Thursday, May 16, 2013

Efficiency - a word coined in Singapore

This morning, I drove to Brickworks Food Centre for breakfast and this was what I saw:

Notice the broken car park barrier.  The time stamp on my iPhone photo says 07:46:07.

After snapping the photograph, I went for breakfast and it didn't take long for the nasi padang and teh tarik to take my mind off this insignificant matter and I forgot all about the broken barrier until I went back to the car park and took another pic:

The time stamp on my photo says 08:35:49.

It took less than an hour for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for this is a URA car park) to replace the broken barrier with a new car park barrier and it all happened in the heavy rain and way before 9am too.

It's very easy to slam the government for a myriad of problems.  I've heard and read complaints of all kinds and the government takes the rap even when there's flooding in Orchard Road.  But how valid are these complaints?  We have all experienced dissatisfied clients, customers, patients and whoever it is we deal with in the course of our work and we know how unjustified some of these complaints are.  But we are quick to be equally unreasonable when it's our turn to be the "customer".  We forget the many blessings we enjoy and while some of us are thinking of emigrating, there are countless other foreigners who can't wait to come and live here.  My advice is simply don't pass up a good deal.

This may be a small incident but it set me thinking.  I thought about life in Singapore and what kind of life it would be if things changed a lot.  Everyone is asking for change, as we see in the recent General Elections in Malaysia.  True, a change would have been good for Malaysia. But the Singapore government is not at all like its Malaysian counterpart, not by a long shot.  My policy is if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


  1. Just to bring you down to earth a bit - it was repaired quickly because money is at stake. Without the barrier, there will be free parking and this is a no-no. Guess how fast the repair job will be if the ERP is down?

    1. Thanks for your comment. While it is true that there's money at stake when the barrier is broken, I don't think there are many who will deny that things do get done in Singapore and pretty quickly too, even when no money is at stake. As far as efficiency goes, Singapore ranks among the top. And I'm not only comparing Sg with other Asian countries which aren't big on efficiency. I'm looking at major European cities, most of which would pale by comparison with Singapore. That is something those of us who live here should extol.

  2. The last sentence is not "proper" English, Sir!