achieved by you and your teams has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your dedication, perseverance and professionalism. 

As promised, although I have resigned, I will fully participate in all the investigations. I will also work with our teams to make improvements and necessary changes that will allow us to better serve our customers.(What?! Wtf, kena sacked resigned still can make improvements and changes?) I am confident that together, we will come out stronger.

With my departure, the Board has appointed Mr Tan Ek Kia, a seasoned professional, as Executive Director and interim CEO to oversee the company until a new CEO is found. This ensures SMRT continues to be in good hands.

Lastly, I would like to offer my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you, the Board of Directors and Management Committee, whom I’ve worked closely with, for your generous support.  There is no doubt in my mind that the best of SMRT will be in the years ahead of us.(I've heard this before. "Confidence for the future", "More good years ahead!" I'm uncomfortable..) 

Phaik Hwa

My analogy

My thoughts after reading this farewell letter: This guy has no shame. He insisted that consumers do not appreciate SMRT's good work.

"the outstanding work that is being achieved by you and your teams has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised."

Stop and think for a moment. How does customers give a company recognition? By being returning customers. Haven't we been returning customers? Well, If he wasn't referring the consumers, it must be the Land Transport Authority. Screw the damn LTA! Either way, making the customer happy isn't her priority - right to the last second of her ... service, if any.

"The recent MRT disruptions have put our company under close public scrutiny"

Saw is dead wrong. It wasn't the recent MRT disruptions. The close public scrutiny started way before trains started breaking down. There were a spate of complains about overcrowding for years. He refused to acknowledge it and refute the claims with his statements such as "This isn't crush load," and "People can board the train, it is whether they choose to." If anything, Saw was the intrinsic reason behind public anger towards SMRT.

My conclusion

Consider this: 

1. There was no salary revision or adjustment for staff within Saw's stint in SMRT. 

2. Only 8% of the profit are budgeted for maintenance at her decision. Much of this came from the retrenchment of staff from the maintenance team.

3. The retrenchment sparked a mini riot in Bishan deport which went unreported. Staff obviously were unconvinced of her leadership.

4. Staff medical benefit for whole family remained unchanged at $350/year for 2 decades.

5. Price hikes for services over the years - you can't count them with a hand.

6. Prior to his stint, staff could buy SMRT shares between 1-5 lots at a discount, subjected to appraisal. This benefit was axed with only management staff allocated with shares. The ugly face of elitism.

7. The 3rd rail that caused the 'first major disruption in 25 years' was discovered to be unstable 2-3 years ago. It required upgrading or replacement yet nothing has been done to it because no budget was set for it. Until the claws gave way. Then they used famous invincible cable ties to do the stuff.

8. Buggies in 3 SMRT depots are so worn out but the management refused to change them. If these junk requires COE, they would be running down their 2nd COE in no time.

Amidst all these cost cutting at the expense of staff and customers, where did all the money go to? Shareholders like me? Balls! If you buy the stock at recent prices ($1.75 or so), the dividend yield is a mere 4%+. Is that a lot? My savings in my Australian bank account gives me 6% per annum.

So where did all the money goes to? Besides his $1.86 million per year salary and who knows how many months bonuses, where else? I didn't dig. I'm just a mere amateur investor. As an investor and consumer, I'm displeased with my findings.

My decision:

Priceless monopoly, but dodgy management. I have no faith in the next CEO, probably yet another relative or friend of the ruling family. Sell!

So be it, good riddance
*Edit: Yeah I know she is a woman now, on closer look. Stop telling me already


  1. I think it's funny how Singaporeans complain about their transit system with such fury. Coming from Vancouver and having ridden transit systems all over the world, I find Singapore's is the most efficient, cleanest, and cheapest, hands down (Beijing's subway is the only one cheaper, but given their wages, it's understandable).

    In Vancouver, we pay the equivalent of S$3.50 just to get on the bus. Even for one stop. If that one stop crosses a zone boundary, the cost rises to S$5.00. These costs are in line with most transit systems in the Western world. Your taxes are way lower than ours, too, so I don't see how you can complain about the expense of going from Ang Mo Kio to Raffles place for S$1.30.

    In many parts of Vancouver, it's faster to walk than take transit. We do not have a train that goes across our downtown core. We need to transfer at least one bus to go the equivalent of Scotts Road to Dobby Ghaut.

    You think the recent NS Line breakdown was scandalous? That's a routine occurrence on Vancouver's train system. It never makes the news because it's so common to end up stuck on the train for 30 minutes. We've learned to deal with it. We get pissed off, but we don't remember it once the doors open, let alone ask ministers to resign. You've had just one major breakdown in 25 years? I think that's an impeccable record.

    The way you describe SMRT's business operations, that's the way public corporations and utilities around the world operate. You may think it's wrong to operate that way, but it's not unique to Singapore.

    What I don't get is this: You call yourself a "Singaporean in Australia". You must have ridden Sydney's transit system, one of the worst in the world. You seriously complain about SMRT after riding a bus in Sydney?

    1. Our taxes are lower cuz we aren't a welfare state like some western countries

    2. There's such thing as minimum wage in Canada, but not in Sg.

    3. What is the pay in Vancouver.Here security guard still paid $580 per month.To reach the advertised $1700,comes from daily 4 hour overtime,shoes allowance,site allowance bla bla bla.You still work 72hrs per week.So dont compare apple with pear

    4. Why should we compare with worse transportation systems? Why not say that it's good enough that we have trains?! I think complacency and contentedness will stagnate where we are, or even regress.

    5. Our Ministers demand an extortionate salary that is at least 10 times the salary of the US President. I don't think any Minister in any part of the world is getting paid such unreasonable salaries. However to justify their million dollar salaries we were promised the very best brains. Unfortunately our transport Minister like the rest of his colleagues do not even have a brain.

  2. I took the bus and train system in sydney before. I find singapore system better based on timing wise. In sydney, the 1 train comes maybe once every 20 minutes. If you missed the train, enjoy your life waiting for the next train.

    The prices may be cheap others. Who? The rich people. Here in singapore, the fares i remember 6 years ago (while i was still in primary 6), i went orchard road from jurong everyday without caring about the fares as it was cheap. Now, even student fares increase and adults cant take consession.

    I dont mind the fare hike if the service is worth the price. Here in singapore, the cost of living increases but yet, the salary still remains the same.

  3. By the way Saw Phiak Hwa is a woman, so it's wrong to call her Mr Saw

  4. You need to compare with Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan MRT to see why we suck.

  5. hers is a template of how to write a self-praising face-saving but ultimately bullshit letter

  6. It is a wise choice to invest in SMRT!

  7. xian qi,

    u cant compare vancouver transport system and australia transport system with SG.

