Friday, December 20, 2013

Rude Reminder About Accountability

Award winning film "Fruitvale Station" (Grand Jury Prize at 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Best First Film at 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and others) is about the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident young man killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California.

Oscar had just resolved to turn over a new leaf, throwing away a bag of marijuana instead of making a last sale even though he had just lost his job. On advice from his mother, he took the train instead of driving to the city to welcome the new year. He ran into bad company, resulted in a punch-up, and rounded up by over enthusiastic police officers. Producer Ryan Coogler expressed his motivation to make a film about Grant's last day, "I wanted the audience to get to know this guy, to get attached, so that when the situation that happens to him happens, it’s not just like you read it in the paper, you know what I mean? When you know somebody as a human being, you know that life means something." He succeeded.

The riot that followed the "accidental death" brought about the firing of the officers involved, the general manager and chief of BART police were sacked. Officer Mehserle claimed he mistook his revolver for his Taser, but the jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced him to 2 years in a state penitentiary.

Several witnesses had recorded documentary evidence of the incident at the train station with their cameras and cell phones. There was no such footage to record the last minutes of another young man's life. To date, nobody knows exactly how Dinesh Raman was pummeled into unconsciousness by eight Changi prison guards. Or whether they knew him as a human being, not just another punching bag.

The shirking of accountability is system wide. The damaged cable that disrupted Circle Line operation on Wednesday night is blamed on a contractor when the power-cable replacement is an ongoing exercise initiated by Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) in January this year. The same SMRT that is applying for a hike in train fare when it can't even keep it running on schedule. It looks like a Lt Col Lieutenant-General is doing no better than a DFS salesgirl. SMRT is not running into red ink, the net profit for three months ending September was $14.3 million on revenue of $296 million, not exactly small potatoes. Here's an idea for trimming operating costs: ship the expensive army gang out together with the 53 foreign workers being deported.


  1. Shipping that "gang" out is a good idea but who would take them in? But seriously, why aren't the applications for fare increases be made available to the public for them to provide useful comments and feedback? And why aren't the deliberations by the PTC be conducted in public and with their participation. In the old days even an application for a liquor licence is heard in public and anyone can object. The regress towards opacity and lack of accountability in governance in this little red dot is to be denounced.

  2. Some of the 53 to be deported rioters were interviewed by the COI. I am sure they were also interviewed by MOM and other investigators. Why no word from them or their mouthpiece about the cause of the riot? Happy, unhappy, intoxicated, grudges.....too embarrassing to reveal? They were only too willing to reveal the happiness of those not involved, the investigative nose of Lui, and the conjectures of LHL. Where's the transparency and accountability?

  3. Tattler, should be Lt Gen, not Lt Col.

    1. Tattler should be defence minister for a new govt in 2016.
      He can sack all the jiak liao bee generals and appoint people like me as Gestapo chief to investigate all the previous activities of this current regime. I believe there will be many amongst the 40 % who will gladly do the job for a can never buy satisfaction to bring justice and accountability.

    2. Yes! We love Tatler. The voice of the downtrodden and underdogs! Our hero!

    3. Wrong. Tattler should be PM, not Lt Gen.

  4. Even so, their so-called operation cost could be just moot, heavily markup the operation cost since there is zero accountability when these are managed under PAP govt just like the reserve. They make us believe that their operational cost are great until you find out one day that it is nothing but exaggerated just to get excuse of getting money off the public. Didn't we know that all companies are related to PAP in on way or another ? Greedy bastards .

    Check how a cam in taxi that cost $60 can mark up to $388, grabbing more than $300 profit, and yet can become operational loss ! PAP really think citizens are daft , and continue to be treated as daft ?

    Profit masqueraded as loss in order to get more free public monies.

    Who are they trying to fool again and again ?

  5. Deport the "rioters" without due judicary process to judge them as truely guilty...based on factual evidence product in a court...

    Does those idiots in charge understand a lot of people are looking at singapore....and instead of the people in charge get blame...singapore and its people are seen in the negative instead by overseas gov'ts and organizations..l


    1. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch:
      "Ensuring the rights of defendants will strengthen, rather than weaken, the support of the international community for Singapore's handling of this situation. In this vein, a question worth asking is why were so many migrant workers deported without a judicial proceeding?"

      Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International's Asia Pacific deputy director:
      "The Singapore authorities are moving too quickly. These men should not be arbitrarily deported, as they have a right to due process. These riots should be a wake-up call to the authorities that conditions for migrant workers need to improve, rather than a catalyst for arbitrary deportations."

      No need for F1 to put Singapore on the world map, Little India has just done that and more.

