Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stupid As Stupid Gets

What's wrong with this picture? The third rail which supplies power to the trains, has to be a heavy piece of metal. The claw, a metal grip which transfers the weight to the mounting brackets, has to be another seriously massive piece of a component. 21 claws were dislodged, obviously the result of being subject to tremendous forces at play. And the solution is to hold this critical structural component in place with cable ties and a flimsy metal bracket? Whoever thought of this must have been dropped on his head as a child, or just born plain stupid.

Well, it looks like stupidity is prevalent in the system. A laboratory manager at the Health Sciences Authority's DNA Profiling Laboratory used 1.0 millimolar (mM) of the reagent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) instead of the prescribed 0.1 mM - a senior employee of over 30 years experience - because he had "misread' the label. Thanks to the error in the government run laboratory, 412 cases of DNA testing have to be reviewed. The Government may give it's assurance, but it remains to be seen how many of the 87 tests the AGC are demanding to be redone ended up with wrong convictions.

The good news is that if CEO Saw has not been sacked, the laboratory manager will probably get to keep his job, given his seniority and all. So what if the salary review results in a 30 percent pay cut, the ministers will still be millionaires several times over.


  1. Whoever designed the cable ties and the metal bracket probably never anticipated the standing room only cars that the rails are carrying today. If you put enough weight in a lift, you may experience free fall. If you erect too many buildings in a small area, it may suffer flooding in heavy rainfalls. If you have too many free-riders in the parliament, the country will be doomed.

  2. The design of the metal bracket is flawed. They should replace the whole third rail system. But then, it comes down to cost again. Who would be footing the bill if preventive maintenance is a cheaper option.

    We don't even know how much Lee Hsien Loong earned last year. The last disclosure was in 2009, and that was above 3 million dollars mark already.

    I think if the revised pay is still above 700k, it is totally unacceptable. Lee Hsien Loong is not worth that much.

  3. Nobody will be sacked. It is bad for the image of their Masters who had all along believe (and convinced the public) that they have picked the best men. Sacking them is similar to slapping one's face, something seldom happen in Singapore.

    By the way, the pay review has just being made known. The biggest cut is the Presidential pay but this should not come as a surprise since people had all along been upset with such a high pay in comparison to the job required of him. I empathise the current president (hopefully he does not need the money)and envy the past pesident who for the past 12 years benefited from the windfall without knowing why.

  4. “The design of the metal bracket is flawed. They should replace the whole third rail system.”

    wow, an expert here. could you tell us why it is flawed and what's your solution?


    The claws wouldn't have dropped if the design of the metal bracket is not flawed. Obviously you have not been reading the news closely. Neither have you read the second statement which you copied and pasted above.

    Solution: They should replace the whole third rail system.

  6. If this is the case, the person who many years back made the crucial decision on choosing this particular cock-up design for the SMRT railway system ought to be sent to the 'firing squad' ! This person may had taken bribes for choosing such an inferior system. This problem is too big for the CEO to handle on her own!

    Future Breakdowns In SMRT Will Be As Regular As Earthquakes In Japan, Just Like We See Flooding Happening Quite Often Lately

  7. Top contact third rail is the older, and more widely used, form of power collection. Third rail systems using bottom contact are used only when accumulations of snow, and ice formed from refrozen snow, threaten operations. When was the last time it snowed in Singapore?

  8. As consumers, all we want is efficient and safe services.
    As for all the technical aspects, the services providers should be competent at their tasks.
    So far, no life was lost in all the breakdowns, hopefully no damaging mishap will happen again.


  9. SMRT Corp. (S53.SG) Chief Executive Saw Phaik Hwa on Friday resigned from the Singapore transport operator amid public criticism of her leadership over recent subway breakdowns that were the worst seen in the city-state.
    Saw, who was appointed CEO in 2002, departs just days ahead of a parliamentary debate over the subway disruptions and resulting commuter chaos. She had initially resisted calls to resign, saying last month she wished to stay to fix the problems that had led to the breakdowns.
    -By Chun Han Wong, Dow Jones Newswires

  10. This (firing) is great. We need accountabilities.