Friday, January 24, 2014

Strike Three

Following the North-South Line (NSL) disruption of Monday 20 Jan 2014, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued a statement saying, "LTA has directed SMRT to provide a full report on the incident, including the recovery measures carried out, and an assessment on what more could be done to help commuters adjust their travel plans."

Yesterday, following the Wednesday night breakdown on the East-West Line (EWL), Transport Minister  Lui Tuck Yew met with SMRT’s CEO Desmond Kuek to convey his "concern and disappointment", and "urged SMRT’s senior management to quickly identify the root causes of the occurrences." And conveniently forgot to ask for the assessment report demanded on Monday. How many times must the Lieutenant General need to be told to get his act together?

Lui already cut him some slack, itemising only the NSL disruption (Kranji-Yew Tee) of 11 Jan, NSL disruption (Sembawang-Marine Bay) of 20 Jan, and EWL disruption of 22 Jan, and skipping the Bukit Panjang LRT failure of 19 Jan. Ah, the George Yeo logic, LRT is not MRT, like integrated resort (IR) is not casino.

In the United States they have the Three-strikes laws which mandate state courts to impose harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses. The name comes from baseball, where a batter is permitted two strikes before striking out on the third.

Baseball may not be popular in Singapore, but it is blatantly obvious the quack CEO is being let off one time too many. Maybe it has to do with his military rank. Lui was only a Rear Admiral before climbing on the GRC gravy train. And the other Rear Admiral, Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean, is also playing second fiddle to the Brigadier General in charge, never to achieve top job unless hell freezes over. Maybe the colour of the uniform does matter.

Then again, Saw Phaik Hwa was sitting pretty for quite a while, even carried shoulder high like Cleopatra on the backs of bare bodied young men, because of official patronage. Technically it was Chew Choon Seng, present Chairman of SGX, and chairman of SMRT board who appointed her in 2002. But her unofficial backer was much more powerful. Perhaps Kuek also has his own god-father, one that has Lui quivering in his Navy blues.

Occam's Razor is a line of reasoning that says the simplest answer is often correct. Perhaps it's just the old boys' network in play. All of them fellas are just covering their rear orifices. Lest the stench of the collusion, like our transportation system, gain world wide attention.
...the decision made by PTC is not an ASS MRT decision...


  1. Singapore Uncle1/24/2014 9:44 AM

    we may just have to wait till someone dies in the MRT before these chappies can be hauled to court. or a whistle blower.

    1. That might happen if the train derails, hopefully on the cooling day of GE2016.

    2. Singapore Uncle1/24/2014 2:22 PM

      that would be wonderful.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Meritocracy at work as decreed by the Emperor. When will hell freeze; only god knows.

  3. To be fair, Lui Tuck Yew and Desmond Kuek can only be judged fairly ten years later. For something important like MRT to fail so badly and consistently, the root cause must be traced back 10 years when Yeo Cheow Tong was Minister for Transport and Saw Phaik Hwa CEO SMRT. The current problems are mere symptoms of past laissez-faire regulation and mismanagement.

    1. //To be fair, Lui Tuck Yew and Desmond Kuek can only be judged fairly ten years later//
      Goes to prove that these guys will never survive the private sector, where many a man ten times better gets the sacking order for one poor financial quarter. And Lee still thinks his merry men deserve million dollar salaries?

    2. //To be fair, Lui Tuck Yew and Desmond Kuek can only be judged fairly ten years later/

      So you are saying the people can only unvote them after 10 years of bad work, management and damage have been done to us? Which world are you living in?
      Does your corporate job in the private sector, no matter how junior or senior you are, continues to pay you for 10 years of mismanagement, only to discover you are clueless on your job? Tell me which meritorious jobs in Singapore pays you millions to be unaccountable for the end results and I * thousands of people like to apply for it too.

    3. Whoever dare to take over a broken system and try to reverse its fall should be encouraged. I am party- and class-blind. Even if we can influence the sacking of Lui and Kuek, that won't guarantee MRT will not break down tomorrow.

    4. Pluck a duck. Tuck a Kuek.

    5. The sound you'll hear on a SMRT train meltdown; wuss wuss wuss.

    6. The old CB Saw should be hauled back to answer as and SMRT should find a way to claw back all her bonus.

  4. There is no difference to the top or bottom ends of the ruling party aperture. They are adept at artificially manipulating the Singaporean with empty promises and are diabolically tuned like an awakened wet dream; they jack-off in full public view with nonsensical data. Moreover, the leaders of this land are clueless to the rules of any vigorous games, preferring to pussyfoot with template excuses rather than getting down to the nitty gritty crux of the problem. They are excruciating to the rule of governance and our need to replace them is imperative for our ongoing survival.

  5. Frankly why do they need a bunch of army generals to run a public rail transport company? What happened to all those engieers they have employed all these years? Are they saying none of them is experienced or good enough compared to these freshie generals?

    Someone must be trying to deceiving us especially after all these years in power?

    1. A military government is slowly creeping up onto unsuspecting Singapore. Preparing for the inevitable defeat of the pappies

    2. You are very right.

      It has being in the making for over 2 decades, they know they need to do it.

