Sunday, May 29, 2011

ERP - electronic road pricing

ERP - Everyone's Real Pain ...

What was the purpose of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)? The altruistic reason was for traffic flow regulation so as to ensure a smoother traffic flow.
Over the years, we have seen the sprouting of ERP gantry points; on roads least expected and in 'unearthly' hours. Why do we need to charge for road use in evening hours if the mainstay argument was to prevent clogging of roads whilst going to work. The economics of time, and/or, versus money.
The fact is ERP is a money spinner! The motivation has moved from traffic regulation to profit maximixation.
The worse is yet to be if the Land Transport Authority (LTA) were to implement the next generation of the ERP system, which will embrace the global navigation satellite system(GNSS), a technology that makes use of satellites to determine the position of a vehicle.
There are serious concerns on GNSS;
1. Are we encouraging a 'police state', where all our movements are being monitored? Is there zero respect for citizenry rights and privacy. Isn't anyone concern about this?

2. If owning a car is expensive and using the car is even more expensive, why allow cars on the roads? If the sincere intent of ERP is traffic regulation, the mechanism for control of car, by extension cars population, is already in place. Price the costs of Certificate of Entitlement (COE) at stratospheric level such that it is beyond the reach of most. 
If the counterargument is that the average Singaporean may be deprived of owning a car, then implement (2) above but set aside, say 30% of the COEs for citizen's lucky draw. Win some, lose some; the value proposition.
But, before this move, please ensure that the public transport is as seamsless and punctual, as it claimed to be so that people will not be unnecessarily inconvenienced and delayed. Take a look at Hong Kong. When I was working in Hong Kong, I need not drive. I travel in the comfort of public transport (wearing suits). You have the MTR, taxis, buses, mini-buses,the trams not forgetting the waterbase transport system too. We may not be the best yet but certainly we can learn from others lessons and be better.
3. What is the real problem? Is it economic costs or opportunity costs due to congestion, increasing car population, limited number or stretches of roads, revenue issues, security issues? Or that the use of gantry points had outlived their relecance? It pays to reflect for a moment the real intention of the intended policy and to spare a thought for the affected. Every gadget adopted and used will affect the social equilibrium.
4. The use (against ownership) of cars may be a luxury to some but a neccesity to others. When public transport, namely taxis, lorries and buses, is classed together with privately owned cars, the incremental costs of ERP will translate into higher operating costs, and by extension, the costs of living; should the population be further burdened with additional costs?
Finally, if every government agencies must make money, who pays (suffers)? The population; the man in the street like you and me. It affects all, the rich, the poor and the sundry.
When changes affect someone or the mnority but for the betterment for all, proceed. When changes affect everyone, think again and thnk deeply. Is this what everyone wants?
The Moment Of Truths Lies In The Heart ...spare a thought for the less able and the less fortunate


Muppet Movie - The Rainbow Connection

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Theme 1966

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Citizen's Prayer


I pray that ...

- I have enough to eat, a proper place to sleep and a little excess amount of money to keep; I found a job, a HDB and a POSB account.

- I am safe, have sufficient income and savings to start a family, provides for the family, live in a fairly stable and healthy environment; I found myself on an island called Singapore, found insubstantial income but with high Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), manages to start a family and live in a HDB within a clean, healthy and humble surroundings.

- I long for belongings; Life was a low-strung struggle, enough to eat, sufficient to go round, adequate rest and  spent time enjoying peers support and company, with little to nil, or friendly, competition.

 - I seek mobility and found progress and mutual respect; the more I give, the more I get.

My prayers were answered and I have lived half my lifespan!

In my next half or quarter life expectancy, there is a consistent need to find income, a roof over the head, the ability to be mobile,both  socially and physically, and a yet to be realized DREAM. Its trying!

Living is getting expensive; costs - food, housing, transport, utilities, taxes - have gone up, real income has gone down, stagnated or evaporated!

I pray

- I remain able, capable and healthy; that the 'Power' and all 'Power-To-Be' will spare a thought for me when formulating policies that affect me - the man in the street. Whether the Gini coefficient is 0 or 4.2 has little effect on me as I enter my winter years but I still need to live humbly and in harmony and to die with dignity.

- For the better or worse, I am Singaporean; I shall live and die here - my Motherland. To my fellow Singaporeans, if you can't make the place any better, please do not make it worse. Spare a thought for our fellowmen, the less able and less fortunate and make living lighter, livelier and easier.

Society will always have the Good, the Bad & the Ugly; the Able, the Less able and the Dis-able. Care and share with one another. We come (born) naked and shall return (die) with nothingness.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Budget Life

It's getting costlier to be alive and breathing...

Cost of living is rising; out pacing income at most times.

Medical cost is rising faster as the population ages, newer technologies are adopted, more tests are readily available but not necessarily relevant.

The best defense against medical cost is to exercise and remains healthy; preventive medicine and early detection also reduces costs.

A newly acquainted doctor gave me this; "The... patient should be made to understand that he or she must 

take charge of his own life. Don't take your body

to the doctor as if he were a repair shop - Quentin 


Non-reliance on medicine and/or food supplements will diffuse the 'dependency' syndrome.

Interestingly, you have heard of 'budget hotel', 'budget travel', 'budget meals' but why isn't there a 'budget hospital'?

Guess, when it comes to a life threatening situation or sickness, you want the best; whether you can or cannot afford it (becomes secondary).

The priority must be to live healthily, eats well and have enough rest rather than live 'budgetly' - budget travel, budget holidays, budget meals!

Relax; live like a King, live like there is no tomorrows...
Our role on Planet Earth is to enjoy and experience every facets of life.

It is a total failure to live like a church mouse and to have a luxurious sendoff. 

It is great to be rich but if you leave behind plenty without a chance to spend a dime, the money is NOT yours; at best, you have lived, but to most, you lived stupidly!

Live within your means, live healthily and happily.

Relax, whats yours shall be yours, whatever isn't shall never be!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Road To Success

Only 1/9th of the iceberg is seen above water because of the density of pure ice...

Gastric, ulcer, cancer - a mild treatable illness, if left untreated, may manifest into serious terminal illness. 

The Long March "长征" that Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai led eventually returned to haunt Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and sent him packing to Taiwan.

The Imperial Japanese Navy sank the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse in WW2. The British were very confident that their impregnable fortress, Singapore, will not fall.

Manny Pacquiao, the tiny boxer from the Philippines, was an unknown and unrated boxer when he started. Boxing was a career crafted out of poverty, necessity and hunger. 

Originators, discoverers, conquerers - start small & start somewhere

If you don't try, you are guaranteed of failure; only those who dares have a chance to succeed   

General Patton advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in military history.

Nobody is a born winner or loser
The trophy is always there for you 
Circumstances and environment may favor you but inaction will decimate Providence

Is Providence yours to make or does Providence decides your end journey? I choose the former

The road(s) to success(es) is(are) paved with blessings and abundance

Do you DARE??!!