Archive for June, 2005

It could be better

Friday, June 24th, 2005

In LA, peak hour traffic is a nightmare. Traffic literally comes to a stand still on highways. The bus system isn’t the most efficient there is, and the metro rail doesn’t even come close to our MRTs. Homeless people are a part of the streets.

Compared to LA, Singapore is better off in a lot of ways. Our peak hour traffic can be bad, but it’s not bad till the point where wish you had stayed off the road till the traffic had subsided. In fact, driving is still considered to luxury, and not a necessity, as we have a very efficient transport system in Singapore.

I won’t deny that I do enjoy the payment system they have laid out here though. In San Francisco, you pay a flat fee of $1.25 from the start of your destination to the end on the MUNI, even if it means changing buses and hoping on the rail. It’s similar too for the Los Angeles Metro. I believe that they are able to do this because it’s supported by the government.

Yet I believe that things in Singapore could still be better. While our transportation system might be efficient to some point now, it could be made more efficient. While MRT connects the nation well, it’s still not a very fast mode of transportation. It’s a good form of transportation, as it runs seperately from road traffic, and so is not subjected to peak hour traffic.

If only MRTs could go one level deeper – build an express line, with limited stops. These limited stops would still be linked to the normal train line, where people can then just go one level up and transfer to a normal train to get to the stop nearest to their destination. It would help lessen traffic a lot, and speed things up. The bus equilvalent would be the Express buses.

It’s no secret that Singapore is small. Every summer when I return, I find Singapore getting more and more saturated. There are more people on the street for one. Even advertising is evading every available area, with every glass panel on an MRT being stuff with adverts, or even funny stuff dangling off the handrails of SBS buses. And who can forget the annoying tvs in the MRT stations looping adverts like The Best Bet’s “bai liu li bai, hui bu hui kai“, subjecting the people there to pure torture.

Singapore is so small, that it’s so hard for young entrepreneur have a hard time starting up, not only because there are so many others trying to start up, but also because it’s hard to compete against the big companies already well established in Singapore.

And then I read off Singapore Commentary that the Government is encouraging more foreign talent in, this time from India. Yes I know we Singaporeans aren’t doing our ‘duty’ of producing 2.1 kids. Yes I know Singapore depends on it’s people as resources. But is ‘importing’ really a solution to a country that’s already getting more and more packed?

And you wonder why everyone wants to get out of the country. Our country is not even giving us the opportunity to make it on our own. The government is not helping it’s own people, choosing to import ready made ‘talents’ instead. Even capable youths are starting to feel that there is no long term future in this place they called home.

As long as the government doesn’t change the way it does things, Singaporeans are going to feel less and less like they belong. More and more Singaporeans will migrate. Soon, all that is left of Singapore, is once again that of immigrants. It’s a viscious cycle that will continue, till something is done.

Singapore has the potential to be a lot better, but she is being stifled.

I would like to think that limited space is the issue. Yet somehow deep down, it seems that even if Singapore was more spaced out, the issues will remain. As long as the head doesn’t change, the body will remain contrained.

    “# If you’re a man, do NOT offer to shake a woman’s hand unless she initiates the gesture.” – guidelines offered by the Singapore Tourism Board for visiting NY delegates (from New York Daily News via From a Singapore Angle)