Thursday, 20 June 2013

NIMBY - Not in my backyard


With an ageing population, there is an increasing need for eldercare facilities in Singapore but it seems some people are unhappy over the presence of such facilities in their neighbourhood.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has urged the eldercare facilities to work more closely with the community so residents can accept them, rather than view them as a liability.

He explained that Singapore doesn’t have many outlying spaces to build such facilities, adding that building the eldercare facilities within the community allows the elderly to age in place.

read more

Geylang Goes Up Market
Look, mom, there's a brothel next to our block!

Those moving into their new flat at Sengkang West may think they have it bad because they will be sharing space with a columbarium. Spare a thought for those at the even numbered Lorongs of Geylang, especially the area URA has decided to rezone from "Residential/Institution" to "Commercial / Institution."

The emphasis on commercial over residential considerations is an obvious choice for the Urban Development Authority (URA). Confucius once said "微臣從沒見過 如斯好德如好色的人", which can be loosely translated as "never has the virtuous take precedence over vice". The infamous "Four Floors of Whores" at Orchard Road has always done a roaring trade, whatever the state of the economy. Perhaps something more posh sounding is on the drawing board for the Designated Red Area (RDA) Geylang district, something along the lines of "Skyscraper of Sluts" or "Prostitutes@Pinnacle?"

The outcome is inevitable - URA has weighed in with the overseas funeral parlour developer - but those affected will no doubt still go over the fine print in their signed contracts. Proud owners of residential developments under construction (#1Suites, Treasure@G20, Treasure@G6) and recently completed (Royce Residences, Central Imperial) may not have that much to lose. Sleeping jowl to jowl next to a member of the oldest profession of the world is definitely more desirable than proximity to an urn of ashes.

read more

The not-in-my-backyard (Nimby) syndrome
Nimbyism - shorthand for the not-in-my-backyard syndrome - is on the rise in Singapore, with similar incidents in recent months in Toh Yi and Upper Bukit Timah

THE rejection by residents this week of a nursing home in Bishan is the latest in a series of citizen actions motivated by not-in- my-backyard concerns.

Forty residents submitted a petition calling on the Government to site the home elsewhere.

Their arguments were entirely self-interested: that air flow to their homes will be blocked, resulting in higher electricity bills because they will need to switch on air-conditioners; that their children will no longer be able to play football on the field where the home will stand; and - believe it or not - 'the old folk will be groaning right into my home'.

read more


The furore over a planned columbarium at a Buddhist temple in Sengkang has brought to light issues surrounding the Nimby syndrome in Singapore.

This isn’t the first time Singaporeans have stood up against plans to build much needed facilities near their homes. Here is a look at four similar situations that made the news in 2012.
  1. In May of that year, some 40 residents in Bishan signed a petition to stop building plans for a 260-bed nursing home on an empty field in Bishan Street 13. They cited the loss of their football field and how the new development would block the flow of fresh air into their homes as their reasons for opposing the project.
  2. In the same month, a group of residents in Upper Bukit Timah protested against the development of a condominium in a nearby forest that would yield more than 400 new homes. Some were worried that the tall buildings would block their views and endanger plant and animal life.
  3. Over at Toh Yi estate in Bukit Timah, several homeowners petitioned against the construction of studio units for the elderly on a small land parcel in the area. According to news reports in March 2012, the proposed development would be built over a jogging track and basketball court, which irked the group as they would lose their recreational facilities. They proposed building the apartments near another block, but residents living near the new site protested to have the units built elsewhere.
  4. Another case of Nimbyism came to light back in February 2012 when some residents in Woodlands objected to the construction of an eldercare centre in their void deck. They were worried the values of their flats would drop and there would be a lack of open space. Another concern was that more deaths and accidents could make it an inauspicious area.
read more

Columbarium plans sparks flat refund requests

Plans to build a Buddhist temple with columbarium facilities in Sengkang has sparked calls for refunds from several would-be residents of Fernvale Lea, according to media reports.

The group made this request to Dr Lam Pin Min, MP for Sengkang West, during a closed-door dialogue on Sunday, which saw 400 people attending the session.

According to Dr Lam, those residents “felt uncomfortable that such a (columbarium) service would be provided there and have requested that HDB look at their request for a refund”.

read more

Bishan residents say no to nursing home

A group of residents in Bishan are standing up against plans to build a nursing home in the neighbourhood. The 260-bed nursing home will stand six to eight-storeys high on an empty field opposite three blocks of flats in Bishan Street 13.

A signed petition by 40 residents was presented to a Ministry of Health (MOH) representative at a dialogue session on Sunday.

