Dysfunction - All In A Days Printing
- From: (Mr) Law Sin Ling
1 July 2004
Mr Average Singaporean, or Average as he prefers to be known, is
obsessed with the dailies, even though the sense of rip-off from the
last poorly justified retail price hike still hangs heavily in the
Hippocampus of his biologically developed brain.
"Average I am," he would muse, "But I am unquestionably multi-
lingual. I can comprehend English, Skulduggery, Divertissement, and
Incapacity to name a few. Hmm, I certainly qualify to
The state-regulated press churns out copious amount of disinformation
which overloads the senses and challenges the sanity of any
clearheaded reader, not less Average. But with typical recluse
bravado, Average will dauntlessly plunge into the murk and attempt to
employ his impressive repertoire of counter-information-terrorism
measures to break a few bones of contention. The "dossiers" of the 1
July 2004 sit inches in front of him.
"Let's see ," he mused, working up a scowl as he surveyed the titles.
[THE elite commando unit has re-established itself as the Singapore
Armed Forces' finest after recapturing the Best Combat Unit trophy,
shrugging off a troubling year gone by]
"Now isn't that amusing?" he quipped, "This is a unit with a scroll
of records of abuse and scandals easily a hundred folds those of
Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib combined. It lost the crown last year due
to massive fraudulent doctoring of IPPT records. And 4 of their
officers just murdered a trainee through unauthorized training
procedure. If a SAF unit with the most dubious distinction qualifies
for `BEST', I can't imagine the situations in the also-rans! There is
something not rational and just in this development."
[The retail price of electricity jumped by 50 times during the
blackout to hit $4,500 per megawatt-hour(MWh) from $90 per MWh
Power generation companies put their electricity on sale every half-
hour on the wholesale electricity pool, called the National
Electricity Market of Singapore run by the Energy Market Company, a
joint venture by the regulator, Energy Market Authority, and private
"Hey wait a minute!" he jolted straight up into a megawatt pose, "The
power industry regulator in a joint business venture selling
electricity! The traffic regulator LTA selling EZ-Link cards and
getting a commission for its usage, plus non-refundable deposit,
plus ," Average was shaking slightly from indignation, "Why are
Singapore's civil regulators turning into cash alligators, while
And just for a brief moment, the catch-phrase "conflict of interest"
flashed by in a hurry. He dismissed it readily and took a sip of
[EMA cannot take ConocoPhillips to task since the gas supply is from
Indonesia and outside its jurisdiction blackout backup plans didn't
work EMA can fine a power plant up to $1 million, or 10 per cent of
its revenue, if there is negligence. When asked if anyone will be
penalised for the blackout, EMA said a decision will be made after
investigations are completed. But in a competitive market, penalties
slapped on suppliers might well end up being passed to consumers]
Plooosh!!!! Out came the mouthful of coffee with the conclusion of
the last line of the article.
"So once again," the normally placid Average protested over the
blotched article, "demand for accountability for the government's
incompetence and mismanagement is translated to a penalisation of the
hapless public. And once again, a sacrosanct foreign firm is spared.
And while the gas supplier is "untouchable", the supply moderator in
no way enjoys that immunity. How did EMA conclude that ConocoPhillips
is `outside its jurisdiction'? The company had signed a business
contract with Singapore (see footnote 1 and 2) hadn't it! And did not
some wisecrack Ministers talk at length about supply reliability,
resilience, and a hoard of unbelievable preventive measures in 2002
and 2003 (see footnote 3 and 4)? Talk about hot gas!"
Average needed a brief moment to regain his composure to avoid
passing out (blackout).
[The drop in housing demand has put the brakes on the Punggol 21
vision of a desirable waterfront estate with a target of about 96,000
homes only 15,000 HDB flats sit on the estate...unknown occupancy
rate LRT station but it's not running yet The forward-looking plan
was unveiled during the 1996 National Day rally and construction
began in mid-1998 Some of the ideas included a mix of housing types,
six to eight clubs run on different themes, a regional park on Coney
Island and two seaside villages with shops and food The concept
initially fired the imagination of home buyers But that did not
translate into demand has to walk 10 minutes to the nearest bus
stop..it's so quiet that can't even get a taxi during non-peak hours
Slowdown factor-Falling birth rates]
Average felt the exponential elevation of his blood pressure once
again. And he just could not shut his mind up.
