Friday, November 30, 2012

Strike Three - You're Out!

The four bus drivers from China who stood up to the discriminating practices of SMRT management were hauled up to court by the police yesterday and charged with instigating an illegal strike on Monday and Tuesday.

Problem is, since the strike was recognised only on Tuesday, Monday's activity being vicariously labelled as sit-down, refusal to show up for work and other euphemisms, the charge is wrongly framed. One of the Fantastic Four faces another charge of inciting workers to strike in relation to a statement posted on Chinese website Baidu. The words "instigating" and "inciting" are probably plucked from the same dictionary which, at least on Monday, did not list "strike".  It is very possible that the freedom of expression was misconstrued by the authorities, thanks to their corrupted lexicon. J B Jeyaratnam once waved a copy of a police report at a election rally, and he was promptly sued for libel.

Read the "incriminating" extract and try to find the "instigating" and "inciting" elements:
"But why don't we think of it the other way round, if a few hundred Chinese nationals take the lead, I am afraid the management of SMRT will fired instead. Not that we do not know the traffic situation in Singapore, a few hundred bus drivers do not report for work  for a few days, there will be public outcry in Singapore. Lianhe Zaoba, My Paper and the English papers will all wait on us, trying to find out the reasons for the action.  Land Transport Authority will have to start questioning the SMRT."

If the well meaning ("They were just asking for better pay and living conditions", an anonymous source who braved the SMRT forbidding the Chinese drivers from talking to the media) were intent on inciting anything, it was to nudge the mainstream media and LTA to do their bloody job in the first place. The last public outcry about the mismanagement at SMRT was initiated by a train stuck in a dark tunnel. Which is a preferable incubator of public outcry, a sit-down at a dormitory, or commuters seated in an airless, unlitted train coach?

Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor enthusiastically "welcomed the swift action of the police" but downplayed the lethargy of the SMRT management, best exemplified by the newly appointed CEO who is still conveniently out of town, mobile phone presumably switched off. The caped crusader buffoon, that defacto defender of industrial workers, is still MIA. Meanwhile the loser at Hougang, deputy executive secretary of the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) Desmond Choo, surfaced suddenly as the one "who helped to mediate at the strike". Or rather, the one who failed miserably at the mediation, resulting in the brutal police response. He admitted his personal failure in getting the SMRT bus drivers to join his union, leaving them with no recourse except to exercise their human rights to protest.

China, who has been observing Singapore's model of governance, was quick to learn from the use of force. Taking a cue from Amy Khor's praise of swift police action,  it is empowering its border police to take tougher action against foreign ships entering contested waters in the South China Sea, specifically "to board, seize and expel foreign ships illegally entering the province's sea areas." It remains to be seen if the boys in blue will next board the dormitories, seize and expel the foreigners. More likely they will park their shiny new red vans nearby and await political motivation.


  1. Poor Singaporean11/30/2012 10:46 AM

    I wonder if all the PRC workers will stop work again to save their 4 colleagues from being the scapegoats. If these 4 colleagues are successfully prosecuted, the PRC workers will have to choose another 4 scapegoats before they decide on another no show at work in the future .

  2. Why is there a feeling that this place is going to the dogs? We have embraced capitalism at its worst. Like the Republicans in the US any suggestion of helping the poor and disadvantaged is labelled socialism and to be avoided like the plague.The PAP fought tooth and nail in its early days to be called a socialist political party, taking the fight to Stockholm. David Marshall was suspended from practice for 6 months for his indiscretion.The powers that be never fail to frighten you that the less endowed will develop an entitilement mentality if you treat them decently. Of course we can see who makes claims to be entitled to be paid millions of dollars, an office at the Istana despite holding no office under the Constitution, Ghurka guards, etc. The fundamental problems that we see surfacing with regularity have their roots in what Tommy Koh recently pointed out - incestuous relationships. Take the SMRT. Bloomberg reported on 29 November that 9 Board members have other board relationships ranging from 8 to 43. Rather than being atypical, this state of affairs exist everywhere. LKY`s defence of his "I appoint you and you appoint me" policy is coming home to roost. Sad.

    1. A political crony by any other name is still a political crony.
      okay lah.
      Let's just call it incestuous.

    2. An incestuous, meritocratic system of crony appointments.

    3. It's more like the Mafia.

    4. An incestuous, crony system of meritocratic appointments?

  3. Karma is a bitch isnt it?

    Incestuous brotherhood system only values yes man and yes woman.

    Now the cancer has reached stage 4 threatening the entire brotherhood system.....

    Things getting very exciting

  4. i'm preparing popcorn & waiting to see how they charge the 4...hopefully it'll be more exciting than the sex..oops corruption cases

  5. To all those whose thought this little red dot was a boring place and lacks excitement wrong again, we have sex lies and orruption...............fantastic way to end the year............ MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS

    1. yup, the year is ending with quite
      a bang, and we're still 3 weeks
      from dec 21, when the world is
      supposed to end. (not sure whose
      world tho.)

