Thursday, 19 October 2017

MRT tunnel flooding 'preventable, sad and unnecessary'

SCDF photos show knee-deep flood waters in tunnel between Braddell & Bishan MRT stations

The Singapore Civil Defence Force has been lauded by the public for working tirelessly through the night and day to bring North-South Line MRT services back on track.

New photos shared by SCDF showed their personnel at times in knee-high waters in the tunnel as they carried out their rescue operation of the MRT system.

The SCDF said they received a call for assistance at about 7pm on Saturday night after the tunnel between Braddell and Bishan became flooded with rainwater.

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SMRT maintenance team at Bishan 'failed us' during NSL disruption: Khaw Boon Wan
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan addresses reporters at a media briefing on the North-South Line disruption of 7 October, on Monday, 16 Oc, 2017. PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan lambasted the SMRT personnel in charge of anti-flooding measures at Bishan MRT, even as he apologised for the massive North-South Line disruption earlier this month that affected some 250,000 commuters.

“The incident on the evening of October 7 was preventable … We are all sorry that it did. (But) if you ask me, it’s too embarrassing to even talk about it. It is so simple that it should not have happened…yin gou li fan chuan,” said Khaw, using a Chinese proverb that means failing at a simple task.

“That’s why we have to nail down who (is) responsible. I look to SMRT to do what is right …something must happen to the staff.”

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Khaw Boon Wan apologises for tunnel flooding. Calls incident 'preventable', 'sad and unnecessary'

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan & SMRT bigwigs yesterday apologised for the MRT tunnel flooding incident that led to a 20-hr train disruption affecting more than a quarter of a million commuters

Addressing the Oct 7 weekend incident for the first time, Mr Khaw said at a media briefing in Bishan depot: "The bottomline is MRT tunnels should not be flooded, full stop." He later added: "The SMRT team in charge of maintaining the anti-flood system at Bishan has failed us."

Calling the incident "preventable" & "sad & unnecessary", Mr Khaw acknowledged that it has affected public confidence in SMRT. "It should not have happened. We are all sorry that it did," he added.

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SMRT replaces senior staff days after 20-hour NSL disruption: Internal memo
SMRT replaces senior staff days after 20-hour NSL disruption: Internal memo
The crowd of commuters waiting for free shuttle buses at the bus stop opposite Bishan MRT station after train services from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier were suspended on Oct 7, 2017. Foto: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

Rail operator SMRT has replaced a senior staff member involved in maintenance, according to an internal memo on Thursday (Oct 12).

This came hours after the publication of a news report which blamed inadequate maintenance of a water-pumping system for the tunnel flooding that disrupted train services for more than 20 hrs on the North-South Line (NSL) last weekend.


Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, which broke the news, added that SMRT staff overseeing equipment maintenance could be transferred out of their posts for failing in their duties.

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Bishan maintenance team leader removed; staff bonuses affected
SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming at a dialogue on Oct 16 about a flooding incident in MRT tunnels

The leader of a team in charge of anti-flooding maintenance was removed & the bonuses of the team's members will be affected, SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming said on Monday (Oct 16) at a dialogue on train disruptions caused by a flooding incident.

"When the incident occurred, I decided to remove the team leader immediately. I think the team members' bonuses will be affected," Mr Seah said, adding that their bosses' bonuses will also be impacted.

"Today we show that we take full responsibility of the failure & we definitely take full responsibility for the transport services we provide," he said. Mr Seah added: "If the thing fails, due to whatever reason, you take responsibility ... that's the message to each & everyone in SMRT."

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15 Quotes From Transport Bigwigs At SMRT’s Post-Flood Press Conference

It has been a long time coming, but SMRT leaders have finally step forward to apologize for the ever-reliable train faults that have continuously occurred throughout the year.

In a dialogue session with the media, Ministry for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek and SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming addressed the company’s failure to prevent the recent flooding at Bishan MRT on 7 Oct. The flooding was one of the biggest train faults this year, and disrupted services for nearly 20 hours.

Except, their press conference was more of a bungled apology. Let’s take a look at what the bigwigs said.

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Netizens savagely rip apart Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT CEO’s apologies

Trasnport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT’s top brass – SMRT CEO Desmond Quek and SMRT Corporation and SMRT Trains chairman Seah Moon Ming – finally addressed the tunnel flooding incident that caused a massive North-South Line (NSL) breakdown two weeks ago.

