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Dysfunction - All In A Day’s Printing

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  • syntaxerreur
    From: (Mr) Law Sin Ling 1 July 2004 Singapore Review Mr Average Singaporean, or Average as he prefers to be known, is obsessed with the dailies, even though
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2004
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      From: (Mr) Law Sin Ling
      1 July 2004
      Singapore Review

      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
      be `Exceptional'."

      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
      company M-co]

      "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
      chaos reigns?"

      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
      coffee.

      [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


      Footnotes

      (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 –
      Asia Pacific.

      (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!
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