Just a week ago, Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan was in a celebratory mood. Two of five MRT lines went 100 days without major disruptions. He said it was “especially inspiring” for the North-South Line because it is the oldest line in Singapore.
That was on 19 April.
Not surprisingly, Minister Khaw got lambasted for being in such a celebratory mood. Because less than a month before Minister Khaw’s celebration, two young lives were lost in a tragic SMRT accident.
The review panel tasked to look into the accident has completed its investigation and released its report. The short version is that there were safety procedures, but those safety procedures were not followed. The report raises more questions than it answers. Bertha Henson’s piece in TMG has a great summary of the questions that are still left hanging.
Maybe the spirits of the two young men who lost their lives also felt aggrieved by the lack of answers in the report. Perhaps that’s why they decided to send a signal to SMRT. Perhaps that’s why the power went down at multiple train stations, causing unprecedented disruptions to three MRT lines and one LRT line.
Commuters were left in the dark. Literally.
More than 30 stations were plunged into darkness, with only emergency lighting left working. Oh. And the gantries too.
Apparently even when things were going FUBAR, SMRT, a Temasek linked company, is STILL able to suck money from commuters. We should be glad for that. Given that a chunk of the profits from all Temasek linked companies go toward the Net Invest Returns Contribution, and part of that goes toward funding our government’s budget.
Minister Khaw and everyone in SMRT have their work cut out for them. The problems stem from a deep rot that has gone on for very long. It’s not easy. But hey… Minister Khaw and the top executives in SMRT are paid multi-million dollar annual salaries. It’s their job to get things fixed. Otherwise pay them so much money for what?
And if human effort alone isn’t enough, perhaps they need to enlist some divine intervention. To get rid of the bad luck, appease the spirits, and bring in some good fortune. Maybe that would help…