In the country’s first train disruption due to flooding, six stations were shut down – affecting a quarter of a million commuters. The Minister, Quek and Seah apologised to the public in a press conference yesterday evening.

Khaw blamed the flooding on poor maintenance, explaining that the “anti-flooding system there was poorly maintained” and caused rainwater to accumulate.

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Minister Khaw Boon Wan: SMRT has failed us

At a joint Land Transport Authority and SMRT press conference today (Oct 16), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan defended himself against all criticisms over the recent train tunnel flooding by pushing all blame to SMRT:
“The Saturday incident, (on) October 7 evening, was sad and unnecessary – but preventable. It should not have happened. We are all sorry that it did … Our findings is that the anti-flooding system there had been poorly maintained… The SMRT team in charge of maintaining the anti-flood system at Bishan has failed us. Basically, MRT tunnels are designed to handle our weather, and can cope with very extreme storms, far more severe than what we experienced in the last two weeks… (The) bottomline is that MRT tunnels should not be flooded. Full stop.”
Joining S$1.1 million-a-year Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan are the two ex-military men SMRT CEOs Desmond Kuek and Lee Ling Wee who each took S$1.8 million last year, the trio staged a fake apology without volunteering a resignation or pay cut.

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MRT tunnel flooding: How it happened

Investigations after the Oct 7 incident found that a storm water pit in the tunnel between Bishan & Braddell MRT stations - designed to collect and pump out rainwater - was likely close to full before the recent flooding incident.

It was also found that due to the maintenance lapse, sludge & debris had accumulated in the lower compartment of the water pit, which could have affected the operational capabilities of pumps & float switches. They were to be inspected & maintained last month, but this was postponed as the maintenance team claimed it could not get a slot for track access during engineering hours.

The failure of the float switches resulted in water flooding the tunnel between Bishan station & the underground Braddell station. The water had to be manually pumped out through the night, with help from the Singapore Civil Defence Force and PUB.

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Commission inquiry MUST be held to ascertain reason of flooding in SMRT train tunnel

Yesterday late afternoon, transport operator SMRT announced that the train service between Bishan and Toa Payoh stations along North-South Line was interrupted due to a track fault.

At first, people assumed it to be the usual train fault that they are faced with on a day-to-day basis. But subsequent media reports revealed that there is flooding in the NSL train tunnel.
Photos of the flooding in tunnel were shared on social media, some widely spread such as the ones posted by Gilbert Goh, founder of Transitioning.org and Singapore's well-known organiser of protests at Hong Lim Park.

It was only till this morning that SMRT made the announcement on its social media channel, 12 hours after the first announcement of track fault, that the actual reason for the disruption is due to flooding in its train tunnel.

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NSL train disruption: Malfunctioning water pump system to blame for flooded tunnel
NSL train disruption: Malfunctioning water pump system to blame for flooded tunnel
A malfunctioning water pumping system allowed rain water to build up in the train tunnel near Bishan MRT station, which resulted in a massive disruption along the North South Line (NSL) at the weekend. Foto: SCDF

A water pumping system that broke down was to blame for the MRT underground tunnel flooding that completely shut down train services along 6 stations on the North-South Line (NSL) from Saturday evening to Sunday (Oct 8) afternoon, affecting thousands of commuters in one of the worst outages since 2011.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed this in an update Sunday evening, although it said it was still looking into how this had happened. Details on when the water pumping system, which should have siphoned off rainwater buildup in an adjacent sump pit, was last maintained were not given.

The malfunction allowed water to overflow from the storm water sump pit during a torrential downpour on Saturday afternoon, & enter the tunnel through the rail tracks where trains from Bishan MRT station go underground towards Braddell MRT station.

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SMRT apologises for North-South line disruption in October, resolves to do better
SMRT’s top management apologises for the 7-8 Oct 2017 disruption on the North-South Line at a media briefing on 16 October 2017 at Bishan Depot. (From left to right): SMRT Corporation CEO Desmond Kuek, SMRT Trains CEO Lee Ling Wee, SMRT Corporation & SMRT Trains Chairman Seah Moon Ming. Foto: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore

Train operator SMRT apologised to members of the public on Monday (16 Oct) for the breakdown on the North-South Line earlier this month, saying that it is determined to learn the lessons from the incident.

The apology by top SMRT management at a media briefing at Bishan Depot comes slightly over a week after services on the Line were disrupted for about 20 hours from 7 to 8 October following flooding in an MRT tunnel.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, senior management from the Land Transport Authority, representatives from the Public Transport Council & Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport were also present at the briefing.

