The Circle Line fully opens on Saturday, but don't expect commuting times or service levels to improve. LTA spent $5.9 million not on state-of-the-art transportation and security enhancements, but artwork - to make the waiting between trains seem a a lot shorter. No tuck yew, commuters expect to clear in and out of transport depots speedily so they can get to their places of work or study on time and on schedule. The last thing anyone in a hurry needs is to wade through throngs of sight seers gawking at murals in order to catch the rare train with standing room remaining.
Better signage for information on train destinations would have been welcomed, given the obfuscating mix of commuter lines being developed. Soon, we may require GPS guidance to board the correct connecting line. What we don't need is misinformation about a imaginary film that will never be coming to a theatre near you, despite what the 9-meter tall poster promised. The artist may think it's interesting to make a giant poster about a fictitious movie that would never come about, but commuters are more concerned about real-life trains that will arrive, on time and on schedule. Nobody cares for humongous posters that are paid out of taxpayers' pockets. Guys might bitch about the Knightsbridge mall mural, but at least Abercrombie & Fitch picked up the bill for that.
Associate Professor Cheok of Mixed Reality Lab of NUS must really come down to earth if he expects any inspiring verse to be flashed on his giant SMS screen. Dr Cheok has included a filter system to block out obscene words (which probably includes "Tuck Yew! Tuck Yew!") in several languages and record the telephone number of the contributor. Mao would surely have loved to have this electronic billboard for his "Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom" campaign (more accurately termed the Hundred Flowers Movement -simplified Chinese: 百花运动). It would have been so much easier to flush out dissidents before wiping them out, since big wall posters do not carry identifying phone numbers. Maybe this one is subsidized by the ISD.
If hordes of idling tourists trying to figure out art from crap at the stations are bad enough, wait till the foodies cascade to the food outlets near the train stations. On fears the Botanic Gardens, one of few quiet spots in Singapore for nature lovers, will never be the same again when the Circle Line violates the serenity of the environs. One possible development is that the troublesome monkeys may be irritated by the train noise and retreat deep into the sanctity of the trees, instead of disturbing the peace of the park. The train will be disgorging pesky humans to replace their functional roles.