Lots of Screw Ups, None of Step Downs

Which of you out there thinks SMRT is a proper private company? Just keep your answer in heart. This family squabble is none of your business? So guess who are the ones paying for the court proceedings between LTA and SMRT? Citizens are fast becoming parents of the authorities. When the children screw things up, we pay for their mistakes. Then, we pay for them to screw each other up to decide who actually screwed up.

I read this issue with interest regarding off the blog of the most famous train officer in Singapore. Somewhere in his article, he mentioned we should learn from the Japanese about the way we handle national screw ups. The unique Singapore culture is such that we strive to win and excel in whatever we do, from the top to the base of the pyramid. We did not learn how to apologise because we were not built to fail. When someone apologised at Boat Quay, it was big deal and pasted all over town.

The key difference between a apologetic Singaporean and a Japanese is how much each actually meant it. In olden days, the guilty Japanese who felt he failed his duty put a blade through his body. In modern days, you could at least expect a Japanese stepping down if he let some people down. 

The importance of this key difference tells us how responsible is our government body and the civil service. Terms like 'cover up', 'honest mistake', 'let's move on', 'could not be avoided', 'could not be prevented', 'not a representation of the majority", "we could have done better', 'I was misrepresented', 'Denise He did that', tell us there are too many 'Get out of jail' cards in the stack. It didn't matter what happened, be it an escaped terrorist or big big ponding in nice shopping areas. Everyone turns up at work tomorrow. In Singapore, accountability stands for the ability to get a discount.

As much as we want to believe in meritocracy, there isn't demeritocracy in place to balance the environment. Since our top men could not seem to self regulate, a a legitimate demeritocractic system should be established. Only when you could only accumulate that many yellow cards before heading to the showers, you wise up and play fair. No system is foolproof but a better one doesn't accept 'Get out of jail' or 'Woffles' cards like the current.

The General Election should not be regarded as that system to punish the wrong-doers. It puts voters in the dilemma between voting for the best future of the nation and punishing the unrepentant ones hiding behind their thick hides. With that, the winning politicians tend to deem it as an approval to their misdeeds. We should not be made to use our precious vote to out people who should have been gone instead of standing to be re-elected.


  1. Denise He, I think you meant :)

  2. Well said! The elites and scholars are the "untouchables!" What do you think? KNN!

  3. Hahaha....

    me does not blame the top managements of the 'Companies' with regard the 'mishaps' of train breakdowns, rail problems and even management lapses. They were after all, all 'mishaps' that were never 'intended'.
    However, if Sinkies are telling each other that the people running the State had failed again and again and not correcting, improving themselves or repenting, again I do not blame the Political Leaders.

    As a matter of fact, the People got to blame themselves for choosing and picking the Leaders of the Same Party again and again to screw themselves. So, in my opinion, the people deserve the fate they have chosen.