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SMRT apologizes for train tunnel flooding, transport minister blames maintenance staff who failed to do their jobs

SMRT’s head honchos have finally spoken out about one of the worst train service disruptions in the country (a tunnel was actually flooded), and surprise, surprise, they’re not deflecting the blame.

In fact, SMRT’s president and group chief executive officer Desmond Kuek took full responsibility for the 20-hour service disruption on the North-South Line (NSL) on Oct 7. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan didn’t find fault with media coverage this time, and blamed SMRT’s maintenance team for failing commuters.

Two weekends ago, about 250,000 commuters were left stranded on a stormy Saturday afternoon when train services ground to a halt on practically half the NSL. A portion of the train tunnel between Braddell and Bishan MRT stations were flooded due to the downpour, and a small fire occurred in the tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place MRT stations shortly after. The incidents started around 5:33pm on Saturday, and it was only at 1:50pm the next day that all NSL services were fully restored.

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SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek breaks silence, addresses public

The last time we heard from SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek was on September 15, when he was quoted about his company winning a tender to operate the Thomson-East Coast Line.

In the month that has followed, we can’t even keep track of the number of MRT service disruptions, delays and breakdowns we’ve seen. But not a word from him.

Not till now. Finally, the man we’ve all been longing to hear from has spoken.

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Desmond Kuek vs Floods: A long running feud

SMRT President and Group CEO Desmond Kuek has a long and impressive resume. A career soldier before he joined the civil service, he served as the Chief of Army and the Chief of Defence Force.

But maybe it’s a good thing he stuck to soldiering on land and never joined the Navy, because he seems to have had terrible luck when it comes to water.
An inauspicious start:

  • Kuek left the Singapore Armed Forces and was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Environment and Water Resources, with effect from 1st July 2010.
  • On the exact same day he took up his new post, heavy rains caused a flash flood at MacPherson Road and Tai Seng Drive.
  • This would not be the last time that Kuek would battle floods in his new role. A few days later on 17 July 2010, a torrential downpour triggered flash floods in various parts of Singapore.
  • Among the areas affected were Braddell Road, Changi Road, and Bukit Timah, where the floodwaters even submerged cars parked in condominium basements.

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Bottomline is that MRT tunnels should not be flooded

According to LTA, it was a combination of factors. First, the authority explained the systems in place that prevent tunnels from getting flooded:

  • Large stormwater pits collect excess rainwater before they can flow into the tunnel entrances. The stormwater pit at Bishan has the capacity of about two Olympic-sized swimming pools and can contain about six hours of continuous heavy rain.
  • The stormwater pits are equipped with multiple pumps that siphon water to an external drainage system. These pumps are controlled by a series of sensors (also known as float switches), which automatically turn the pumps on when water reaches specified levels. Should water rise to a critically high level, a separate “alarm” switch (“high water level” switch) would trigger an alarm at the Operations Control Centre (OCC). This would alert duty officers, who can then investigate the cause of the alarm and activate additional measures if necessary.

But as Khaw pointed out, the water reservoir “had not been maintained properly”. Even before the incident, the pumping system was found to be faulty, in addition to accumulated sludge and debris in the lower compartment of the water pit that could have impeded the operations of the pumping system. Thus, water accumulated in the pit and overflowed in the tunnels.

“It’s so simple that it should not have happened … It’s as embarrassing as that,” the transport minister stated.

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Khaw apologises for tunnel flooding
Tunnel flooding that led to 20-hr service disruption on North-South Line 'preventable', caused by maintenance lapse

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan & SMRT bigwigs yesterday apologised for the MRT tunnel flooding incident that led to a 20-hr train disruption affecting more than a quarter of a million commuters.

Addressing the Oct 7 weekend incident for the first time, Mr Khaw said at a media briefing in Bishan depot: "The bottomline is MRT tunnels should not be flooded, full stop."

He later added: "The SMRT team in charge of maintaining the anti-flood system at Bishan has failed us."

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NSL disruption: Malfunctioning water pumping system resulted in flooded MRT tunnel, says LTA
Related image

A water pumping system malfunction led to the flooding of the MRT tunnel between Bishan & Braddell stations and the delay of train services on the North-South Line (NSL), according to a statement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Sunday (Oct 8).

A torrential downpour caused a section of the tunnel between the 2 stations to be flooded on Saturday afternoon, halting service on half the NSL - from Ang Mo Kio to Marina South Pier - for more than 3 hours.