    In Van and aust, students enjoy concession. in SG if u are private student or u have grad from Sec 4, u no longer enjoy any concession, Even our seniors and children taller than 90cm pays the full fare.

    The cost of living it is totally unjustifable for the amt of fare we are paying. I spend $150~$200 per mth in SG to public transport.
    no doubt Transport in Aust is equally ex (roughly $120~150 per mth), my cost of living is much cheaper in aust, and my pay is higher.

    Besides that, we, singaporean aint just complaining abt the TRAIN, we refer SMRT to buses as well.


  8. Sei, I think you can compare Aussie or Canadian transit systems with Singapore. Why not? There are differences, good and bad, and when you compare, Singapore (to me) looks better.

    As a Sec 4 grad, you're 16 years old. In Western countries, we graduate from the equivalent of Sec 4 (Grade 12) between 17 and 18, and we lose our concessions. That's not a big difference. As for private students, if their parents can afford private school, they can afford regular transit fare for their kids.

    As for incomes and cost of living, I can't speak for Australia, but in Singapore I earned $$1000 LESS per month than I did in Canada (when my Canadian wage was converted to S$), but I saved THRRE times as much at the end of the year (even though none of my three jobs paid bonuses). Look how low your taxes are. 2.25% for the first $40,000, 8% thereafter. If Australia's tax rate is lower, I will concede this part of the discussion, but most Western countries start their tax rates around 20%, and have sales taxes around 10%. (Our taxes may look lower on paper, but we also have provincial/state and city taxes.)

    This may all seem off-topic, but I think Singapore is more affordable than most developed nations, and that includes the cheap transit system. I know there is a complaint that cost of living is rising but wages aren't, but that's happening in every major city in the world right now. You should just be grateful that you have it better off than most first-world countries -- your trains, taxes, taxis, etc.

    As for the comparison made above with Taiwan, HK and Tokyo train systems -- I've lived in Tokyo and Taiwan, and made a few trips to HK. They are good systems, but I don't see how Singapore's is any worse in comparison. Tokyo's is certainly much more expensive.

    1. Hmm, u say the same thing as some of my expats colleagues. However when I asked them ever consider of converting to locals status, they kept quiet.

  9. Xian Si,

    If you find Singapore to be so much better, cheaper and more efficient than Vancouver, why didn't you stay or remain there?

  10. @Xian Qi: Hi brother, appreciate your comments here. You are a 1-2 weeks late though and landed at the wrong place.

    Complains about public transport didn't take place here though it was everywhere else in SG cyberspace for the last few weeks. This post is about my investment. A pity you didn't read it?

    I'd like to debate about public transport of other countries in comparison to Singapore with you but I admit I am totally out of depth. I'm not well travelled. A few tour trips to a few countries and experiencing their public trains is not conclusive enough for me to compare systems with Singapore's and I don't want to pretend I can.

    But let's just assume the public transport system of other developed countries to be much WORSE than Singapore's for whatsoever reasons, be it costs, cleanliness, reliability the list goes on... It doesn't matter, because imho, it's not relevant.

    The point is we used to have a better system and good traveling experience has declined drastically since 2005. From here, it would be good to know if you reside in Singapore on regular basis during this period to experience this to give a fair assessment about my claims?

    What Singaporeans are questioning is that

    1) why is public transport privatised so that it served the stakeholders first and the public on lower priorities?

    2) why are maintenance and safety compromised for maximising profit margin?

    3) why was it better in 1985-2005 where it was, rightfully as you claimed, probably the best in the world? With the expansion of our system, making it even more flexible and outreaching, it should be a better system or at least remain as good as before. But it didn't.

    4) Why did SMRT, PTC, LTA and the PAP refused to take repetitive feedback over the years and dismiss them as petty complains and chided Singaporeans that they are ungrateful and unappreciative in the similar way you thought we are?

    We ought to take a closer look at ourselves before looking beyond our shores. If Singaporeans are expecting the sky, we deserved to be unhappy not keeping our contentment in check. We are only asking for the system to be as good as before. Is that too much to ask for or had we been over-compensated for the last 20 years instead?

    Yes, Singaporeans are furious about this. Many well travelled, worldly experienced folks like you wrote back to the best newspaper in the world SPH (which i happened to be a shareholder as well), and undermined Singaporeans for not being grateful because of what happening outside the well.

    To a large majority of Singaporeans who do not have the blessings to see the world like yourself, this is not funny at all.

  11. @Anonymous: Again, I don't really want to compare public transport of other countries to Singapore.

    If you really want me to give my opinion on your comment, I would like to say it's confusing in Singapore in the sense that obviously they discourage all of us from owning a car based on COE, ERP and other costly factors. Thus car ownership in Singapore is relatively low as compared to, in your example, Australia.

    I think this is a very important factor that nobody wanted to consider. Comparing public transport vs public transport of 2 countries alone isn't looking at the bigger picture. I'll admit that I have not taken any trains in Australia at all due to the fact I could buy - and fully paid - my car for less than AUD$3000. Petrol is not more than AUD$1.30/L for me here.

    If most people with a driving licence buys a car, the demand for public transport will expectedly be much lower in Australia compared to Singapore in percentage. If that's the case, obviously public transport cannot be run at a lower fee per customer, as well as the same frequency.

    If we could agree with this, it'll be myopic to compare rates vs rates, frequency vs frequency and claim that public transport in Singapore is the best in the world.

  12. @hayaya: Sorry lah,see wrong. I don't know her personally you know.

    @Zhenghui: Thanks ah brother.

  13. One important point we need to note when comparing is: SMRT(trains and buses) is the primary means of transportation for the majority of people in Singapore given the high cost of car ownership.

    Whereas in country like Australia, and probably Canada,it is not. Driving your own affordable car is usually the primary mode. Only a specific number of people takes the public transport for specific reasons. Even those who take the trains to work actually owns and use a car for other purposes.

    In Singapore, those who do not own a car has to rely on public transportation for all their purposes and needs.

    Besides, if the ministers are paid a miraculous amount, they have the right to demand miraculous perfection.

  14. not sure how long have u not been in singapore xian qi.

    Ur statements are justify but only on the surface. In sg, being private students today, no longer equalvalent to having parents that are affordable. I am not gg to go into it as this is unrelated.

    There is sth known as student concession, then and again, it is only for the elites students in SG. different topic again. No, i am not being sour, thats hard truth.

    SMRT was good. I love SMRT but i dun like it anymore. Alot cases werent on the papers, but Personally, i have been in a situation that i was nearly push down to the platform. The announcement they made is utterly useless.
    railway tracks are of a better condition in sydney compare to SG. I was in sydney thrice in 12 months. even the trains make much lesser noise compare to SG. The aussie engineers made an effort to do a good job on noise pollution.

