I’m now having an animated conversation with “caveman” at Elias Mall. Knowing that today is my off day, he purposely came down to EM to look for me. He wanted to let me know that he got some mosquito issues with NEA. He insisted that I should blog about it.
Some background info about caveman. He is an unique character. I know him thru Encik. They belong to a group of pioneer Penang boys who came to Singapore to join the Air Force in the 1970s. People like them helped to build up our current formidable and deadly Air Defense system. Encik served the RSAF for more than 35 yrs until his retirement about 5 years ago, whereas caveman left after few yrs to pursue other jobs. He became an entrepreneur and ever owned a factory in Indonesia with vast working experiences in China and Hong Kong for many years. He is illiterate in Chinese. He used to lament that if only he could read and write Chinese, he could be a billionaire! He made his fortune in his younger days and having acquired 2 landed properties, he is now semi-retired driving his Mercedes E220 around with lots of free time. He is always seen carrying a small toothbrush in his pocket. He reminds me of Lee Child’s character Jack Reacher who also happens to carry only a toothbrush in his pocket – the tough no nonsense weird but brilliant character. Click here to read about Jack Reacher. From 3 miles away, one could spot him with his golden flipping flying golden hair and walk with a giant swaggering gait. He is also a great supporter of this government and its liberal foreigner policy. I’ll blog about it other time.
Let’s look at his latest problem with NEA. He’s living in the Kovan area in a landed property. On 8 Jan, He got a memo from NEA accusing him of breeding mosquitoes on his dust bin which is supplied by SemCorp. The typical green color plastic dust bin placed outside each house. The dust bin was inverted. NEA claimed that there was mosquito breeding when it’s invereted – presumably at the perimeter of the dust bin cover where water is collected. Recently, he got another memo instructing him to attend court or pay a fine. He is jumping furious mad now.
Caveman says that he did not buy the dust bin. It’s supplied by SemCorp. He’s paying the monthly conservancy charge for it. If it breeds mosquitoes when it’s inverted, whose fault? To invert the dust bin is to prevent mosquito breeding and if it doesn’t then whose fault? Obviously, there is a design defect in the product which he should not be held accountable says he. What about if it is in normal position where rubbish is collected? Will it breed mosquitoes also?
From his description, I find it rather amusing. Now caveman is saying that no wonder Singapore has got mosquitoes all over the place cuz of the design defect on those SembCorp bins distributed to households. NEA is targeting at innocent households as scapegoats which he feels is very unfair! Instead of looking at the design defect and whacking SembCorp, they are taking the soft option of targeting innocent residents. NEA simply throw summons to helpless households threatening them either to pay up or go to court. They are typical civil servants bullying innocent helpless residents. Those sitting up there with fat salaries are always clever at looking for soft targets. Caveman was suggesting that perhaps holes need to drill on them to prevent water retention but they did not bother to investigate and solve the problem. Just issue summons and hopefully the problem ends there.
Caveman is really furious at the unjust treatment received on his ends. He also claims that he does not wish mosquito breeding in the vicinity cuz his own safety and family’s health will be in danger if there is dengue epidemic. Even though he is trying to explain the problem to NEA the root cause, they refused to listen to his explanation and pleas. In short, they are deaf frogs refusing to accept feedback to the problem. He is wondering what sort of bureaucratic high handedness he is langgaring here!
Caveman is now wondering what course of action he could take. Maybe, he will have to report to the police alleging that SemCorp by supplying those defective design bins are the perpetrators of massive mosquito breeding in the whole of Singapore! He believes those foreigners employed by SemCorp are the actual culprits inverting the bins after they’ve cleared the rubbish. Who would listen to a lone voice like caveman when deaf frogs occupying positions of authority do not empathize with commoners like him?
26 March 2014
APPEAL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF INTENDED SUMMARY ACTION FOR MOSQUITO BREEDING OFFENCE
I refer to your appeal dated 13 March 2014 on the above-mentioned subject.
Our officers inspected your home and others in the neighbourhood on 8 January 2014 because of reported dengue cases in your estate. The purpose of the inspections is to remove mosquito breeding sources to prevent more dengue cases from arising. During the inspection, our officers found Aedes mosquitoes breeding in an inverted recycle bin outside your premises.
The Public Waste Collector (PWC) has previously distributed recycling bins to all premises in your neighbourhood at the start of the PWC contract. Thereafter, the responsibility of the bins’ maintenance comes under the residents who are issued with these bins. As such, residents are to ensure that the bins are kept free of mosquito breeding.
We have considered your appeal but are unable to withdraw the intended enforcement action for the mosquito breeding offence.
The Notice To Attend Court (NTAC), with an offer to compound this offence, will be served to you. Notwithstanding the enforcement action, please ensure that the conditions of the premises are not favourable to the propagation and harbouring of vectors at all times.
Please contact Ms N of our North East Regional Office at 6554 5733 between 2pm and 5pm on weekdays should you require further clarification. Alternatively, you can call the NEA Contact Centre at 1800 2255 632 or email to Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg.
Environmental Health Department
It seems you that you guys want to play around with your jobs and not interested to investigate any further.