Train services in both directions were suspended between Ang Mo Kio & Newton MRT stations for almost 20 hours before they resumed at 1.50pm on Sunday.

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SMRT Re-Deploys Maintenance Vice-President Following Historic Flooding of North-South Line Tunnel
redwire-singapore-smrt-train-flood

SMRT has re-deployed vice-president of maintenance, Ng Tek Poo, following Saturday’s flooding of a tunnel in the North-South Line.

It’s unclear, however, which position Mr Ng has been re-deployed to.

Director of station operations Siu Yow Wee (pictured below) has be appointed director of Building and Services and will take over Ng’s role, reporting directly to the senior vice-president of Maintenance and Engineering.

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Water pumping system malfunction at Bishan MRT station caused tunnel to flood

A malfunction in the water pumping system at Bishan station caused water to collect in the MRT tunnel, leading to train service disruption along the affected stretch of North-South Line on Saturday that lasted close to 21 hours. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that preliminary investigations showed that water had entered the tunnel through the portal opening near Bishan MRT station, where above ground rail tracks transit underground, after a torrential downpour.

Under normal circumstances, rainwater runoff accumulated in the adjacent storm water sump pit would have been siphoned off by a system of pumps.

"Yesterday, the water pumping system malfunctioned, resulting in rainwater overflowing from the storm water sump pit into the tunnel opening and accumulating at the lowest point of the tunnel, between Bishan and Braddell stations," said an LTA spokesman.

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Transport Minister: DTL open house disruption 'bad luck'
Transport Minister: DTL open house disruption 'bad luck'
A train fault near Hillview station affected services from about 12.40pm on Sunday. Service was suspended between Bukit Panjang & Beauty World stations on Downtown Line 2 (DTL2). Service on DTL3, due to open this Saturday, was also affected.The Downtown Line is operated by SBS Transit. FOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Downtown Line (DTL) disruption on Sunday that dampened the mood of the DTL3 open house was "bad luck", Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

Responding to media questions during a press briefing on the tunnel flooding on Oct 7, he said he hoped commuters realise that "delays happen".

"Sometimes things will happen, but then it happens on when we were having our open house, then that is bad luck," he said.

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Citizens take issues with Transport Minister’s statement on maintenance lapses of SMRT
 

In a Channel NewsAsia report dated 16 October (Monday), it is reported that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan made his first public address on the major North-South Line (NSL) tunnel flooding incident two weekends ago and stated that the SMRT maintenance team in charge of the anti-flood system at Bishan station had "failed us".

On 7 October (Saturday), train services on the North-South line were affected by flooding in the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations. SMRT had to cut off trackside power supply as a safety precaution, causing service on six stops across the NSL to be disabled for about 20 hours. More than a quarter of a million commuters were affected in the country’s first disruption due to flooding and making it one of SMRT’s worst breakdowns in recent history.

Mr Khaw stated that the incident was "sad and unnecessary", however, preventable and should not have happened. He said, "We are all sorry it did. Whatever follow-up action which needs to be done, has already started. Nothing has been covered up. The incident has pushed back the recovery of public confidence in us."

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Netizens savagely rip apart Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan & SMRT CEO’s apologies

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Apology by SMRT’s leaders: Better late than never

The much-awaited public apology from the SMRT’s group chief executive officer (CEO) finally happened. Better late than never.

The flooding incident at the MRT tunnel was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It takes courage to admit mistakes & acknowledge shortfalls within the organisation that one is heading. I firmly believe that such an act is the first sincere step towards effective corrective actions.

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Disappointing that maintenance team at SMRT took the blame

I was disappointed that the maintenance team at Bishan MRT Station took the heat for the latest breakdown in service along the North-South Line run by SMRT. I was even more disappointed to learn that the authorities may not issue a heavy penalty to send a clear signal to SMRT & its shareholders, to get them to set timelines to fix the systemic issues.

In order for the SMRT maintenance team to learn its lesson, it seems hundreds of thousands of commuters had to pay a “fee” for their lesson as well. The last thing we want is to blame the team for a culture that the company created over the decades & then failed to address in the last 5 years since it got a new group chief executive officer.

5 years is a long time for self-examination. SMRT simply blamed its issues on a maintenance crew rather than look at its management team and how it sets the company’s priorities. Going after the cog when the wheel needs a major overhaul is really pointless.

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Sad to see maintenance team being blamed

I am saddened that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan put the blame of the recent train breakdown solely on workers involved in maintenance.