    In melb 2009, there was alot of noise made on derail tracks, immediately, The metro made offical apologies and did alot of work. including shutting off the tracks during weekend, PH. I nvr read sth such as, unsympatheic comments made by Miss SAW, not exact words, but the meaning was " it is up to the ppl to board the train" even though it was so packed that, i was squeezed as if i was back in Japan.


    PS, i seconded wad blogmaster said, with THAT HUGE amount of profit earn. It no longer justified to be public transport for commoner and ask for further price hike when my salary is not even increasing MUCH. (100sgd per year)

  15. SMRT is being blamed for things they cannot control. The overcrowded trains are a result of LTA failing to upgrade the infrastructure. SMRT is merely an operator, they "operate" the lines with what they have. Any upgrades would have to be made by LTA. As a result SMRT ends up overworking its trains to meet public demand. The trains are on the rails for more than 18 hours a day, and train officers regularly work 18 hours too. We are already compromising our safety of our network because we want to get to our destination fast. Who is to blame?

  16. @Sun Hanchen: LTA would point the finger elsewhere citing they have brought in the CCL as well as NEL and they are progressing with the DTL. They are expanding the infrastructure contrary to your point.

    While consumers were demanding for higher frequency of trains over the years, the real anger began to build up when the CEO refused to acknowledge that there is an overcrowding issue. On top of that, she dismissed the increasing lapse of services casually without showing any intent to address it.

    It's not productive to blame anyone. After all these years, we are not expecting anyone to step out and be accounted for poor performances anymore aren't we?

    At the minimum, we expect at least an acknowledgement of the real problems on the ground. The last person who insisted for years that the HDB flats were 'affordable'. What happened to him?

    The question is, why are they ignoring feedback from the ground until things get really serious?

  17. Dear blogger, just like to point to you that Saw Phaik Hwa is a Ms. Pls take note and continue blogging!

  18. and yet in Sydney, there this is "Family Funpass" where every Sunday a family with children, can travel the entire day - bus,rail,ferry, train,tram for A$2.50 each - to as far as Blue Mountains!

    There is also this free shutter bus that goes round and round Sydney CBD...

    Maybe felt guilty making too much money already from Sydney commuters ...

  19. bro,

    love your post on smrt. hope we dun see ms saw ever again.

    now it's time to delist smrt & bring back 'public transport'


  20. So comparing with other lesser systems makes us better? The first 2 posts just miss the point. Have I ever heard the Canadians praise their transport as world class like what the PAP government is always doing? How much does it cost to own a car or a house in Canada compared to Singapore? At the age of 30, many of us still find a house beyond our reach all because the PAP had mismanaged the population strategy by letting in a huge influx of foreigners. How much does Canada pay its Ministers compared to Singapore? The Transport Minister here earns 4 times the salary of Obama. Ho Ching who controls Temasek Holdings which in turn owns 54% of SMRT took 12 months' bonus last year.

    So do we Singaporeans deserve better accountability and not be subject to such condescending views saying "oh, you think your system is bad? Try ours instead."

  21. And oh by the way, Ms Saw is related to the Lee's.

  22. I love it when people mindlessly parrot rumour as fact.

  23. hahah, can't help laughing when you keep referring to Saw as a male ....
    hmmm, how did you get the 'secrets'???
    i may be wrong cos i don't take the MRT, but i guess the main concern is not the fare hikes, nor the disruptions but rather the 'not listening to the ground' and how the issues that arose were handled...
    is not just SMRT la, it is a norm in Singapore.
    but i guess every country have their fair shares of such woes. australia included...

  24. I agree with A Singaporean In Australia, hitting the nail on its head with his reply to Xian Qi on 8 January 2012 17:23.
    I am pretty much stuck in Singapore (unlikely to migrate not because I don't want to, but because I can't afford to) and I can't afford to travel to so many different countries and see for myself how much worse off other train systems are.
    So the fact that other countries have worse off train systems mean nothing to me.
    I just know that my train experience in these recent years is much worse off compared to a decade and more ago. I am paying more for my train ride over the years, but the experience is not getting better. Unless you considered having warm air in the train cabins a kind of improvement; we don't even have autumn or winter here in Singapore to begin with. So if the air/temperature in the cabin is warmer than the air/temperature on the platform, it is really not funny, especially during the peak hours.
    I have no recourse, I can't afford a car, and bus service aren't any better (years ago when NEL started, they took away express bus service that foreced us commuters to take NEL to increase the ridership), I have no choice but to put up with this crap daily.
    I am generally a peaceful female, but my train experience in these recent years is making me into one angry bird.

  25. We the local who live in Singapore don't mind people all over the world sharing their experience of public transport, good or poor, but please don't tell us that we complain too much because your respective service sucks worst than us. If you just view in this perspective without regard to what happen to the state of well-being and the way thing are run in Singapore, we rather that you keep the opinion to yourself. Thank .

  26. @Xian Qi: And just because people in other countries have learned to just lie down and take bad service, does not mean we have to do the same too. It just seems bad to suggest everyone should do that just because another place has it worse, especially when those in charge are payed high sums to ensure a certain standard and that regular and proper maintenance is done to ensure regular operations. And the train did not break down once. It broke down 3 times in 4 days, and caused serious inconvenience to thousands of commuters. My dad had to walk home from Novena to Toa Payoh cos he said he waited for hours to board a bus but could not do so as it was filled to the brim due to the MRT disruption. Taxi's were equally hard to get as everyone was trying to call in and get a cab. Should we lie down and take all that?

  27. @Xian Qi - Since Singapore is such a great place to you, come back then? Why short change yourself by staying in Vancouver?

  28. SCUMBAG Xian Qi

  29. Xian Qi oso relative izzit??

  30. Xian Qi: You are what we call in psychology, an attribution error. Vancouver may have worse public transport, but they have to serve a much larger surface area, contend with different climate, etc etc. Most importantly, the management isn't here in Singapore. The social norm there is to accept such failings, and live with it. Singapore however, have a different culture to serve, making the comparison moot.

    Do not compare with other countries; you might as well say that we shouldn't complain because Africa is starving while you still have meals and clean water everyday.

    Singapore's SMRT has been providing excellent service till recent. It is rational to ask why is the hamburger getting smaller over the years. If you believe it is not rational to complain about degrading utilities, I suggest you move to Africa.

  31. Just for the record. Even poly students and those serving National service for two years have subsidized rates. Transport is privatized so please draw a line clearly between SMRT and government.

