Friday, December 07, 2012

A raw deal

Goodness gracious me, did I hear wrongly or is it just a nightmare? According to reports, the Transport Minister appears to be blaming, albeit indirectly, the long-suffering public transport commuting public of being responsible for the unhappiness of the China bus drivers, and eventually their strike action. Oh no, its not the management of SMRT, you see. They are just trying to run a bus and train company, like any other profit making entity. They need to minimise cost and thereby increase profit. And it is not the innocent shareholders of the public-listed SMRT. They just want SMRT to make money so that they get their money for their money. And it is certainly not the government. See how they have virtually given away S$1 billion of taxpayers money to the public transport operators, of which SMRT is one of them, because these operators probably claim they cannot afford to buy their buses, never mind that they report profits every year. Yep, there is no better business than public transport in Singapore. The authorities have made owning a car so exorbitantly expensive that folks like you and I have no choice but to give over part of our pay to these companies every day. And now we learn that they have been squeezing every last cent out of its drivers, especially from those long-suffering China drivers. After all, isn't it the responsible thing for a listed company to do? Maximise profit? CSR? Yah, that's what you do AFTER the profits roll in.

It would appear that the management of SMRT can sit around twiddling their thumbs and whatever else they can touch in ecstasy as they look at the cash rolling in every second, from the commuters, from the government, and from its own employees. We'll just call this reverse cash flow. But the flow ends up with the company. Heck there is no real need to think. And that's when we now get trains and tracks malfunctioning for extended periods of time, with buses and trains overflowing with people. I can just hear the curses under everyone's breadth. The commuters who are just trying to get to work, or home. The transport operators' management, for having their mid-afternoon breaks interrupted rudely.

Its all the common folk's fault, you see. They just don't pay enough for their bus and train trips. When we trace the problem to its root, it is we, the common folks, who are the bloodsuckers, and the cause of all the transport problems we have been having. That's why they are looking to raising the bus and train fares, and not cutting the big fat bonuses of the kopi-drinking senior management. Yep, there is one who broke the management, took the money and has now fled the coop. And who allowed this to happen?

So, if I follow the logic correctly, we eventually have to pony up more cash from own pockets to pay for increasing the salary of its bus drivers, which by the way is shrinking as inflation stays at 4-5%. This whole thing is now so convoluted that I cannot believe this is the Singapore I grew up in. How did we arrive at this situation, anyway? And we are paying millions more to people who are suppose to protect the people's interest?

Give me a saw so that I can sink my teeth into it. It is probably more bearable than witnessing the farce taking place in front of me.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

It is so nauseating that if anyone mention fare increase or anything remotely related to SMRT, I want to puke.