"Doesn't that just epitomise the impaired vision of our elected
leaders. From Zurich (Swiss-standard), to Zen (Punggol
21 "meditation/dream"), and finally, to ZILCH. Singapore is in real
trouble if we stick to these myopic masquerading charlatans. Who
voted them into office anyway? And look on who they laid the blame?
Yep, the populace too financially constrained to contemplate child-
rearing and loan repayment, concurrently."
[Anticipating a great demand for flats over time, the LTA shot ahead
with the building of the Punggol LRT system A cool $354 million
later, the system is still not running LTA insists it is still
testing the system And when it hands over the whole system to
operator SBS Transit, more tests would have to be carried out In
accounting practice, the LRT project is incurring paper losses LTA
could not say how many households are needed to make operations
viable in Punggol Do you let it depreciate and serve nobody or do you
serve whoever is there and drain the bottom-line predicts the Punggol
LRT system is likely to lose money]
"Those poor residents in Punggol are about to be stabbed on the back,
a second time", cried Average who is by now visibly touchy, "Looks
like Buangkok and NEL sky-high fare redux. History does repeat itself
when wicked dispositions are absorbed and endured without the will to
seek alternative recourse."
Average's mind drifted invariably to the democratic institution,
which fortunately remains is in place for citizens to exercise their
desire for genuine improvements and changes.
[The letter, which stated that he had 'received demerit points for
traffic offences', also 'strongly' urged him to attend a free road
safety course at one of three driving centres .Due to a 'technical
error', the Traffic Police mistakenly sent similar letters to more
than 53,000 people with clean records all been an honest mistake]
Average thought with eyes agape, "Machines (computers) facilitate
work. They do not replace human labour! I just cannot yieldingly
accept that a perfunctory excuse is employed to mitigate for
dereliction of duty! These `honest mistakes' are becoming far too
dishonest in my opinion."
Average was fast losing appetite for the rest of his breakfast.
[Crane arm falls 13 floors at site of new national library the
construction company is Nishimatsu-Lum Chang, which is also the main
contractor for the Nicoll highway station]
Average nearly bit his tongue off its root as he exclaimed, "Now I'm
sure LTA will be very delighted to see Nichimatsu in the line of
fire, with the press swaying public opinion against the firm, and
relieving LTA of the responsibility in the Nicoll incident! All very
cunning I say!"
Average tossed the papers away, and was mentally haunted for the rest
of the day with the word Dysfunctional.
(Mr) Law Sin Ling
(1) "In 1998, Pertamina and Sembawang Engineering and Construction
finalized an agreement - with the support of Conoco - for the first
international sale of natural gas from offshore Indonesia to
Singapore, via pipeline" Conoco's Major Projects Indonesia Gas.
(2) "In 2000, deliveries of natural gas began under Conoco's
groundbreaking agreement to supply 1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of
Indonesian gas to Singapore (through the Conoco-operated West Natuna
Transportation System). In mid-2001, gas from the Conoco-operated
Block B fields began flowing to Singapore. Gulf Indonesia also is a
party to the Singapore contract, producing from the Kakap Block in
the West Natuna Sea. Gulf Indonesia has three other gas contracts,
including one to provide gas to Singapore from its fields onshore
Sumatra" Conoco's 2001 Annual Report Exploration and Production
(3) "Sir, a disruption in the natural gas supply from West Natuna,
Indonesia led to the tripping of seven gas fired generation plants at
10.00 am on 5th August 2002 The EMA and the power companies will
spare no efforts in making our electricity system more resilient
against fuel supply disruptions even as we move towards greater use
of natural gas in the future" - The Minister of State for Trade and
Industry (Mr Raymond Lim Siang Keat) (for the Minister for Trade and
industry), Parliamentary sitting 27/8/2002 on Safety Mechanism
Against Major Blackout.
(4) The Minister of State for Trade and Industry (Dr Vivian
Balakrishnan) (for the Minister for Trade and Industry),
Parliamentary sitting 16/10/2003 on Power Failure In Singapore
(Preventive Measures). Not for the faint-hearted!