  32. To the above Anonymous:

    I didn't get these subsidized rates. I paid it with the cards provided and paid adult fare. "Subsidized" refers to buying the concession fare scheme that are overpriced unless you use the transport system excessively.

  33. Her resignation letters gave herself shamless self-praise and blamed consumers for her ilks. If you scrutnised those words between the lines, she tried very hard to create rift between the staff and commuters. Evil woman!

  34. @asingaporeanson: Nice article bro! Keep it up!

    @Xian Qi: There is one thing Singaporean should really learn from people of other countries and that is to vote WISELY in the next election. Many of them are just like you, living in your own world.

  35. @Anonymous: "Just for the record. Even poly students and those serving National service for two years have subsidized rates. Transport is privatized so please draw a line clearly between SMRT and government."

    If there is someone who should be drawing a clear line, it cannot be me. Even the government is confused about the role of a private company and a public transport company.

    For the record, SMRT belongs to a Private company using Public Funds to acquire. Is SMRT a private, government or public company?

    @Thomas: thanks ah

  36. Hope people do not compare Singapore with the rest of the world. Singaporeans expect a higher class of services. They pay ministers at least a million dollar a year. And the PM at least 3 million year. To manage 5 million of population. What do you expect?

    60% of SMRT is owned by Temasek Holdings. 100% of Temasek is owned by Ministry of Finance. Ministry of Finance is owned by? The people, of course!

    What do the people get in return?

  37. seems like the Xian Qi has shut the fuck up LOL

  38. Xian Qi - standards of travel in other countries are irrelevant to how people feel about what happens in their own. There is almost always someone who could turn around and say "why complain? We have it worse!" You say Singaporeans shouldn't complain because their system is better than the one in Vancouver? Well, what right do you have to complain when the Vancouver system is so much better than Delhi?

    If we went through life not complaining about things just because someone somewhere has it worse then nothing would ever improve. I do object to the way in which people complain (the over dramatic use of words like "poverty" or "basic rights" when what we are really talking about is privileges of a wealthier nation), but when you have in the past enjoyed a good standard of transportation that has since declined whilst the cost of using it has risen, I do believe people are justified in saying "wtf!??"

    I am a UK expat, and there are many things in Sg that I could say "why complain? It's better than back hoe" to. There are also some things I see in Sg and think "wtf? We do that so much better back home!!". But to judge my adopted country by the standards of the one I grew up in, or vice versa, is unfair in the way it ignores many contributing factors - like cultural differences, geographic and climatic concerns, religious demographics, etc., etc..

    In short, all countries could learn a thing or two from each other on a wide variety of subjects. But to dismiss the internal concerns of one nation just because another nation is in a different situation is uncalled for.

  39. THose comapring to Vancouver, US and Australia forget one thing: Cars and gas are cheap.

    Theycan easily afford cars and drive themselves around. I bought a 10 year old Toyota for $2k and drove it around till it broke years later.

    Cars are for rich folk in Singapore. We have no choice but to depend on public transport to get around.

  40. Qian Qi,

    How much is a car in Canada compared to in S'pore??

    Try walking in S'pore 's hot and humid weather.

    Why dont you give up yiur Candian citizenship and become a S'pore citizen? Talj is cheap (hell, it is FREE). Dont come here bOasting how well travelled u are. S'poreans are not hermits or frogs in the well

  41. Comparing train systems is like comparing whose balls is bigger.

    Here train is a lifeline. In other places, you are better off buying cars. How many can afford cars here?

    When you compare tax, compare wages and the social benefits as well.

    And if SG train system is better why don't people move here and take up citizenship to enjoy? Something else stopping you?

  42. similarly there's free shuttle in Perth CBD.
    Yes waiting time may be a half hr wait, but so long you know the timing well, you can plan your time around it better.

    Besides in Perth, my student concession was up to Uni level.

  43. Xian Qi knows nuts about singapore and the culture... Xian Qi "Hong Kan La" "Nang Buay Hiao, Nang Mai, Nang Kiang Jiu Ho, Mai Key Kiang, Tia Lang Kong, Kua Lang Zhou, Mai Zhor Bu Bor La" LOL

  44. Ms Saw is rumoured to be a very close buddy of Ho Ching

  45. Actually, I do agree with @asingaporeanson on quite a few points. I've lived in WA for some time and tried BOTH its public and private transport systems for some time:

    In WA:
    1. If you're waiting for a bus after 8pm on a weekday in the city, good luck to you. Continue waiting in the cold. I don't blame the system, cos when I eventually board the bus, there are less than 10 people on it. 1/3 looked drunk and half looked like they didn't pay (hoods).

    2. Cars are obviously cheaper in Aus, no matter how you convert the exchange rates. So I eventually bought and paid fully for one, a 2-door coupe, albeit old model for $5k+. Thus, I am assuming most commuters can actually choose to have a car if they wanted to.

    3. Pace of life (at least in WA) is certainly much more relaxed than in SG. So, I wasn't really complaining about the 30-minute wait for the bus, except for the wind and cold (and possible of being mugged by kids).

    In SG:

    1. Cars are almost certainly NOT and option. So public transport must trully serve its purpose - the public. First, commuters are discouraged from owning private transport (cars), so obviously the other form of transport is public. Since taxis are already defined as NOT "public transport", the remaining options are - bus, MRT (and trishaw). Then, bam!, fares are raised for public transport. I mean, increasing ridership in itself is already increasing business and revenue. So raising fares to cover "increased maintenance" is quite bull. If your "mama shop" downstairs suddenly has an increase in business, does the owner raise prices so that he can "maintain his shop" better??

    2. Life is hectic in SG. Face it. 1 minute makes a difference! Yah, trains come at shorter intervals, granted. But not due to "better service", but practical concerns. MRT stations can only contain so many waiting passengers (before they riot).

  46. We shld not compare where's worst becos thats how we got complacent. We compare to where's better so we can improve. That is why people are trying hard to help the poor becos they can get or shld get better.

  47. ha ha ha our friend(xian qi) here stays in vancouver and trying to please the people in singapore....!!!

    ask ourself la whats the responsibilities of a government ???? Making money from its citizen other than taxes...????

    u study high high arh but thinking veri the low low one lei...!!! Thats the problem of being an elitist. They tend to forget the suffering of ordinary people....!!!

    The Citizen Of Singapore anger have been accumulating all this while and u tend to put petrol over the fire....FUCK - OFF ...!

  48. The parts of a national transport system must be seen and compared in totality. For example, you cannot merely compare train fares between SG and Canada or any other country and conclude that SG is better off since it is cheaper. It makes sense only if the fare is seen in context of the average income of the population, concentration of traffic, affordability of other modes of transportation, so on and so forth.