    2. A judicial proceeding will uncover too much dirt. Easier to sweep them under the carpet by deportation, their standard modus operandi.

    3. Which has precedence, your rights or the G's rights? Remember the Dinesh Raman appeal for a Public Inquiry into his death, and turned down by the AGC so that there is “no multiplicity of proceedings that would be a drain on the state’s resources”. The State, in it's infinite wisdom, wants to save costs; the hell with public confidence in our judicial process, or international opinion.

    4. Bringing "scandalising the judiciary" charges helps to build international confidence in our system.

    5. Remember Michael Fay tried in a court for causing a minor nuisance in removing the logo off a luxury car. But now for causing a riot and burning police cars, they rather deport a gang of suspected rioters without convincing them in a court of law with the proper evidence.

      Is that not blatant abuse by circumventing our laws in finding that gang of rioters GUILTY but not as charged according to our laws ? I thought every legal professional in this country are first taught a basic lesson that every accused is "INNOCENT" before they are proven GUILTY in any court of law" ? So how the hell did our law enforcement officers qualify to become professionals in their own right ?

    6. They say that everyone is treated equal in the eyes of our laws.

      But deporting the suspected Indian rioters without even convicting them in a court of law, does it mean that our Law Minister do not treat these deported Indian foreign workers as equal in front of our laws ? What does our Law Minister or Attorney General has to say about what seems to be a blatant abuse of our laws ?

  6. What is PAP's value proposition to Singaporeans?
    i.e. How do we benefit if we vote PAP?

    A profitable SMRT asking for yet another fare hike?
    And this is after getting a $1 billion dollar SUBSIDY from Sinkies, thanks to the generosity of the PAP government?
    Is this true?

    The usual once every 50 years;
    a. riot
    b. escaping terrorists
    c. floods
    d. bus strikes
    e. record dengue fever
    f. record chikugunya
    g. is this list of alleged incompetency complete? Is there more?

    Goodness! The list keeps growing.
    A trend seems to be emerging.

    I don't know if it's fair to blame all this on the PAP government.
    What do you think?
    Bad luck or incompetence?
    Do you think our Opposition parties can do better?
    How much worse can an untested Opposition government do for Singaporeans?

    Do you think it's time we voted in an Opposition government?
    Before things get worse after GE 2016?

    This current PAP government was groomed by no less than Lee Kuan Yew.
    Will things get better after GE 2016 when Lee Hsien Loong starts grooming the next PAP team?
    What do you think?

    1. I don't like PAP and hoping for their end. But look at WP are they impressive. Pritam and Gerald showed some colors. Silvia once in a while. Others are flop. No use having a compliant opposition. They need not oppose for the sake but at least should be robust and dynamic. How to expect change with such people? Our opposition must merge to offer a credible govt to replace PAP.

  7. In name, the red dot has a free market, in practice garmen decides annual increments for transport and prevent new competition from destroying the TLCs, garmen decides how much you pay for telephone by giving the 3 telcos (all linked to Temasek) exclusive operation of the fibre network, they decide which taxi companies can expand (Temasek linked ones of course), they decide for you that you must take their "public transport" with the COE system, they decide how much you pay for houses by pegging the HDB "subsidised prices" at a level to ensure you lock up your CPF forever and depend on their banks for loans for all your working lives, they decide your healthcare costs, they decide even your relatives cremation costs, your groceries costs (NTUC and SS). And of course they control (aka suppress) your wages by opening the door wide open for towkays to import cheap foreign workers.

    Everything else, you can decide, if you have money left :)

    1. But 60% Sinkies decided to trust PAP with their lives and money.

    2. SinCity basically a North Korea ruled by dictatorship whose ruler have vast interest in money-making business for their families and lackeys to milk the citizens while masqueraded as modern democratic country.

  8. Accountability means responsibility. They are responsible for all the good things, like building this paradise from a malaria and snake infested fishing village.

    The basic premise is that they can do no wrong, even when they reverse into a taxi, the fault lies with the taxi driver.

    All those trying to pin the blame on them have to be silenced before they lose the vote.

  9. The stork just delivered new PAP baby!

  10. Foreigners please take note:
    Commissioner of police Ng Joo Hee has said, “It is not uncommon that police give warnings. But because the persons who received the warnings, in this case, are foreigner... So they are then deemed as undesirable immigrants in our country. And then there are powers that the state has, to proclaim someone a prohibited immigrant and to remove him from the country.”

    The Commissioner does not need to explain why anyone can be proclaimed to be a prohibited immigrant, and can be removed from the country without a chance to tell his version of the story. All Singaporeans, need we forget, originated from migrants. Ng is a dangerous man.

  11. Apparently the buck stops at nowhere.

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