    3. Yup. What experience does a paper general have on running a rail company? He will be more at home destroying a railway line - using C4 or bungalow torpedo.

    4. well, we Were warned a bit back that there may come a time when the army may need to step in. and they've been putting the army in place for some years now.

      wonder if we would have won any war if these guys were still in the army, navy etc

  6. Well, Pang Kin Keong was promoted to Permanent Sec of Ministry of Transport after a handicapped Mas Selamat walked out from under the ISD's watch while Pang was ISD director. And now Pang gets to oversee Kwek, so there you go, promotion to the next higher level of incompetence. The worse is that Pang took credit for catching MS even though it was our much more poorly ;paid northern neighbours who did all the work. The civil service is broken, sack the whole lot.

    1. When your henchmen do all your bidding and know where the knuckle dusters are kept, you cannot simply leave them out in the open. They know too much.

      Keep them close and leashed... otherwise they may wander to the other side.

    2. Broken musical chair, but the dance and music goes on. When cant find enough talent mah.

    3. I certainly have my fears for the future of my Singapore. As far as I can recall in recent history, every military regime that took over a country inevitably ran the country to the ground in a relatively short period - think of Burma, many Latin American countries with military regimes, Uganda, Libya, and many others.

  7. Please be reminded that when the SMRT PRC bus drivers strike, Desmond Kuek was on holiday overseas after joining smrt for less than 6 months. He collected more than a million for six months of work including his overseas vacation.

  8. Now it looks like a bus or train driver cannot afford to make the slightest mistake, otherwise it will cost them their job even though they may not be the best paid drivers in the world.

  9. Well, in the meantime, the bubbleologist is onto his 2nd strike, with another piece on SEA bubble. Let's see if his 3rd strike will lead to the rude reality check for red dot. For those who continues to find defend and blame the STI drop for his alarmist's article, they should continue to buy at the market weakness just to prove he is wrong, and they are right, tio bo?

  10. First you get the retailer who knows nothing about trains, then you get the soldier who knows nothing about trains. Now you hope the train will run ok?

    1. From the horse's mouth:

      "... you don’t have to know every instrument, but you got to recognise, ah, he’s a good violinist, he’ll be the first violinist, he’ll be the double bass. He will play the viola, he will have the trumpet, he will do the drums. Then you coordinate them and then you have great music. And if you already have a great orchestra, you can put a dummy there and you still got great music.”

      The replacement of genuine musicians with dummies is now complete with Harry's blessing.

    2. What we have seen very recently:
      ah, he's a good soldier
      ah, he's also a good soldier
      Come, we can form a good orchestra.

    3. Extrapolating from Harry's theory of a music orchestra, you spend billions on F16s and F35s, you got leopard tanks, great submarines and apache helicopters, super missiles, all your men are great warriors, the armed forces are better equiped than all your neighbours combined - you can put dummies there to be the generals and rear admirals and still win the war.

    4. I disagree. Put aside whether a dummy can run an orchestra.

      At the first level - why do we even make the assertion that Kwek, Pang and Lui and co of the elite admins service were once good soldiers or have good brains?

      All these folks were chosen to be future leaders at the ripe old age of 18 years thru exams and interviews. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison etc would have been rejected, as would Warren Buffett and Geroge Soros.

      After what we have seen, the whole nation should now question not just this baseless theory of dummies can run an orchestra, but ask the fundamental question of just what has become of the civil service and mostly, its current leadership of perm secs and directors, and why this world class-paying service failed to even properly manage public services in a small city when just 10 years ago everything seemed to work? My answer is the incentive system implemented since 2007. Ngiam said so, anyone wants to table another reason, feel free. There is no point changing regime if the new politicians continue to sleep with a rotten elite pushing bad policies to the top to feather their own beds.

    5. "...when just 10 years ago everything seemed to work?"

      Exactly 10 years ago the Clown Prince took over the premiership. This the reason why everything turned sour?

  11. Bottom-line:
    SMRT is all fucked up right now.
    What I want to see is a roadmap for improvement with clearly defined milestones to measure the progress on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis.

    If Desmond Kuek is not responsible for telling us what is the problem and what he needs to do in order improve the situation.
    Then who is responsible?
    Lui Tuck Yew?
    Gerard Ee?

    Desmond Kuek is a General ... not a little Ms Tin Pei Ling.
    If Desmond Kuek can't man up and take charge.
    Then this PAP meritocratic system is nothing more than bullshit.
    Because it produced a General who has to hide behind Lui Tuck Yew and Gerard Ee to get himself a fare increase.

    Good thing we are not asking General Desmond Kuek to win a war for us.

    It's a train system for fuck's sake.
    We are not asking for a cure for cancer.

    Did Desmond Kuek apply for the CEO job?
    Then we must sack him if he does not deliver.
    Or was Desmond Kuek appointed to the CEO job?
    In which case we must sack the person who appointed him.

    No more blank checks.
    What is the minimum standard of service that CEO Desmond Kuek can commit to right now?