What about the lack of planning & foresight at the top management level? When things go wrong, people in the lower ranks are the 1st to face the music. This will definitely affect the maintenance team’s morale.

Top executives & officers in the civil service are paid to answer to the public & to oversee and foresee potential problems, not to blame their subordinates when things go wrong. You would not see a blaming culture like this in Japan, where top management will admit their fault publicly & resign.

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Full Coverage:
Apology a 'turning point' for SMRT, workers' morale a concern, experts say
SMRT maintenance staff bonuses will be affected following system failure
KBW apologises tunnel flooding Calls incident 'preventable, sad & unnecessary'
Apology a 'turning point' for SMRT, workers' morale a concern, experts say
SMRT maintenance staff bonuses will be affected following system failure
Minister apologizes tunnel flooding, blames maintenance failed to do their jobs
Netizens savagely rip apart Minister KBW and SMRT CEO's apologies
SMRT, LTA have to get to root of the problem
SMRT apologises for N-S line disruption in October, resolves to do better
KBW apologises for flooding, SMRT's Bishan maintenance team 'has failed us'
SMRT takes 'full responsibility' for tunnel flooding, says CEO Desmond Kuek
Transport Minister: DTL open house disruption 'bad luck'
Tunnel flooding: Bishan maintenance team leader removed,staff bonuses affected
SMRT team in charge of maintaining anti-flood system at Bishan has failed us'
MRT tunnel flooding: SMRT maintenance staff bonuses will be affected
SMRT maintenance team at Bishan 'failed us' during NSL disruption: KBW
'Old system' penalties fines led to adversarial relationship bet regulator/operator
'Deep-seated cultural issues' partly to blame for train disruptions: SMRT CEO
SMRT takes 'full responsibility' for tunnel flooding, says CEO Desmond Kuek
Khaw Boon Wan on NSL flooding: SMRT maintenance team 'failed us'
Float switches at Bishan MRT faulty, bottom of water storage pit lined with sludge
SMRT apologises for North-South line disruption in October, resolves to do better
SMRT CEO: 'deep-seated cultural issues' behind history of service disruptions
Flooding in MRT tunnel preventable, says Khaw, Transport NewsNSL disruption
Malfunctioning water pumping system resulted in
Timeline of NSL disruption due to flooded MRT tunnel
Flooded MRT tunnel, trackside fire caused train disruption on NSL
rigorous' maintenance, remote monitoring system set up after flooding
NSL disruption: Flooded MRT tunnels cleared, train service resumes
NSL disruption: Faulty water pump flooded MRT tunnel
Flooding in MRT tunnel preventable, says Khaw
Khaw Boon Wan apologises for tunnel flooding. Calls incident
SMRT apologizes for train tunnel flooding, transport minister blames
Apology a 'turning point' for SMRT, workers' morale a concern
'More rigorous' maintenance, remote monitoring system set up after
SMRT steps up anti-flood checks, overhauls maintenance team
SMRT maintenance team at Bishan 'failed us' during NSL disruption
North-South Line flooding was preventable, SMRT team failed us
NSL disruption: Malfunctioning water pumping system resulted in
NSL disruption: Water pumping system malfunction at Bishan MRT
North-South Line disruption: Faulty water pump flooded MRT tunnel
Pumps at all MRT tunnels checked after rail disruption
More questions than answers from flooding incident on MRT line
Flooding in MRT tunnels: Not enough answers, assurance from
Straits Times forum letter lays smackdown on SMRT & LTA for not
SMRT replaces maintenance VP after flooding incident on North
SMRT maintenance Vice-President replaced, news source reports
Dig deep to solve problem of flooded tunnels
Vivian Balakrishnan takes Khaw Boon Wan's place to show support
SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek breaks silence, addresses public
Rethink track work with long-term efficiency in mind
SMRT restores train services on NSL after flooded tunnels cause disruption
Bishan, Braddell MRT stations among 35 flood-proofed in recent years
Flooded tunnels in NSL: Commuters fear a repeat during work week
Bonuses for team at fault 'will be affected'
SMRT, LTA have to get to root of the problem
SMRT replaces senior exec after flooding incident
Straits Times forum letter lays smackdown on SMRT & LTA for not
ST Forum letter criticising LTA excuses on MRT breakdowns
'Cultural issues' don't just involve maintenance team
Best for SMRT to be run wholly by the Government
SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek breaks silence, addresses public
MRT tunnel flooding: SMRT maintenance staff bonuses affected
Khaw apologises for NSL flooding, says SMRT's Bishan
KBW on NSL flooding: SMRT maintenance team 'failed us'
SMRT, LTA have to get to root of the problem
SMRT maintenance staff bonuses will be affected following system
Khaw: SMRT team 'failed us'
MRT tunnel flooding: Bishan maintenance team leader removed
SMRT apologizes for train tunnel flooding, transport minister blames
Apology a 'turning point' for SMRT, workers' morale a concern
Bishan maintenance team leader removed; staff bonuses affected
SMRT maintenance staff bonuses will be affected following system failure
Transport minister blames maintenance staff who failed to do their jobs
Apology by SMRT's leaders: Better late than never
Flooding in MRT tunnel preventable, says Khaw
KBW apologises, Calls incident 'preventable', 'sad and unnecessary'
Sad to see maintenance team being blamed