    How much does one earn working in McDonald's here and in Canada? How much does a car cost? How often do you see traffic congestion and how much delay it cost you?

  49. @Xian Qi: Your comments made me feel that you have lost touch with what is happening in Singapore. Have you realised that even foreigners complained about the MRT disruptions recently? And that one even wrote that they came to Singapore because they thought that their vacation plans would not suffer much glitches due to the efficiency here? As a commuter who has taken the MRT for more than 10 years, I really prefer the SMRT of the past, whereby they were more reliable. I do not know if Canadians are more receptive of failures, but here in Singapore, we expect service standards to be upheld since even LKY boasts that Singapore's public transport system as the best.

  50. Let me just fill you in with one fact, Xian Qi. In 2011, the budget spent on repair and maintenance by SMRT was a shocking 1.2mil lower than the year before. With all the increase in frequency of trains and loads, can you explain to me how that is possible without jeopardizing the quality of service (as the recent events have proved)? If it was not to increase the dividend payouts to the stakeholders I don't know what it is, probably the top management's salaries (definitely not the bottom ones)? We don't need to compare here compare that, we just need to look at the facts. Hope you read up more before making those comments. And if you don't want us to make noise now, it will mean that we are condoning this. And when the day comes that a train derail and someone dies, are you gonna be held responsible then? Or should it be the SMRT CEO?

  51. We don't get bloody concessions for transport in Sydney despite being full-time students. Anyway, having Ms Saw's resignation, I'm afraid that it will serve as precedence that anything that fucks up again deems the CEO's departure.

  52. Why and how can anyone compare the transit system here to anywhere else in the first place?

    We are discussing about the potential of our transit system to be even better than today. And many are discussing about the outdated systems of other countries.

    This is a common fallacy when it comes to discussions about public services.

  53. Xian Qi: How much does a car cost in Vancouver?

  54. This short clip explains why we want and have to know about how corporations are run.

  55. duuuuuude she's a lady. you even posted a vid of her!

  56. @asingaporean,

    You dun need to know her personally to know that she is a lady!??

    Didn't you put up a video of her?

    Somehow I question your ability to observe????

  57. ~Most prevalent reason from establishment supporters regarding local complaints: "Other countries have it worse.. e.g. look at transport system in NYC, Sydney, Vancouver etc etc, Singaporeans are whiny and unappreciative."

    ~Look, Zimbabwe people have it so much worse than us. Many of them starve and live in slums. Should we starve and live in slums also?

    ~It's like when I was younger and failed my chemistry test and I whined to my mom, "But half the class failed also... (exaggeration)" She still gave me one good scolding and told me, "That's not an excuse! So you want to fail all the time?" + new assessment books.

  58. Dear All, we are going too far, too complicated.

    @Xian Qi..dun even understand the basics.. lest start from point 1.

    You compare better systems for improvements.
    So next time ur kid score 50 marks for exam THEN as long as someone fail badly than him then its ok right ?

  59. wahahaha gdgd.....taiwan mrt gd!!!

  60. piesah...ah pooh posted

  61. I was in Guangzhou recently and I find the subway system there efficient and clean, comparable to our SMRT. But the price of the fare is lower than here in Singapore. The maximum amount you have to pay is RMB6 or roughly S$1.20. If you are above 65 years old, it's free! I think if you are between 60 to 65 years old, it's half price. Further, the subway system in Guangzhou spread to 3 cities, including Foushan and Nanhai and you pay no more than RMB6! I reckon this is one way how the Guangzhou government show their appreciation to their elderly citizens for their past contributions. While we can compare favorably to some western countries of our subway system, there are others who are better in some areas. I believe that public outcry over the disruption of our train system recently is the result of the frustrations accumulated over the years, not just on the transport system but the society as a whole. This could possibly be the side effects of country run based on meritocracy.

  62. Xian Qi,

    The comparison between Singapore and Vancouver is not exactly the most ideal. In US and Canada, cars are very affordable. Owning a car is a necessity, not a luxury. In fact, most families own at least 1 car (usually 2 or more) in countries like US and Canada. However in congested cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, owning a car is more of a luxury status. In fact, most families do not own cars in Singapore. As such, public transportation is the utmost important form of commute for the majority Singaporeans.

    What Singaporeans are angered about isn't just the breaking down of the trains. It's a perception of the obscene salary drawn by public servants and the value that they deliver. Prior to the 2011 General Election, you hardly heard of public servants and politicians taking responsibility for mistakes that are made. A leader has to accept responsibility over the performance of his/her organization regardless of whether he/she is directly the culprit. That is also why a leader is usually paid the most in an organization, because of the responsibility that he/she has to shoulder.

    Sadly and true, this is not so for the leadership here in Singapore. The public is just tired of the leaders drawing obscene salaries in the name of attracting the top talents into politics and yet, not taking responsibilities over mistakes that were made.

    Hope this answers why Singaporeans are complaining.

  63. You can't compare Singapore's MRT and Bus system to Australia. In that case, why not compare the price of cars and land prices? Apples and Oranges. Australia is a continent with a very small population base - its a bigger logistical repair outlay. Singapore SMRT on the other hand has a smaller train network line and proportionally services a greater number of people. It should be much more easier and cost effective to do repair work. In the meantime, ask yourself why are CEO's paid vast sums of money by increasing the profit margin by retrenching repair work crews and stinging on the salaries of workers who do virtually all the work?

  64. Im wondering if xian qi is one of the elites? he/she certainly has not idea what she/he is talking about.... very much like out MIWs totally lost and out of touch.... she doesnt look at the whole infrastructure in singapore and the whole system of transport with its cost ,both public and private... which pushes ordinary Singaporeans to the brink of insanity at times !

    it's like we are being punished for all the choices we make... you get punished for buying are car, you get punished for parking it, you get punished driving it on the roads...
    so i sell my car
    then i take the taxi... i get punished with 12 peak hours a day plus ERP, plus midnight charges starteing at 11pm

    so i try the trains, i get trapped and almost suffocate to death not mention the choking foreign odours and being packed like i'm in a can of sardine

    so i try the bus and end up taking one and the half hours to travel that SHORT DISTANCE from marine parade to jurong which i used to take 20 minutes driving to get there....

    and a 2 bustop ride of less than a kilometre costs me $1.10.... so i'm blackmailed into buying an ezlink card at the cost of seven dollars and prepay another $50 worth of busfare just to save a couple of cents per ride....

  65. I'm very amused by the comparisons that people are making all across the world. Comparing us against the bad does not make us better.

    Just because we are better than the Australian, Canadian or whatsohaveit systems, does not make our MRT system good. If the Singapore system is built on this, we will never be good.