    Nobody forced Desmond Kuek to apply for or accept the CEO job.
    If you take the job ... you are responsible.
    There must be milestones and deadlines to achieve certain standards.

    We are giving millions away in salaries. So why is nobody accountable for any results?

    So Singaporeans just pay and pay?
    Pay $1 billion dollars subsidy for what?
    Pay fare hike for what?
    What do we get in return?

    If Desmond Kuek is not going to be responsible;
    Then I say we hold LHL and PAP responsible.
    Somebody has to take the blame.
    So either LHL blames Desmond Kuek or we blame LHL.

    No more blank cheques.
    Somebody has to take the blame.

    1. Yah!
      But we still get a train that is stuck... and no matter how many billions we fork out, the next guy ( or gal ) cant fix it either!!

      We need someone who knows trains and systems.
      These people know shit... cant even motivate or manage people properly... just know how to discipline, sack, demote, punish.

    2. The main problem is that PAP fucked up by bringing non engineering people from outside to tackle what is basically an engineering job. Stop talking cock that the army generals are well equipped to tackle any related problems if they themselves know next to nothing about trains.

      If you are one of their long service engineers, would you work your arse out so that someone else will get the credit & benefits as well ?

      So our PAP Minister have pig brains or what ? I think half their problems would have been resolved had they promoted someone experienced enough from within to lead the whole team. This is called solidarity, not the type of solidarity from a bunch of outside army generals !

  12. should get advise from Perm sec of Ministry of Transport former ISD who know the trick of kill or get kill.
    The problem will not be solve because they are all in the same team.Finding scapegoat

  13. Daddy! Daddy!
    My MRT train is broken.
    Daddy! Daddy!
    How ah?

    Nurse: Shhh!
    Your daddy is already senile!
    He needs his sleep.
    Can't you hear him groaning away?
    Aiyoh. Aiyoh. Aiyoh.

  14. Josephine Teo: “It (WP) also opposes operators getting more fares through the adjustment. But, it wants better services. It conveniently avoids the question of how better services are to be paid for… In WP’s world, these things can all be achieved without more effort and resources. Not in the real world.”

    Transport Minister, your transportation system sucks. And you and your ilk have the gall to ask for a fare hike. Only in Josephine Teo and the PAP's world do we pay more for lousy service. Not in the WP's or the real world, and certainly not in my world. My world is our world, and this world is your world....until 2016.

    1. PAP's World
      1. You want PAP to be honest, ... pay PAP a million dollar salary first.
      2. You want a train system that works ... pay a billion dollar subsidy and fare increase first.

      i.e Pay First ... then maybe PAP will actually do the job.

      Singaporeans' World By PAP's Decree
      1. We want a salary increase, first we must improve productivity.

      i.e. Do the job first, ... then maybe PAP will pay you. ... maybe.

    2. PAP MPs like JT is a real pain in the arse.

      Instead of concentrating her efforts in resolving public transport woes, she preferred to engage in petty politics with the opposition party as if all she cares is to defend her incompetent master ?

      Is she trying to vie for the Clown Prince's attention by trying to find ways in how to fix the opposition ? It is quite ironic that WP is taken to tasked whether they choose to speak up or refused to take a stand on some issues which are created first by PAP monsters themselves ?

      Is PAP really run out of way & means to improve on their disastrous public image ?

    3. Yah! A straight answer would do, but...behaving like an attack bitch, and very quick to politicise an issue, calling WP fence-sitters, and wondering why Singaporeans are angry. What moral compass is she setting when she said "… we must not forget to help them (her children) develop their moral compass and their national identity." ???


    1. And they spend $5 million to paint the buses! How sick is that?

    2. Was it another $2 company that did the re-painting job?

  16. Dammed it, just saw the small report of another incident on Friday 24th Jan late evening at Redhill Stn on the ST. That will count as # 5, no ?
    Must be a warning to those keen on gathering this afternoon -25th Jan at Hong Lim Park. Plan to walk most of the way there to preempt this and to show in more ways my disgust of the incompetence of the train operators and the PTC's approval of Fare Hikes .

  17. This should have been front page news on today's paper, but no, they focus on student using the power point to charge her phone - which SMRT claims "could trip the station power circuit".

    A train stalled at Redhill MRT station on Friday night, forcing hundreds of passengers to disembark.

    The train was travelling in the direction of Joo Koon on the East-West Line. The incident occurred at about 11.10pm, according to affected commuters.

    "The train door opened and closed for like 10 times. Then there was an announcement asking passengers to leave the train," said student Sarah Au-Yong, 21, who boarded the train at Outram for Queenstown. "But many of us were still confused. It was only when they turned off the lights in the train that people realised it had broken down."

    Many commuters made a beeline for taxi stands, but some chose to wait for service to resume at the station, she said. The train was still at Redhill MRT station at 11.30pm. There was no mention of the incident on SMRT's official Twitter account.

  18. Support our fellow Singaporeans at Hong Lim.
    Toot your car horn to show your support:
    5pm today, ... wherever you are in Singapore.