Transport Minister: Flooding of tunnel 'preventable', 'sad and unnecessary'. SMRT's Bishan maintenance team 'Has Failed Us'

Taiwan Minister resigned over 5-hour massive blackout

Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business, bows during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea

Kobe Steel Chairman and President Hiroya Kawasaki, left, apologizes over the company's falsification of inspection data at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday

In Japan, the chairman and CEO would call a press conference, take a deep bow and, in the good old days, they may even commit hara-kiri

Netizens savagely rip apart Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT CEO’s apologies

Youtube: Hara Kiri - Khaw Boon Wan

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Happy Deepavali 2017

Festival of Lights

Why Do We Celebrate Deepavali?

Deepavali, otherwise known as the “festival of lights”, marks the triumph of good over evil for Hindus as it commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna, the ruler of Madura over the demon Narakasura, whose evil rule in the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram was much feared by the villagers. Upon Lord Krishna’s return, the city of Madura was in complete darkness as it was the night of a new moon.

Therefore, to celebrate the victory and welcome Lord Krishna, the people lit lamps to pave the way for Lord Krishna, hence Deepavali is also known as the “”festival of lights”. Another legend associated with Deepavali would be the return of Lord Rama from unjust exile by his stepmother after fourteen years and his defeat of the demon king, Ravana. Therefore, Deepavali is also celebrated to honour Lord Rama and to mark his triumph of good over evil. During Deepavali, Hindu homes are decorated with fresh mango leaves and kolams (Indian floor art).

It is also celebrated with the feasting on traditional sweets and snacks, visiting relatives and friends and lighting of oil lamps around the home. The oil lamps placed in the homes are believed to usher in good fortune.

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Bazaars, light-up at Little India a hit with revellers
Bazaars, light-up at Little India a hit with revellers

Amid tighter security, crowds thronged the bazaars of Little India to soak in the festive spirit & for some last-minute bargains on the eve of Deepavali on Tuesday (Oct 17).

Shop owners reported brisk business & shoppers had their bags filled with rangoli (coloured rice powder for floor decorations), sweets, new metal utensils (believed to bring good luck and fortune) & oil lamps called diya.

Deepavali, which signifies the triumph of light over darkness, is also called the Festival of Lights.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Neither Civil Nor Servant

Former EDB Chairman Philip Yeo’s latest biography sheds light on leadership pitfalls
A no-holds- barred biography on his contributions to Singapore’s economic growth post-independence

Philip Yeo played a pivotal role in Singapore’s development from Third World to First through his work in the military, economic and biomedical fields.

Known for making things happen at breakneck speed during his four decades in public service, he gained a reputation as an outspoken maverick who nevertheless got things done, from jump-starting industries to talent recruitment. He created Jurong Island for the energy and chemical industry by reclaiming seven islands; started MNC-sponsored EDB scholarships as an ongoing means to replace EDB officers; corralled the best brains of the country into A*star (Agency for Science, Technology and Research); and spearheaded biomedical research by attracting international pharmaceuticals to do their R&D in Singapore. The following edited excerpt from Neither Civil Nor Servant – The Philip Yeo Story sheds light on his leadership style:
  • What is the rationale behind your firing-squad approach to managers?
  • Who are the eunuchs in the Singapore context?
  • What is eunuch disease?
  • How did Singapore get to this stage? Is it because as society becomes more developed, it requires a more complex governance structure?
  • Is this a result of how talent is recruited?
  • How much of this increasing bureaucratisation is seen in Singapore today?
  • How does this contrast with the Old Guard leaders?
  • Do you think Singapore can remain exceptional?
  • How do you think you will be remembered in Singapore?