    While we might not be 1st in everything, we need to strive to be no 1. We need to strive to have no breakdown (maybe impossible, but we still need to try). Accepting mediocrity has never been the Singapore way, and should never be.

    Just because others are doing worse does not mean we need to. Just because there are worst systems does not means we should be proud.

  66. I don't get why some posts (pardon me) are comparing to substandard transit systems around the world. If memory serves me right, we were promised "Swiss Standard". At what cost? Well we have to work that out don't we? And doing some right reading, the Swiss public transport is no joke. I've always being taught to keep high standards otherwise I won't get anywhere like; PSLE, "O" Levels, Drivers License!" Do poorly, I pay for it. So now standards are poor, who cares about other systems in the world, WE ARE SINGAPORE!!

  67. I feel like slapping Xian Qi.

    IMO, if Singapore government can boast about its deliverance, efficiency and justify their OBSCENE pay, Singaporeans won't complain.

    Also, if Singapore government didn't start setting standards for everything, we, Singaporeans, won't complain if things failed.

    Xian Qi, if you don't live here, don't open your mouth and start commenting. Slap slap your face and mouth.

  68. lol... Xian Qi, you earn so much, earning Canada money...might as well say u r from the USA and earning USD and says sg transport is so cheap. You are so funny...our people earns as low as 800-1100 Sing dollar a month....!!! And no welfare benefits compared to Canada...

  69. Hi All,
    Very very interesting debate[with lag].
    I don't like the idea of comparing with somebody/something worse so no point comparing with KL. LMAO.[I'm from KL] We are forced to buy our local cars at inflated prices and tolerate crap public transport. Hope it gives you slight comfort but please don't rub it in. LOL

    I love traveling in Sg public transport[off peak] but our money is getting smaller and smaller by day and that sucks[compounded with rising prices.]

    Wish you Sg'ers the BEST- so we here can compare with the BEST and tell our Bloodsucking Numbskulls[aka Barisan Nasional] at the elections to eff off.

    -Stan Chung-

  70. @Stan: I like M'sia and thought of retiring in M'sia before. The country's big. The citizens have choices to move to the outskirts or even to the Eastern Island. If you are frustrated with income, you have a choice to move nearby to Singapore for work.

    We Singaporeans have nowhere to go, except faraway lands

  71. @Xianqi
    Just because you have learn to live with sub-standards doesn't mean Singapore should live with sub-standards.
    Vancouver and Singapore have very different transportation models. What you have pointed out is simply not a fair comparision.
    And we don't pay ministers millions of dollars totell us to live with sub-standards. I know you do but I certainly don't. They ask for the dollar, we gave it to them. Now we want answers and it is only right we get them.
    " Transport is privatized so please draw a line clearly between SMRT and government"
    What rubbish are you saying?
    Each track, viaduct, train station, trains are paid for by the taxpayers money. Look at your wallet. That's where the money is coming from.
    The new downtown line, who is pay? SINGAPOREANS.
    So where is the stupid line?
    SMRT takes in huge profits using the Tracks, Trains, Stations that belongs to YOU and ME. Where is the line? And where does the profit comes from again? YOU and ME? Where is the line?
    Their duty is to operate and maintain the trains, tracks and station. Clearly they have failed in this.

  72. To the writer of this post: Good article and good read. Good rebuttal towards Xian Qi's flawed arguments.

    To Xian Qi: Looking forward to seeing your reply, but I doubt it will happen. :)

    Well travelled people should behave and think like the writer. People like Xian Qi who is well travelled and think narrowly should shoot themselves in the head. Wasting your parents money and maybe yours.

  73. She should not resign or "resign", what a big deal, transit system breakdown is common world wide.

    But, no country ever had their most wanted number one "whatever, call them terrorist or criminal" escaped while in custody. Only Singapore had their number one terrorist, bai ka some more, escaped while in custody.

    So, if no minister resigned or sacked, why resign, stay on and continue to manage SMRT like DFS, all just the same. Whoever allowed her
    to come aboard SMRT must resign.

    from :
    shameful Singaporean

  74. utimately, this Xian Qi is an idiot like the PAP .. short sighted

  75. Xian Qi - you can't compare to other countries.. Train is more important here than elsewhere because car ownership is intentionally expensive. We have no alternatives.

  76. reality check: hk mrt doesn't break down and is faster than smrt.

  77. Love your blog post. It's an interesting read considering I'm studying cost control currently.

    Indeed, by reading the numbers, one can tell that SMRT has been breaking records year-on-year. Yet, if one were to look closely at the balance sheet and P&L statement, there's plenty of info to look at and for that I applaud you.

    Even before the train disruptions, there has been incidents which was kept under wraps and as you mentioned, there was a mini riot. One of my friends used to work as a technician for SMRT and the hours are horrible. In fact, the internal feedback system used by SMRT was quite atrocious as technicians and engineers actually spotted the faults years ago but was brushed aside.

    When the train disruptions started, the first thing on my mind was the workers who had to endure the abuse by our very own Singaporeans. The fact that many of them may have been off-duty or just about to end shift to be called back again to work and being cussed by SIngaporeans is not a pleasant experience. I actually pity them and in my mind, none is to be blamed except for the higher management who, IMO, while they may have proven to be excellent profit generators, are actually generating profits at the expense of service and maintenance.

    While I shall not join in the rant against Xian Qi for obvious reasons, I would dispute his claim on how public utilities corporations operate globally and how it is not unique to Singapore.

    First as the blogger as mentioned: SMRT is a private corporation using public funds provided by the government to run its business. As such, it is actually unique. Is it a GLC( government linked company like SingTel ) or is it a government owned company? Most countries uses a government agreement with a private operator where the profits are split equally but in Singapore, where did all the profits go to as the blogger mentioned.

    Next, SMRT has been monopolizing the tracks before SBS Transit emerged with the NE line. As such, it is their duty to ensure that commuters arrive at their destination on time. Let's not forget that many Singaporeans depend on SMRT for their livelihood. Mistakes like disruptions which should have been avoided causes many discomforts and in some cases, Singaporeans actually get their pay docked or even sacked due to them being late. Having public funds in their accounts which was contributed by the government justifies that duty. Instead of upholding that duty, SMRT has been creating more retail space instead to earn more profits. While I may not be as well travelled as you, Xian Qi, I've yet to see any rail network with so much retail space like SMRT.

    Of course, to each his own on the views. While I generally accept views from foreigners, sometimes it is best to communicate with them so that they may adjust their views accordingly. As such, this blog gets two thumbs up for being able to prove its financial relevancy with the current problems faced by SMRT. Kudos!

  78. @Zer0Styl3 : you seemed to be the only one who read what I wrote. Thank you very much!