  6. I wonder whether the hot-headed communist in China would burn Singapore flags and destroy Singapore properties like they did to the Japanese in reaction to its citizen being charged in Singapore?

    1. Who cares?
      The properties belong to the rich Singapore elites.
      They die is their business.
      Why should our NS boys die fighting to defend their properties?

    2. PAP is playing with fire. It better be careful not to burn down the house (of cards) it built over the decades.

      Btw, why is WP MIA?

    3. It's good that WP is MIA.
      Then we can focus on watching all the PAP mismanagement.
      And know that it's all the PAP's fault.

      WP is very busy recruiting new talent.
      They will need all the people they can find to clean up the mess left behind by the PAP after GE 2016.
      GE 2016.
      A new regime is coming.

  7. Lets test our million dollar ministers on:

    A) Diplomacy
    B) Solutions Orientated
    C) People Skills
    D) Convictions

    Watch the 3 part series by media-por. An epic tale that took 2 years in making about a fail-safe state in modern times. Sponsored in part by Worker's Panties and the Non Thrusting Union Company.

  8. Looking back, can anybody remember what did that Malaysian Pilot representing the SIA Pilots Union actually did to deserve to have his PR cancelled ? Has the Shit Times ever reported in details what really happened ?

    Or did LKY or anybody else for that matter, abuse their power and did what was seen by many as a retaliation move for having the guts to negotiate for better benefits for their respective union members ?

    And the best part of NTUC is that they are still fooling everybody by encouraging the SMRT bus drivers to join unions ? And may I ask what's the real fucking purpose for having unions when in reality union leaders can be retaliated with punitive acts without any legal protection ?

    1. The union is the government is the employer.
      Same, same.
      It's called the matrix.
      One nation under PAP.
      May God help you.

    2. Union leaders? Many are part of the Establishment, looking after their own interests. The ones that do fight for workers won't be there long. Unions got no more teeth, so WTF join the unions?

  9. One of the issues was that their starting salaries & year-end bonuses already takes into account the differential costs in hiring them ?

    So if there is an increment exercies, should not all of them get the same increment so that each of their individual contributions is fairly appreciated by management? Unless the SMRT is trying to say the performance of all PRC bus drivers are less than satisfactory, otherwise why was their a discrimination in the increment exercise ?

    Put yourself in their shoes and take the question of nationality out of the question, do you think you can accept such discrimination at face value ?

    1. agreed, the crux is tht even in percentage terms the "increment" was 5% for PRC, alot more for everyone, and actually it was for converting a 5 day week with lots of paid OT, into a 6 day week with no need for OT. People who look at the facts will agree they have ample cause, but SMRT forced it down hoping they won't and they dared not strike. It was a gamble lost for the country because of some general and TH's bottom line dividends, stoopid and cowardly by hiding behind the "labour law".

  10. After reading all the facts, you can't help but empathise with the drivers.
    If I were subjected to the same discriminatory treatment by my employer, I 'll be pissed too.
    But all the media, Govt leaders , union officials and even some netizens have been quick in pinning the fault on them,just because they have violated an unjust law, when the chief culprit was let off without any investigation, accusation on mishandling the whole debacle.
    Where is the justice, and Equality of it??

  11. "Firstly, those workers signed a contract with the terms and agreements stated."

    Yeah right!
    Our architect of the National Pledge.
    i.e. National Promise.
    Since pledge means a solemn promise.
    After 47 years can suddenly call it an aspiration.

    Everyday, Singaporean children recited that Pledge.
    Every National Day, we renewed that Pledge.

    So why can't the PRC drivers turn around and call their contract an aspiration?

  12. "To keep the price as low as possible, SMRT has to resort to such low salary and poor living conditions."

    But SMRT is making record profits.
    SMRT making record dividend payments to shareholders.
    SMRT paying top salaries to CEO and shareholders.
    But cannot afford to pay a fair salary to all employees?

    And got no choice but to increase fares to Singaporean commuters?

  13. "So asking the CEO and top-tier management to reduce their salary, to increase the salaries of their employees is similar to asking for the moon."

    But this same CEO and top tier management cannot manage on their own.
    Must get handout of $1.1 billion dollars from taxpayers.
    So the taxpayers continue to subsidize the incompetent top management.

  14. what are you trying to say?

  15. Supposing IF AND IF LKY & his family or any of the Cabinet Minister holds substantial shares in SMRT and the cabinet now approves S$1.1b of public funds for SMRT's capital expenditure, what do you think of this kind of arrangement ?

    Can or not ?

    1. And they are now asking me to pay more property tax even though I receive no rental income, so is my property tax increase being channeled to subsidise the SMRT shareholders which I am not ?

      What kind of leaders will allow this type of crap to happer ?

    2. As long as there is a parliamentary majority, who can stop them?
      There is simply no benefit for a Singaporean to vote for the Pro Alien Party.

  16. Past & present SMRT Board sleeping.
    Past SMRT CEO acute short-sighted.
    Current SMRT CEO just came back from holidays.
    Still very well & over-compensated & very fat.

    Much slimming needed.

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