Thursday, 23 November 2017

20 Saddest Words In The English Language

back-to-school
Back To School

goodbye
Goodbye

heartbroken
Heartbroken

if-only
If Only

it-might-have-been
It Might Have Been

lonely
Lonely

love
Love

melancholy
Melancholy

terminal
Terminal

what-party
What party?

bully
Bully

manipulative
Manipulative

screwup
Screwup

weasel
Weasel

backstabber
Backstabber

psycho
Psycho

snake-in-the-grass
Snake in the grass

gossip
Gossip

deceitful
Deceitful

arrogant
Arrogant

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

MRT breakdowns are Singapore’s cross to bear

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong uploaded the following photo on his Facebook page and indicated that Singapore’s frequent MRT breakdowns are the nation’s cross to bear

The veteran politician also compared MRT issues here to Bangkok’s persistent road traffic issues. Bangkok’s traffic jams are considered one of the world’s worsts.
“Bangkok bears its traffic cross, Singapore its frequent MRT breakdowns”
It is unclear what ESM Goh’s comment comparing Singapore’s public train issues to Bangkok’s traffic issues is supposed to imply. One could speculate that the ESM is perhaps implying that commuters should just live with transport issues here like how those living in Bangkok put up with traffic issues in the Thai capital.

Goh’s comment was posted yesterday, just a day before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged this morning that the people’s frustrations over persistent MRT issues are understandable, but asserted that efforts to improve public train transport are showing results.

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MRT incidents have hurt public confidence
PM Lee addressed the public transportation system for the first time since the recent train collision at Joo Koon station

Noting the collision and other recent incidents, such as the tunnel flooding between Bishan and Braddell stations, PM Lee acknowledged that these incidents “loom large in the public consciousness”  and public confidence has been hurt.

He said that the issue is a very complicated one to solve, but voiced his support for Minister for Transport (MOT) Khaw Boon Wan and his team at both the MOT and the Land Transport Authority, were “extremely disappointed” with the recent incidents.

Nevertheless, he stressed the need to “learn the right lessons from (the incidents), get to the root of the problems and put things right”. He also said that the train delays “should go away” in a year following the full completion of the signalling system upgrade on the North-South East-West Lines.

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PM: It will take time to improve MRT system

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sought to give the beleaguered MRT system a boost yesterday when he pointed out that it ranks among the top 4 metro systems worldwide for reliability.

Citing a Nov 18 New York Times article that slammed New York City's subway, he said data on the world's 20 biggest metros shows that Singapore ranks with Taipei, Hong Kong & Los Angeles as cities with trains arriving on time more than 99% of the time.

Singapore's MRT network has been hit by a spate of serious incidents, including the train collision at Joo Koon station last week which left 38 people injured.

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We must get to root of MRT problems, put it right: PM Lee
We must get to root of problems, put it right
The Bishan flooding & Joo Koon collision hurt public confidence in the MRT, & should not have happened

"But they have, and we must learn the right lessons from them, get to the root of the problems, & put things right," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday at the People's Action Party (PAP) Convention.

While commuters were still coming to terms with the flooding at Bishan MRT tunnel last month, a train collision at Joo Koon last week left 36 people injured.

PM Lee, who is also the PAP's secretary-general, acknowledged Singaporeans' frustration over rail reliability, despite statistics showing that train delays and breakdowns have gone down.

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People frustrated by incidents on public transport system: PM Lee
There are lessons to be learned from the recent problems on the MRT network & the causes need to be established so that things can be put right

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this on Sunday (Nov 19) at the People's Action Party's convention, which was held at Big Box in Jurong.

"We have made progress, but there have been setbacks," said Mr Lee, pointing to the train collision last week at Joo Koon station which left 36 people injured, & October's flooding in a tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations which resulted in the suspension of services for about 20 hours.

People are frustrated & worried by such incidents and "understandably so", said Mr Lee.

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MRT incidents like Joo Koon collision should not have happened; we must put things right: PM Lee
pap.jpg
Major rail disruptions such as the flooding at Bishan & a train collision last week at Joo Koon have shaken public confidence, & should not have happened, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

"But they have, and we must learn the right lessons from them, get to the root of the problems, & put things right," said PM Lee on Sunday (Nov 19) at the annual People's Action Party convention.

The MRT network has been hit by a spate of woes, including the train collision at Joo Koon last week which left 36 people injured.

PM Lee said such disruptions "loom large in the public consciousness", & are a reason why the public does not feel that rail reliability has improved even though statistics show there are "fewer delays & breakdowns than before".

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Acknowledging public confidence hurt by recent incidents, PM Lee urges public to support Khaw Boon Wan and his team

Speaking at the People's Action Party (PAP) convention held on Sunday (19 Nov) at the Big Box in Jurong, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged that the tunnel flooding near Bishan MRT station and train collision at Joo Koon MRT station should not have happened and the incidents have "hurt public confidence a lot".

