Saturday, 31 January 2015

Singapore a 'Clean' or ‘Cleaned' City?

They came, they saw and they littered
The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay was litterfree before the start of Laneway Festival. PHOTO: INKNHYMY/ INSTAGRAM

Laneway Festival-goers left their mark - & their trash - behind last Saturday.

It prompted PM Lee Hsien Loong to comment on Facebook: "We need to progress from being a cleaned city to a truly clean city."Yes, this is ‪#‎Singapore‬'s dirty shame. What can you do about it?

TNP's Linette Heng suggests some ways.

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What you can do about S'pore's dirty shame
Rubbish was strewn all over the grounds after the event PHOTO: THEBIMZ/ INSTAGRAM

The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay felt like an obstacle course last Saturday night.

As I approached the stage to catch the last few acts of this year's Laneway Festival, I had to jump to get past a heap of disposable ponchos.

They had been handed out by the organisers for use in case of rain. But most of the concert-goers had chucked them on the ground.

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Make Singapore a ‘truly clean city’, PM Lee says after seeing Laneway Festival trash
Yahoo Newsroom - Screen grab of a Facebook post shared by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong related to the trash situation at Laneway Festival

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed the importance of working together to keep Singapore clean in a Facebook post on Wednesday in which he also showed a photo of trash left behind by Laneway Festival goers.

The St Jerome’s Laneway Festival that took place at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay last Saturday and featured 19 music acts drew about 13,000 attendees.

“It takes continuous effort to keep Singapore clean. We need to progress from being a cleaned city to a truly clean city," he said.

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PM Lee after Laneway Festival mess: 'Do the right thing'
Discarded ponchos, water bottles and more - the Laneway Festival's lights illuminate the fact that 13,000 people apparently leave a lot of waste. (Photo: Anjali Raguraman)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Jan 28) called on Singaporeans to help the country progress from a "cleaned city to a truly clean city", after highlighting the state of Gardens by the Bay following the 2015 Laneway Festival last Saturday.

Mr Lee put up a picture on his Facebook page illustrating rubbish strewn on the ground following the music festival at the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay. He contrasted this with the actions of Myanmar sports fans, who were seen picking up litter at National Stadium after their football team's clash with the Lions.

"It takes continuous effort to keep Singapore clean. We need to progress from being a cleaned city to a truly clean city," Mr Lee wrote.

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S’pore likely to become garbage city without foreign workers: ESM Goh
Discarded ponchos, water bottles and more after the 2015 Laneway Festival held at Gardens by the Bay. Photo: Anjali Raguraman

The Republic may end up as a “garbage city”, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong today (Jan 29) following reports of how a part of the Gardens by the Bay was covered with rubbish following a music festival.

His remarks came a day after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his Facebook page a picture that showed rubbish strewn on the ground following the 2015 Laneway Festival at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay. About 13,000 people attended the event last Saturday.

Mr Lee contrasted the situation with the actions of Myanmar sports fans, who were seen picking up litter at the National Stadium after their football team played the Lions last November.

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Singapore becoming a 'garbage city', says ESM Goh Chok Tong
The scene at Meadows by the Bay after 13,000 festival goers attended the Laneway music festival over the weekend. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called out festival goers for not picking up their litter, and asked Singaporeans to make Singapore a clean city rather than a "cleaned" one.

A day later, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has taken to Facebook to do the same.

Comparing Tokyo and Singapore, he said that the Japanese capital had no rubbish bins in public places, but it is still litter free.

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ESM Goh on Singapore becoming a Garbage City

While our PM Lee was calm in his criticism of the ‘Landway Landfill’, using the more nuanced ‘cleaned city’ to describe our dependence on an army of labourers and shameless sense of entitlement (some Laneway goers interviewed in a ST article assumed that cleaning services were included in the festival ticket), our former PM has no qualms about trash-talking and putting our disgusting habits in the spotlight. Interestingly, he has summoned the analogy of ‘monkey see monkey do’ to describe the contagious mimicry of littering. And what do monkeys eat?

Here’s a clue, courtesy of Mrs Goh Chok Tong herself in reference to a certain NKF chairman’s salary, in full uncensored glory. "For a person who runs a million-dollar charitable organisation, $600,000 is peanuts as it has a few hundred millions in reserves." As they say, if you pay peanuts, you get..well – you know.

