Ministry of Retirement

I wish Minister Lui Tuck Yew a deservedly happy retirement, and I appreciate the things he’s done during his tenure as Minister of Transport. I have no doubt it is a very, very tough job, made harder by some of the problems and missteps inherited from previous ministers. Think COE miscalculations, and if you’ve forgotten – how CAAS jeopardised Changi Airport’s status as an commercial hub when they fought Air Asia’s landing rights, trying to protect SQ. These are, by far, more serious problems than the occasional train breakdown which we treat like a natural disaster.

But to his credit, Minister Lui has not whinged about bearing the brunt of a nation’s grumblings. He’s instead, taken Khaw Boon Wan’s sage advice, and fallen on his sword. I would have liked to hear him say, “I am elected, selected, and paid to do this job, and by golly, I will stay to fix the freaking train system, and fire anyone who screws up some more. No more excuses”, but he’s entitled to throw in the towel now, and let someone else handle the nation’s high expectations.

Personally, I think he made a better MoT than a Minister for Information Communication & The Arts (MICA) Under his watch at MoT, we’ve had a proper plan for expanding our land transport network, and I’m personally glad for the wider expressways which have alleviated some of the morning traffic snarl. Although I wish the expressway were wider than the ERP gantry that came with it.

So, who do you think is up for the job?

Help The Workers Who Help Build Our Country

It is a tragic day today with two workers dead and several others injured in a scaffolding collapse at an MRT station construction site. It is also a time to spare a thought for the thousands of migrant workers who do these tough, low-paying and sometimes dangerous jobs building our country’s infrastructure.

For as long as Singapore has been around, we’ve been dependent on migrant workers – We founded this country on Indian coolies working on the docks and the Samsui women on our roads and buildings in the 19th to 20th Centuries.

And before K-Pop and Korean movie stars, we imported Korean construction workers, who together with their Thai counterparts, built Raffles City, Marina Square and every other major construction project in the 1980s.

We owe a debt to them because they are doing our national service.

This afternoon some of my friends and I scrambled to arrange for a donation channel for the families of this morning’s accident victims. We spoke to MCYS, MOM and the LTA to see how we could coordinate it so that the public who wish to help out can do so. Then we found that the people already helping migrant/transient workers were most ready, willing and able to help.

The organization is called “Transient Workers Count Too“, and they have offered to take in donations for the victims. The money you donate will go towards the families of the two dead workers, and towards the injured workers while they are unable to work as they recover.

This is how you can donate:

BY CHEQUE:

Make a crossed cheque payable to: ‘Transient Workers Count Too’, write your name and “Bugis MRT Accident” at the back of the cheque and mail it to: 5001 Beach Road, #06-27 Golden Mile Complex, Singapore 199588.
Send an email to info@twc2.org.sg with your name, cheque no., amount and “Bugis MRT Accident”, so that the donation can be properly recorded and a receipt sent to you.

BY SGGIVES (ONLINE)

You can donate using your credit card here. A small commission is charged by this donation collection agency. Under the “Special Occasion / Person” field, type “Bugis MRT Accident”.

BY PAYPAL (ONLINE)

You can use your paypal account or credit card to donate here. However, a commission of 4% or so is charged on every donation. There is no field for you to input the purpose of donation, so it is advisable to drop twc2 an email after you’ve donated by this method.