"Last month, we had the tunnel flooding in Bishan... and the Joo Koon collision, loom large in the public consciousness," said PM Lee and "understandably" that people are frustrated and worried by such incidents.

He stressed the need to learn the right lessons from the incidents, get to the root of the problems and put things right.

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Khaw Boon Wan has “our full support and confidence” – PM Lee says at PAP Convention 2017

Opining that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has one of the toughest jobs in Cabinet, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asserted this morning that Khaw has the People’s Action Party’s full support and confidence, to applause from other party members:
“I want Boon Wan and his team to know that they have our full support and confidence.”
The head of government was speaking at this year’s PAP convention, held at the Big Box in Jurong this morning.

Pointing to the train collision at Joo Koon station earlier this week that caused at least 36 people to sustain injuries and the MRT tunnel flooding incident last month that caused a 20-hour service disruption, PM Lee said: “We have made progress, but there have been setbacks.”

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Once a Source of National Pride, Our MRT has become an International Laughing Stock
redwire-singapore-international-news-train-collision

The MRT system, once a source of national pride, has today become an international laughing stock following a train collision this morning at Joo Koon MRT station.

The crash which saw 28 people injured and sent Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan to scrambling to issue a public apology just a day after an “Appreciation Day” was held for public transport workers, has gained international traction from Asia to Europe, to the Middle East. Bloomberg News didn’t mince its words:
“The incident is the latest blemish in a city known for its efficiency, tree-lined highways and slick infrastructure. Singapore’s mass transit system has been strained as the population expanded, leading to multiple breakdowns and delays especially in the past six years, symptomatic of a learning curve the city faces as it upgrades infrastructure rapidly to cope with more people.”
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Hat Trick for SMRT’s misfortunes
Thor - God of Thunder

SMRT has scored a hat trick for the number of misfortunes within a short period of time, when lightning purportedly struck one of its train today afternoon, landing the train captain in hospital.

On or about 4 pm today (20 Nov), a train which was approaching Bedok MRT station was purportedly struck by lightning. As a result, the captain was sent to CGH and warded for observation. The incident also caused delays and passengers in the affected train were also asked to disembark at Bedok MRT station.

The incident was confirmed by a spokesman for SMRT, Mr Patrick Nathan in the evening:

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In the SMRT war room: The point of contact

What a horrible month it had been! He had been trying so hard to fix those legacy issues over the past five years. People don’t seem to understand that getting things right takes time. He thought about the reasons that had been given:
  • MRT system built on the cheap because G didn’t have enough cash then. (That was a good one! The people involved were probably already dead or retired.)
  • Not enough engineers, so he was recruiting more and there was now an LTA Academy. (Damn that piece of fake news which said he was cutting down on staff!)
  • Not enough down time to repair trains and tracks which is why operating hours will be shortened. (He was sure commuters will be unhappy about this.)
  • Individuals not following SOP and doing what they are supposed to do. (Well, he’s offered an amnesty to slackers and he’s now figuring out what to do with them… )
  • Complicated replacement of signaling system. (Commuters were already told to expect delays, but he should have added to expect injuries too.)
He himself had thrown in “deep-seated cultural issues“ but he never thought that someone would check the records and point out that he said the same thing five years ago. This was a war that had been going on for too long. He was battle-weary, battle-scarred, and under siege. He felt as though he was leading the charge of the Light Brigade.

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Lightning Strikes MRT Train, Disrupting Train Service; Train Captain Injured
redwire-singapore-smrt-train-lightning-strike

Looks like even the Lightning God wants to chup jit kah and tekan beleaguered Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and volunteer SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek!

An MRT train on the East-West Line was struck by lightning and stalled near Bedok station a little past 4pm today, causing about 10 minutes of delay to journey times between Tanah Merah and Paya Lebar.

Passengers had to detrain at Bedok MRT station and the train was withdrawn from service for investigation.

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'Lightning strike' near Bedok MRT, train captain warded at CGH

An SMRT train captain has been warded for observation at Changi General Hospital (CGH), after one of the rail operator’s trains was apparently struck by lightning near Bedok station on Monday (20 November) afternoon.

SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan said that the rail operator is currently investigating the incident as a possible lightning strike.

“A westbound train heading towards the city stalled as it was approaching Bedok MRT station. Passengers were detrained at Bedok station, and the train was withdrawn from service for investigation. After the incident, the Train Captain, who said he was unwell, is receiving medical attention,” said Nathan.

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SMRT Hits Jackpot With All Three MRT Lines Breaking Down In One Single Day
North-South Line, East-West Line, And Circle Line All Broke Down

Reported by virtually every news and media outlet available, the train collision at Joo Koon MRT Station in the morning rush hours of Wednesday (15 Nov) was most certainly the talk of the town. However, perhaps more interesting was that all three of SMRT’s MRT Lines experienced a disruption — on the same day.