Some residents complained that they will lose their football field once the nursing home is built, while others said that the building will block the flow of fresh air into their homes, forcing them to use their air-conditioning units. Meanwhile, the petition claimed that the increased utility bill could amount to S$7.56 million.

read more

Residents protest over planned condo in Upper Bukit Timah

A group of residents in Upper Bukit Timah are protesting over a planned condo development in a secondary forest site at their neighbourhood.

They are concerned that the buildings may be taller than their low-rise homes, thus blocking the scenic views. Construction could also harm the plant and animal life and increase surface runoff into a canal that’s usually a problem when it rains. In addition, a road that is being planned for the area will cut into a jogging trail enjoyed by residents.

Around 50 residents from Cashew, Chestnut and Dairy Farm estates discussed the issue at a meeting held last Friday. According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the 1.86-ha site located between Petir Road and Dairy Farm Estate, could yield some 410 condominium units. The site is currently under URA’s reserve list and will likely be open for applications next month.

read more

Toh Yi residents propose new site for elderly studios

Residents of Toh Yi estate (pictured), who had petitioned against the development of studio apartments for the elderly near their homes, have proposed an alternative location.

However, their suggestion has irked around 50 residents living near the new proposed site, who have filed another petition to have the units built elsewhere. The second group of residents are upset that the first group “have made it someone else’s problem.”

The new proposal and petitions come as the HDB prepares to launch a Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise for the 130 studio apartments this month.

read more

Health Ministry to proceed with eldercare centre in Woodlands

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will proceed with building an elderly daycare centre at the void decks of two blocks in Woodlands despite concerns raised by residents, reported The Straits Times.

However, the ministry added that it will take into consideration the concerns raised by the residents who petitioned against the plans before building the 570 sq m elder-care centre.

Earlier this week, residents living in the two estates raised issues such as spacial constraints, devaluing of property, and the right to enjoy what little space left at the areas may by building the centre near their houses. Another concern is that the area may be considered inauspicious with more deaths or accidents occurring. 

read more

no playing sign

A sign which said children were not allowed to play at an HDB playground in Sengkang was taken down quickly yesterday after it drew ridicule from residents and online forums such as The Real Singapore & Hardwarezone Forums. 

A picture of the sign was sent in yesterday (June 17) by TRS reader Jasmine, who was left confused at the sight of it at a playground in Block 323B at Sengkang East Way. 

The sign was put up because residents complained that children at the playground were making too much noise, said the chairman of Ang Mo Kio Town Council, Dr Lam Pin Min. 

read more 


In a case of an extraordinary lack of common sense, Sengkang West PAP MP Dr Lam Pin Min put up a “No Playing” sign at a playground in his constituency at Blk 323B Sengkang East Way. The PAP MP said the sign was put up because he received complaints from residents about the noises children made at the playground.

The esteemed doctor from KK Hospital also claimed that the sign was erected 6 years ago under the previous managing agent of the town council, however most of the residents in the area said they have only seen it recently put up just a few weeks ago. 

Apparently most of the residents in his constituency must be liars because a PAP MP cannot be wrong. The PAP government handpicks the best of its wide pool of government scholars and its selection process was claimed to be so stringent that the candidates could not be easily attracted into serving the nation without a million dollar package. 

read more


From opposition to facilities for eldercare and the disabled, to construction of MRT station launch shafts near a block of flats, the Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome tends to rear its head among Singaporeans whenever something that is perceived to be unpleasant is about to be constructed near a residential area.

But in some communities elsewhere, what may have started out as a NIMBY case may well end up as a PIMBY - Please, (put it) In My Backyard. It is not easy, of course, to get from NIMBY to PIMBY, but it can be done. What it takes is a new approach

At the recent Singapore International Water Week, water industry leaders provided great insights into what that new approach could be, when they shared about what worked for them

read more

Petition against setting up of childcare centre at rooftop garden

Some Punggol residents are petitioning against the set—up of a childcare centre at the rooftop garden of a multi—storey carpark.

A closed—door dialogue session was held with residents on Sunday.

It’s understood that officers from the HDB and the Social and Family Development Ministry were also present.

read more

Petition wants planned elderly care centres moved elsewhere

The Not In My Backyard syndrome is back. This time, it is Blocks 10 and 11 at Jalan Batu in the Tanjong Rhu area.

When a few residents heard that facilities for the elderly will be situated at the void decks of their blocks, they came up with a petition.

It all began on Sunday, when a flier inviting residents for a dialogue session with Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan at the Katong Community Centre tonight was sent to each resident. 

read more

Facilities for elderly not welcome here either - Toh Yi estate 

ANOTHER group of Housing Board residents are objecting to plans to build elder-friendly facilities in their estate, following a similar case in Woodlands last week.