  79. To Anonymous above who claimed Hong Kong MTR had no disruptions/breakdowns, please read this article:

  80. THIS IS WELL-SAID! I've saw the press conference after the crisis itself and it was utterly disgraceful. It was right for her to resign. Although, I honestly do not see a point for her to remain to help. After all, she did not do much to help while she was the CEO anyway. So what's the point? Disgraceful.

  81. I think the "Mr" was written deliberately rather than by accident. wink wink. If you put this CB face to the public outside singapore , they too will think it's a guy lah.

    Well done, I like your article, bookmarked already

  82. Thanks for all the insightful comments. I agree that we shouldn't be comparing the Sg transport system to other countries and patting ourselves on the back for having only 1 breakdown every 25 years. With such acquiescence, we will only subject ourselves to further lowering of standards. Let's not forget that when we compare our low cost of transport (which is really one of the lowest in the developed world!), we are also acknowledging our dependence on SMRT as the sole provider of transport, given that most of us (nowadays) do not earn enough to own both a car and home.

    Commenting on the vitriol towards Ms Saw, I'd say that is merely the manifestation of a society that has been conditioned under the banner of meritocracy to achieve only the best. The employees and young students in this country have been taught that failure is not an option...and when the people at the top do fail (we are after all...human) no exception will be made in offering an alternative path.

  83. So how is Saw related to the government???

  84. Someone commented that Saw was a close friend of Ho Ching.See above.

    I am not going to compare with others, but will share what I have experienced in Singapore as a true blue Singaporean on the ground.I took the bus and train many years ago, and it was great value. I own a car about 10+ years ago but still use public transport.I took a job outside Singapore from 2008 to 2010. I came back to Singapore, and started to take a train and bus again. I was speechless. The service standard and the conditions of the train was a few par below the previous experience to the extend I thought I was in another country, not Singapore. I think the complaint on public transport was quite hot in early 2010, when the population in Singapore surge to a level where the Singaporean have not anticipated.Every uncle, aunty ,brother and sister is not happy, with the degrading of SMRT.

    Before the incident of 3 breakdown in 4 days, SMRT has already been in the lime light for a few incidents. Things do not happen overnight, and it take time to develop to where it is today, therefore it is important to understand what are the changes made since 2005, to make a SMRT such a sorry state. The only good thing about SMRT is their EPS ( earning per share ) and dividend payout keep increasing.

    Let's talk about direct impact .Workers who are late ( operators who report to work on a time punch card) due to public tranport issues got their monthly " on time reporting to work bonus" deducted, their daily salary got deducted too. The productivity of the factories and offices got affected big time. The chain effects goes on, and it does not augers well with the image and vision a typical Singapore looks for.

    Another point, Singapore maybe paying lower taxes, but we do not have a welfare system as good as in Australia, US or Canada. If you include those who could afford to buy a car, the GST, COE, ERP etc added up basically wipe out all the taxes saving, and if you have a chance to do a sum, a SIngaporean is worst off if you compared life style apple to apple.

    Our salary got freezed, while ministers got a 60% pay raise. The list goes on. I will not elaborate further to detour on the topic of SMRT, but the fact is inflation on public transport is biting into our take home amount and every heartlanders got affected. The train disruption further impact those public transport users to the extend their pay cheque also got affected. Do you blame them for complaining? No!

  85. To the original poster, please cite your source(s) for the following, otherwise you will be deemed NOT credible:

    1. There was no salary revision or adjustment for staff within Saw's stint in SMRT.

    2. Only 8% of the profit are budgeted for maintenance at her decision. Much of this came from the retrenchment of staff from the maintenance team.

    3. The retrenchment sparked a mini riot in Bishan deport which went unreported. Staff obviously were unconvinced of her leadership.

    4. Staff medical benefit for whole family remained unchanged at $350/year for 2 decades.

    5. Price hikes for services over the years - you can't count them with a hand.

    6. Prior to his stint, staff could buy SMRT shares between 1-5 lots at a discount, subjected to appraisal. This benefit was axed with only management staff allocated with shares. The ugly face of elitism.

    7. The 3rd rail that caused the 'first major disruption in 25 years' was discovered to be unstable 2-3 years ago. It required upgrading or replacement yet nothing has been done to it because no budget was set for it. Until the claws gave way. Then they used famous invincible cable ties to do the stuff.

    8. Buggies in 3 SMRT depots are so worn out but the management refused to change them. If these junk requires COE, they would be running down their 2nd COE in no time.

  86. The original poster's analogy is totally flawed. Ms Saw's letter was to the SMRT employees, NOT the customers.

    The blogger wrote this:

    My thoughts after reading this farewell letter: This guy has no shame. He insisted that consumers do not appreciate SMRT's good work.

    "the outstanding work that is being achieved by you and your teams has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised."

    Stop and think for a moment. How does customers give a company recognition? By being returning customers. Haven't we been returning customers? Well, If he wasn't referring the consumers, it must be the Land Transport Authority.

    But Ms Saw's letter was addressed to "COLLEAGUES"

    This blogger is clearly trying to mislead people.
    Is there a dislike button somewhere?

  87. To Anonymous above, where did the author imply that the letter was addressed to customers? The author made it clear enough that it was an "insider info"... Please spare yourself the blushes by not posting irrelevant comments...

  88. Even if there were no citations, the writer made some good rebuttals against Xian Qi. Many others thought so too. What's the point of asking him for his evidences? So what if he wrote those points based on hearsay? What is this? A thesis? If he could give citations what are you going to do? Give him marks? If you don't think he is credible, ignore him. Are you planning to bring him to court for defamation? Give the guy a break.

    As for the letter being addressed to colleagues, so what? Ms Saw is telling her colleagues that their work has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised. Who did you think should notice and recognise their work? Ms Saw? Their family and friends? Or could it be the consumers who are at the receiving end of their work?

  89. To Anonymous above, read the letter carefully and the poster's post carefully. You need a new pair of glasses. I quoted the relevant section and you refused to acknowledge that.

    Ms Saw's letter started with "Dear COLLEAGUES," but the poster later mentioned this:

    My thoughts after reading this farewell letter: This guy has no shame. He (Ms Saw or Mr Saw?) insisted that CONSUMERS do not appreciate SMRT's good work.

    "the outstanding work that is being achieved by you and your teams has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised."

    Stop and think for a moment. How does CUSTOMERS give a company recognition? By being returning CUSTOMERS. Haven't we been returning CUSTOMERS? Well, If he wasn't referring the CONSUMERS, it must be the Land Transport Authority.

  90. I do not agree with the views of the writer, frankly speaking. Has the MRT not served us well before?

    Xian Qi is speaking from his/her experience in Canada. You don't have to agree. To any person, the grass is always greener on the other side. People always avoid comparing Singapore with the negative aspects of another country.