Almost half a day after the Circle and East-West Lines were reported to have train faults, SMRT tweeted at the evening peak hour that up to 40 minutes of travel time was to be added when commuting on the North-South Line.

That’s right — 15 Nov 2017 was the day when SMRT hit the jackpot with all three lines causing big delays.

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2 SMRT trains collided at Joo Koon MRT Station, at least 23 passengers and 2 SMRT staff injured
It was another bad day for commuters on Nov. 15, as an SMRT train collided with another stationary train at Joo Koon MRT station at about 8:30 am in the morning

According to SMRT passenger Mei Anne, she was on the train which hit the stationary train in Joo Koon Station. She added that she fell over as a result of the collision, along with other passengers, and that she hurt her back in the fall.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force confirmed in a Facebook post at about 10:45 am that they had been alerted to an incident at Joo Koon MRT Station earlier in the morning.

The SCDF stated that 23 injured passengers had been sent to hospitals, with a majority of them sustaining “minor injuries”.

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SMRT flooding incident: Maintenance team signed off on work that was not done; staff suspended
A malfunction in the water pumping system at Bishan MRT station caused rainwater to collect in the MRT tunnel, resulting in train service disruption on Oct 7 & 8. FOTO: ST READER

Preliminary investigations by train operator SMRT have found that a maintenance team in charge of a pump system, which eventually failed and caused a massive 20-hr disruption, signed off on work that they had not done.

The manager & staff responsible for the maintenance of the Bishan pump system have been suspended & are assisting in investigations, said SMRT in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 31) evening.

Records for quarterly maintenance works for December 2016, as well as in March & June this year were submitted but investigations found that track access approvals were not issued for these dates.

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Minister Khaw Boon Wan: It’s an awful day

After being silent for over 12 hours, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan came out from hiding to score political points this evening (Nov 15) and gave his comments on the slew of train breakdowns happened today. The Transport Minister said that his fellow million-dollar ministers are out in full force paying visits to the train collision victims:
“It’s an awful day. Commuters were inconvenienced and some were even injured. So we are deeply sorry for that. Those who were injured and are in hospitals, the Second Minister (for Transport), Ng Chee Meng as well as Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Lam (Pin Min) visited all of them. They have been most understanding and we are deeply grateful.”
Minister Khaw Boon Wan then passed the blame to the signalling contractor, Thales, and said that the US-based contractor will do a “thorough check”.

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Why should Khaw Boon Wan take the hit for MRT breakdowns? He is not Minister for Trains

No one expected Ministry of Transport to be an easy portfolio to helm. Not even Khaw Boon Wan himself who got arrowed to fix the transport issues since 2015.

When the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew met former Transport Minister Raymond Lim (the guy before Lui Tuck Yew), he already said this:
“This is a thankless job…but somebody has to do it!”
So when Minister Khaw took up the hot seat at the ministry, no one said anything until the trains started to breakdown. Well, that’s also understandable because when people are frustrated, they tend to find a punching bag to vent their frustrations. And if it’s not targeted at the SMRT management then it’s usually directed at the next person in line that is “paid” and “elected” to do the job. That happens to be the Minister for Transport.

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The flooding fiasco: The G is getting soft(er?)

LAST night, an old friend accused me of getting soft in my old age. I was saying that I felt sorry for poor Khaw Boon Wan after listening to him in Parliament earlier. At times, he looked like he was about to dissolve in exasperation.

I have had a night to sleep over the matter.

And now I ask myself: what would Lee Kuan Yew have done?

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Youtube: Hara Kiri - Khaw Boon Wan

related:
MRT breakdowns are Singapore’s cross to bear
MRT from "Rolling Stock To Laughing Stock"
MRT tunnel flooding 'preventable, sad and unnecessary'
8 religious leaders “pray” for new train line
Navy fires commander of 7th Fleet after deadly USS McCain collision
Fresh round of signalling fault delays hit NSL & DTL
MRT gets more reliable despite rise in breakdowns
MRT hit by delays again due to signalling fault
MRT disruptions caused by signalling faults
Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable
Train disruptions under new Minister of Transport
Train service disrupted on N-S, E-W Lines
Recap of recent Train service disruptions
Recent Train Disruptions
Two SMRTstaff killed by an oncoming train
Transport Woes #2
Transport Woes #1
Transport Woes - A Picture Story
Mixed Reactions To Announcement Of Free MRT Rides
Strange & inappropriate behaviour on public transport
Burned by mystery liquid in trains and bus stop
SMRT subway trains recalled after defects found

Sunday, 19 November 2017

International Men's Day 2017

Is there an International Men's Day?

Yes, it takes place on November 19 each year and is celebrated in 60 countries around the world.

The objectives of the day include a focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.

It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.

The month of November is also  a chance for men to take part in the popular 'Movember' charity event, by growing facial hair for charity sponsorship.

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