Residents of Toh Yi estate in Bukit Timah said HDB's plans to build studio apartments for the elderly will 'rob' them of their common space and the estate's main recreational facility.

A handful of the residents also likened the apartments to 'death houses' for the elderly to wait out their last days.

read more

Unease over elder-care centre in void decks - Not in my backyard

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) will review plans to build a day-care centre for the elderly in the void decks of two facing Housing Board blocks in Woodlands, after residents there petitioned against the move.

Some argued that the area was already overcrowded with other public facilities. Others cited concerns like increased traffic, and how such a centre would be 'inauspicious' as it may mean more deaths in the estate.

The ministry's promise came even as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told netizens that such centres were necessary to provide the elderly with a convenient place near their homes for them to stay active and engaged. 

read more

Woman fined $30 for eating sweet on MRT to relieve motion sickness

A lady commuter was recently fined $30 for eating a sweet during an MRT train ride to relieve motion sickness (see embedded video below).

Eating and drinking in the MRT carries a maximum fine of $500. However in this case, common sense has been completely thrown out of the window in what is apparently a silly over-reaction by the authorities.

This is typically what happens in the civil service, Government departments, statutory boards, and Government-linked Corporations and service providers when unthinking subordinates blindly enforce regulations without regard to common sense due to intense pressure from their superiors to keep up appearances.

read more

Woman fine $30 for eating sweet on MRT to relieve motion sickness - YouTube

SMRT: Drinking Water is Forbidden

read more

Fine for eating sweets too strict?

Madam Bibi Zaina Mohamed, 48, a housewife, was given a notification of offence for eating a sweet while she was on the train

SHE was feeling giddy and decided to suck on a sweet while riding on an MRT train. For doing that, she was slapped with a fine after she was caught by an SMRT officer.

Since last Wednesday, SMRT has been giving out immediate fines to those caught eating or drinking in trains and stations. A RazorTV reporting team tagged along with two SMRT officers on patrol. Two commuters were caught and fined for eating.

read more

Singapore, Curry Day and scapegoating

Recently, a news article hit the papers. An immigrant family, new to Singapore, was complaining about the smells coming from their Indian neighbour. You see, the Indian family was cooking curry on a regular basis and the immigrant family (mainland Chinese) found the aroma objectionable.

The Indian family would close all doors and windows before cooking their curry but it appears that wasn’t enough. So much so that the Chinese family took the Indian family to a mediation centre. The ruling was that the Indian family could only cook curry when they were sure the Chinese family wasn’t at home. (Insert eyeroll here.) You can read the article here.

In retaliation, some Singaporeans organised Cook and Share a Pot of Curry day last Sunday (21 August) (it’s on Facebook somewhere) to show that curry is part of the Singaporean national cuisine and that it should be encouraged, not discouraged.

read more

Singapore's 'anti-Chinese curry war'
Singapore's 'anti-Chinese curry war'
What began as a quarrel over the pungent aromas wafting from one family's kitchen has bubbled up into Singapore's spiciest protest movement, with 40,000 people set to express their national pride this weekend by cooking curry

Curry is one of Singapore's national dishes, a dish that is equally loved, although in different forms, by the island's British, Chinese, Indian and Malay populations.

So there was an instant uproar when a local newspaper reported that one Chinese family, recently arrived from the mainland, had taken offence at their Indian neighbours' dining habits. "The family resorted to mediation because they could not stand the smell of curry," reported the Today newspaper. "The Indian family, who were mindful of their neighbours' aversion, had already taken to closing their doors and windows whenever they cooked the dish, but this was not enough," it added.

Instead, the unnamed Chinese family took their neighbours to Singapore's Community Mediation Centre for a ruling on the matter. Marcellina Giam, the mediator, eventually ruled that the Indian family could only cook curry when the Chinese family was not at home. In return, the Chinese family promised to try the dish.

read more

Curry lovers unite after dispute boils over

Malaysia Star, 19 Aug 2011
A GROUP of friends in Singapore have come together to organise a “cook and share a pot of curry” movement and to declare this Sunday National Cook Curry Day. 

The movement was started following reports of a dispute between a family from China who complained about their Singaporean Indian neighbour to the community mediation centre in their area.

The family from China said they could not stand the smell of the curry that the neighbour was fond of cooking.

After mediation, the Indian family agreed to only cook curry when the Chinese family was not around. The dailies reported that many new immigrants were disrespectful of local culture after the case was highlighted in the media. Full story

NTUC's assistant director in hot soup over her racist rant against Malay weddings at HDB void deck

HWZ Forum, 8 Oct 2012 Link

NTUC investigates staff's alleged inappropriate Facebook post - Channel News Asia
NTUC investigates staff’s alleged inappropriate Facebook post - Xin MSN News

read more