But back to Garbage by the Bay. The Laneway fallout isn’t new. We have been called ‘Garbage City‘ since 1983. Anyone who has stayed back after the NDP festivities to witness the mess left behind would hang their head in shame at the average 15 TONNES of rubbish per show. We can forgive Laneway hipsters, whose fashion accessories actually aspire towards ‘litter-chic’. We may even put the blame what one would expect to be a large non-Singaporean crowd among the audience. But to desecrate a parade ground after the nation’s birthday and singing along with Kit Chan to ‘Home Truly’ is just unforgivable. It makes a MONKEY out of National Day. It’s like blowing out Singapore’s birthday candles on a giant stadium sized cake, and then pooping all over it before we leave.

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After the party ends, cue Operation Spick and Span
The NDP generates about 15 tonnes of waste per full show

While performers and parade-goers sang and danced as fireworks burst over Marina Bay at Saturday's National Day Parade (NDP), about 50 cleaners armed with brooms were wheeling out bins for a massive six-hour cleanup operation.

Their mission: To clear the floating platform of plastic bottles, cans, food wrappers and confetti before daybreak.

"We had only about six hours, as the crowd took some time to clear out, so it was tight," said the parade's logistics operations manager, Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Seah Yong Huat, 53.

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S'pore a clean city? Don't joke

Singapore is a clean city? Let's get real, says the new chief of the war against littering, Mr Liak Teng Lit.

"We should be known as a cleaned city, not a clean city. Calling ourselves a clean city, that's a joke," he told The Sunday Times.

"We have First World infrastructure, but Third World behaviour. There's litter everywhere, public toilets we hesitate to use, dirty tables at coffee shops and disease outbreaks waiting to happen."

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“Is Singapore a clean city or cleaned city?”

In conjunction with the National Environmental Agency’s 10th Anniversary Community Exhibition, Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, delivered a speech on the public cleanliness of Singapore at the function on 15th September 2012. He offered a question that has resulted in many people racking their brains for an answer.

“Is Singapore a clean city or cleaned city?” Dr Vivian Balakrishnan questioned.

In order to tackle the persistent public cleanliness issue in Singapore, the Keep Singapore Clean Movement has been relaunched. The campaign will be led by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC), together with Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement (KSBM) and National Environmental Agency (NEA).

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Clean city? Singapore not there yet: Vivian Balakrishnan
Litter left on the Alexandra Arch bridge in Henderson Road. Last year, the NEA issued 19,000 tickets for littering, double that of 2013. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan is the latest politician to take litterbugs to task.

This comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong referred to trash left behind at a music festival and urged people to pick up their litter, and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong took to Facebook to say that Singapore is likely to become a "garbage city" without foreign workers.

Addressing residents at a community event at Hong Kah North Community Centre yesterday, Dr Balakrishnan said that how clean a place is reflects what people think of themselves, their respect for their neighbours and their concern for the neighbourhood.

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Both prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and ex-prime minister Goh Chok Tong commented on how Singapore is becoming dirtier. I thought to comment on it as well.

If Mr Lee and Mr Goh, and if the PAP truly care about Singapore and its environment, then start taking care of Singaporeans – increase our wages, subsidies etc, so that the people will be protected and so that our environment will be protected.

Yet, it has also now been exposed that Mr Lee did not do a proper fact-find on how the littering at the Gardens by the Bay actually took place but was quick to “call on Singaporeans to pick up their own litter”, as The Straits Times reported.


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Why turn beautiful city into garbage dump?

 I was deeply dismayed to learn of the terrible mess left behind by concertgoers at the Laneway music festival last weekend ("PM reacts to meadow of trash that music fans left behind"; Thursday).

I hope this is not another "festival culture" we practise in Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's comments are a resounding reminder that our "clean and green" moniker is largely misplaced self- flattery.

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ST: Netizens critical of PM, ESM have inferiority complex

Straits Times (ST) reporter John Lui wrote an article today (‘Dish the dirt, you’ll likely end up soiled’, 1 Feb), attacking netizens who criticised PM Lee and ESM Goh Chok Tong for blaming Singaporeans for allegedly littering at an open-air music festival.