    In light of the recent disruptions, I do agree that an overhaul is needed, particularly in contingency plans.

    I think the way forward is to learn from what WORKS for other countries and adapt it to Singapore, if possible.

  91. the problem many have with smrt is not whether they have 'served us well before' as anon said above- they certainly have done so. they are a private company serving a public good- which is what actually gets to many because they have continued earning profit (via raising prices and all) but have not managed to safeguard against the breakdowns. essentially, since mrt transport is so crucial, SMRT sadly CANNOT allow for such HUGE errors while earning their profit. and note this was a huge breakdown twice with epic window breakages for BREATHING ISSUES from consumers.

    and people avoid comparing singapore with negative aspects for good reason? Xian Qi's opinion only to the extent that it reminds us to be thankful. but we're looking at improvements now so it is in fact useless to compare to countries with bad systems because that misses the point entirely.

    and i still don't understand the previously anon assertions about how the writer has misled everyone? "the outstanding work that is being achieved by you and your teams has gone largely unnoticed and unrecognised" is Ms Saw writing to her COLLEAGUES, telling her COLLEAGUES that they are not being appreciated yes? she is thus telling her COLLEAGUES that the CONSUMERS/LTA are not appreciating them because we have been complaining about their work. I don't get what you're so worked up about. could you explain instead of just quoting please?

  92. To all foreigners thinking that we are making a big fuss, pls answer this qn;

    You are staying in a 6 stars hotel, say Marina Bay (World Best), and you are being trapped in the lift, with no light, no ventilation, no one communicate to you for 4 hours, would you be mad once you step out of it?

    Problem is our TOP ppl like to lavish million of dollars and heaps of self praises (do your MPs in your country do that?.. now the self-praises have finally backfire) The people unhappiness is a "bottled-up" effects over past few years.

    My verdict, - if u don't stay here for more than a decade, please don't comment. Only make yourself more unwelcome here.

  93. I heard from the grapevine that she and Ho Ching are cousins and are " close" ... worlds worst fund manager and worlds worst CEO, cut from the same cloth!

  94. Claire -> Saw and Ho Ching are cousins? No wonder both so ugly.

  95. Hi,

    I have read thru ur posts and comments. Some comments are positive whilst some are negative. It is free world for one to decide whether u are creditible or not. To those who are asking your sources in this so called "insider info", they could be from the SMRT management wanting to find out the "whistle blower"! This is a cheap way to fish for evidence. I say go elsewhere to try ur luck! Dont hog here!

    If that joker not from management, then he is just taking cheap pot shots. U see there are not only retards in govt who are paid millions of hard currency but there are smart assholes lurking around!

    If a reporter cites "sources", who are u to denand tt he reveals his sources to the detriment of his sources' livelihood? So I say fuck off to those retards. If we can find retards in govt supposedly the most talented and the best the country can produce - I am not at all surprised that there are worst retards anongst us!

    See for urself and judge what u read. No need to go into stupid details like letter addressed to staff or public or looking for minor inconsistency such as he or she or grammar etc just to distract or score cheap points. No winners here. No prizes here also. U wanna lick their balls, pls fuck off and lick at the correct place ok? KNN! Just cant avoid cretins and retards everywhere.

  96. Heard Saw drives a Ferrari and not taking public transport...

    1. yeah of cos. I have pictures of her Ferrari, you interested?

  97. If you'r not local, don't teach the locals what to do.
    If you'r local and not staying here, don't compare unless you are migrating back here.
    If you think your views are great, put them into action instead of just "talk".
    If you'r a fed up, angry local born, "cattle class", contributing citizen, so am I..
    One alone cannot effect any changes, it takes many to make a change but one can also choose where he/she resides..

    1. I'm confused. why don't you tell me what you want me to do?

  98. I am working in London but wife & kids are in singapore and hence I visit atleast 4 times a year. I have to accept that Singapore has one of the best transit systems in the world. The CEO earned a lot as the blogger said. I completely accept it. She always worked in the interests of the share holders and forgot MAINTENANCE. Take london tube, lot of maintenance works happening all thro' the year and weekends in particular. SMRT has to adopt the strategy to do sufficient maintenance and thatz it.

    The past CEO maximised the earnings by giving licences for shops to be setup in every nook and corner of the MRT stations and thus triggering overcrowding. The blogger has missed this point. This needs to be reduced to provide more space for the people to walk in a relaxed way.

    Coming to Overcrowding, i have to accept that singapore population (SC+SPR+Others) has gone skywards in the last 10 years. In 2002, i always felt the cool breeze while walking but not anymore. Hot & Humid. Neverthless, i still love it as singapore provides good standard of living. But government has to take measures to restrict the entry of foreigners which is not happening !!!

    Eventhough I work in london, i did not move my family as I felt Singapore is better and I hope the govt. takes steps to improve the conditions thereby tempting the citizens to come back.

    I pay 40% of my pay as taxes here in london, plus around 1500 pounds as council tax. Finally, the govt. here expect me to wait for 4 to 6 weeks to see a specialist doctor, wait for GP appointments, expect the kids to go to a nearby school based on my house postcode and spend lot of money in my oyster card (for tube trains). Apart from all these, you are looked as if you are an unwanted immigrant by public eventhough 40% of london population are made of immigrants. Take singapore, they give you the money in your hand, company provides private insurance (can see a specialist doc in 2-3 days, can walkin to see a GP), Kids go to a good school based on my choice (far better than london school... ofcourse they get singlish accent but smart...). SMRT costs very less to travel !! Food is cheaper !! I am just waiting for my company to move me back but has not happened for the last 10 years !!!

    Singapore is doing well and all it needs are change in policies so that they are ready for the next generation and i hope PAP does that else they will be out of power in the next general election. Their majority has dipped in the last general election and probably will go out of power in atleast 10 years should the same stuff continue.

  99. I don't understand why everyone keep harping on the fact that you pay a higher income tax overseas... don't they realise that we pay a lot more indirect taxes in Sg? (COE, ERP, GST, water conservation tax... to name a few)on top of that we have close to nothing when it comes to tax rebates... health care and education are not free... come on... we must be stupid to believe that the cost of living is cheaper in Sg... just cos the government tells you that you can't get a plate of noodles for $3 overseas does not mean that it is cheaper to live in Sg

  100. After stay in Singapore for so many years, I finally decide to leave and go to Australia. However, in this issue about public transport, I agree with XianQi that Singapore actually holds the (maybe) world'best system, in terms of price, service and coverage.

  101. When you decide to go somewhere on vacations the first question you are faced with is how to organize your trip.

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