Calling the netizens “online trolls”, Mr Lui said, “Online trolls expose their own sense of inferiority when they launch virulent attacks (against PM Lee and ESM Goh).”

It began with Facebook posts by PM Lee and ESM Goh, mentioning the littering at the music festival, Laneway Festival 2015, and how Singaporeans have a long way to go before we learn to show care and respect for public areas. The festival was held at Gardens by the Bay on 24 January 2015.

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Singapore: A Clean or Cleaned City?
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Environment and Water Resources and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said that Singaporeans must have a "zero tolerance" attitude towards littering in public places

Many of you would agree that litter is still prevalent in many community areas with high human traffic such as town centres and bus interchanges, especially before the cleaners have started work. We have all seen how neighbourhoods, parks, bus stops and waterways can go from being clean in the day after the cleaners had done their rounds, to being littered and dirty again by the next morning.

We must bear in mind that every single item of litter that we see is because somebody has been inconsiderate, ungracious and anti-social. A key reason of course, is the wrong attitude that cleaners are there to pick up after us, and the misplaced notion that this is appropriate behaviour because cleaners are paid to do so.

One alarming statistic from NEA's recent surveys is that 36% of Singaporeans would only bin their litter if it is convenient to do so. The solution cannot be to employ more cleaners. As I said in Parliament earlier this week, even while we try to improve cleaning standards and the employment conditions of cleaners, we would have to cope with fewer cleaners and therefore our reliance on them has to decrease. But the larger and more important point is what kind of society we will be, and how our environment reflects on our attitudes and culture. Will we be capable of cherishing and protecting our public spaces even if they do not personally belong to any one of us?

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Keep Singapore Clean campaign

Prior to 1968, Singapore had already conducted a number of similar campaigns. One of the earliest was the Keep Your City Clean campaign, an anti-littering initiative organised by the City Council in 1958. The following year, the government launched the Gerakkan Pembersehan Bandar Raya Singapura, meaning “movement to clean the city of Singapore”. During his opening speech on 23 November 1959, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said that he wanted to use this campaign as a starting point for Singapore to become one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in Asia.

In the subsequent years leading up to the launch of the Keep Singapore Clean campaign, the government continued to conduct campaigns regularly to instil a sense of responsibility in individuals to keep Singapore clean and to encourage them to bin their rubbish.

The first Keep Singapore Clean campaign - In August 1968, the government announced that a national campaign committee had been formed to run the Keep Singapore Clean campaign to be held in October. Headed by the health minister Chua Sian Chin, the committee comprised representatives from various government agencies such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, Public Works Department and Jurong Town Corporation, as well as non-government organisations like employers' and employees’ associations.

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42 years of Keeping Singapore Clean and still trying to keep Singapore clean
Not such a tasty treat ... litter strewn on the streets of Singapore

I have noticed of late, walking around parts of Singapore, that there is quite a lot of litter strewn around on the streets. Reflecting on how far we have come as we prepare to celebrate 45 years of our being, it is remarkable how far we have come in some ways and how, despite attempts made at educating us, we have retained some of the less desirable habits of old. Old habits die hard I suppose, but thinking back at the many campaigns we have had, it does come as a surprise that when it comes to littering, we still have a long way to go.

This October, it would be 42 years since the first “Keep Singapore Clean” campaign, launched in 1968, at a time when there certainly was a need to raise awareness of the ills of littering, and a need to clean the streets of Singapore up. Along with the enforcement of public health laws which were passed that year which prescribed penalties for littering, the campaigns went a long way initially to improve conditions in Singapore. In the period of time since then, we have indeed seen a dramatic improvement in the environment that we can certainly be proud of.

What is interesting to note at the time of the passing of the laws, was that Mr. Chua Sian Chin, the then Minister for Health had, had been quoted in saying that “the changed political and social circumstances, as well as the behaviour patterns and attitudes of the local population needed to be taken into account”. While this may have justified the need for the use of penalties to serve as a deterrent and for the need for enforcement then, it shouldn’t really be the case now, when we have seen a great leap forward in our political and social circumstances, and also in higher education and literacy levels. But somehow, education and literacy hasn’t really translated into the increased social consciousness that one would expect, and if it wasn’t for the threat of fines (increased since 1968) and the introduction of the Corrective Work Order (CWO) scheme, and as an observer had once commented, the “army of cleaners” we have on the streets, we would probably revert to a level of filth that wouldn’t be far off from what we would have seen in the Singapore of the 1960s.

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The “Keep Singapore Clean” Campaign was one of the first nationwide public education programmes to combat littering.
The Keep Singapore Clean Campaign was one of the first nationwide public education programmes mounted by the government. Launched by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 1 October 1968, the month-long campaign aimed to make Singapore the cleanest and greenest city in the region by addressing the problem of inconsiderate littering. It sought to instill in Singaporeans the importance of keeping public places clean.

The campaign was part of a larger public cleansing plan which included changes in public health laws, relocation and licensing of itinerant hawkers, development of proper sewage systems, and disease control. 

he government believed that improved environmental conditions not only enhance the quality of life for Singaporeans and cultivate national pride, it also attracts foreign investors and tourists to Singapore.

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Let’s bring back Operation Broomstick
Operation Broomstick

Health Minister Chua Sian Chin at MacPherson Estate

"PM Lee personally leads the way in a mass drive to spring-clean the city for the National Loyalty Week in 1959."

Many years ago we used to have a Keep Singapore Clean Campaign. Later we upgraded it to the Keep Singapore Clean and Green Movement. Recently we further upgraded (that’s Singapore for you, we believe in continuous upgrading) that to the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement.

As for me, I say, let’s bring back Operation Broomstick. What’s the point in trying to be green when you cannot even be clean? And if you are dirty, there no way you can be beautiful, right?

What is Operation Broomstick? According to the People’s Association’s publication, Citizens, Conversations & Collaborations: Chronicles of the Citizens’ Consultative Committee:

“The Housing and Development Board launches Operation Broomstick in 1968 to clear housing estates of litter and rubbish, and CCC leaders are there to help get residents to take an active part in the massive nationwide operation – right down to elderly women with their own brooms.”
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Litter problem, big headache

AN IN-DEPTH study to figure out the cause of littering, getting young students to try being cleaners for a day and heavier penalties are among the suggestions made to stop Singapore from becoming a "garbage city".

Academics, civil society members and Singapore residents whom The Straits Times spoke to also have their own take on why the problem persists and what needs to be done to solve it.

Aside from the often-cited reasons such as complacency fostered by an army of cleaners, a "don't care" attitude and growing up pampered, some suggest that different cultural attitudes among some of Singapore's new citizens and foreign workers, and a reluctance to truly shame culprits, could also be behind the country's litter woes.

1 night, 1 bridge, 50 bags of trash
Why is littering still a problem?
S'pore needs to progress to become a truly clean city: PM Lee
Myanmar fans clear up trash left behind at National Stadium

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Why is littering still a problem?

Rubbish on the Alexandra Arch bridge across Alexandra Road. Observers believe complacency may be one reason for Singapore’s litter woes

COMPLACENCY is the likely reason for Singapore's litter woes.

Experts say that when people know there will be an army of cleaners to pick up after them, they become too lazy to do the right thing.

Singapore residents and Members of Parliament offer reasons why people do not clean up after themselves:

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1 night, 1 bridge, 50 bags of trash
HARD WORK: Mr Keria Peli can collect 50 bags of trash in just one night of cleaning Read Bridge and its vicinity

In one night, it is not uncommon for Mr Keria Peli to collect 50 trash bags of litter from Read Bridge and its vicinity.

On a bad day, he collects 30 bags from just one round of cleaning the bridge.

This is despite the fact that at least five dustbins are placed around the bridge

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Look at the no. of foreigners in the langway festival

I hope the alternate media picks up this, Look at the number of foreigners that were present in the Laneway Festival 2015.

Why are Sinkees being blamed for everything.

Nabay u can see ANGMOHsssss everywhere in the background and those that look like Asians might not be of Sinkee nationality too.

Laneway Festival Singapore 2015
PM, b4 u scold us for littering at Laneway Festival, see this
Laneway Festival Singapore is on Facebook

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