The whole of Singapore will know of this within few days/hours how incompetent our NEA has become since you sign off at the director level.
I am a law abiding 60 year old jobless citizen since my return from China in 2008. I have the time and resources to help bring about lesser mosquitoes environment in Singapore yet you top civil servants don’t bother even to listen.
Subject : Your men inverting rubbish dump at my premises
Your attention is drawn to the letter from NEA to me that mosquito was found breeding at the inverted rubbish bin outside my house.
Please note that your refuse collection team sometimes invert dustbin after they have extracted the refuse. To NEA the inverting of bins can breed mosquito at the handle part as water can collect on it for which I was not aware of it. Please inform your team to put back bins vertically after extracting the refuse. As a residents we cannot be 365 days looking after the defective bins as we can be overseas too. I suggest you drill holes at the handles if your men wants to invert it for reasons known to them so as to allow water to flow out to the ground during rainy days.
Subject: Nero/ALJ/14/140 Mosquito breeding
Ref your letter 10 Mar 2014.
I did received the notification slip that described an overturned dustbin outside my house was breeding mosquito. I have SMS to that notification slip on the same day to a number stated on the slip a Malay name officer, that Semb Corp rubbish collection team is the one that over turn the dustbin randomly and as such if it breeds mosquitoes I have to return all the dustbins back to Semb Corp and get my money refunded as the design of it is wrong as I should not collect water when inverted.
Subsequently, before cny another Chinese man and after cny two more visits by nea officials was sent to inspect our premises and has no complaints.
This is a long forgotten matter what is the purpose of bringing up this matter. However, if you want to take enforcement action it will be passed on to Semb Corp as they are the ones handling the dustbins, which ones is mine or my neighbours I don’t know. I sometimes go overseas how I am to be responsible for the overturned rubbish bins.
Please note I also made a telephone call to your office and placed my mobile number with your reception today 4.30
Profile of Caveman
PS: Caveman says that he’s willing to be interviewed and he’ll stand by what he said.
Latest update from Caveman …
This is NOT a letter of appeal. It is to inform you we can work together as the evidence against your department is overwhelming.
There are 4 vital points pointing towards failure in your part.
1. Knowingly issued defective bins. If you don’t know how am I a layman to know? An inverted bin by your men means it is safe and not in use. Refer photos
2. Failure to warn users of defective bins and do nothing to correct the defect. See attached 2 photos taken today, of area around my home, ignorant residences maybe thinking they not using the bins or inverted by the collectors.
3. Inverting the bins after throwing the rubbish.
4. Skip few days without emptying the bins otherwise collector will notice bin is inverted and upright it.. no mosquitoes.
I will see my MP for this matter and take it to national level if we carry on like this. I have time, resources, and sense of duty to my fellow Singaporeans to see this to the highest and seek justice.
If I am 100% at fault normally I will pay and forget just like parking offence. Today I am so agitated because this problem starts on 8 Jan and I have not seen nor sign any admission of guilt. To date you send in so many manhours into my house and find nothing for a problem not created by me but solution is found outside on the streets.
Therefore I cannot be held accountable and will not pay even a cent to coverup somebody’s mistake as this will be tantamount to be your accomplice.
For me, I would like this matter come to rest quickily, and do the necessary to undo the dangerous potential created by the designer of this bin. To date I think deaths has occurred.
I love my Singapore.
Photos taken near Caveman’s place.
I interpreted Caveman as drilling a hole at the “perimeter of the dust bin cover where water is collected”.
I am not a milliionaire.
An inverted bin would be useless in containing trash. Why would the dustman want to invert it. Does Caveman mean the cover inverted (not closed), rather than the bin inverted? In this case, it is the person who left the cover opened at fault. Alternately a hole could be drilled in the cover to make it impossible to collect water, the hole should also not allow water to enter when raining too.
He’s referring to the entire dust bin turned upside down. Meaning the wheels are facing the sky instead of touching the ground.
I had a closer look at the bin and compared it with my bin. it’s almost identical and it’s not a design defect. The solution cost nothing from NEA or to caveman. I’ll gladly provide it if he is all ears for once
I believe all of us need to be enlightened by your insight. We are all ears to solve this mossie problem. Issue summons like no tomorrow is not the way to solve this perennial problem.
There is no solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
With mystery happening in Singapore everyday everywhere, the real culprit causing the stagnant water will be hard to pinpoint/ narrow down as a whole.
Maybe you could think of those safe natural option (or good own mix) mosquito repellent for your house (and suspected source) to fight dengue painlessly.
Is there evidence that Caveman or someone in his household inverted the bin? If no, what’s the case for NEA to summon him? Because the bin is in front of his house? !?!
Like that than for us staying in HDB, if Town Council’s bins breed mosquitoes than whole block summoned ah!?!?
If SemCorp clears rubbish daily, would the bins have bred mosquitoes?
I’d say go to court and let NEA make a mockery of itself, unless Caveman was the one who inverted the bin.
Nop. Caveman did not overturn the bin. Neither his family members. Or he won’t be jumping from Kovan to Elias Mall to seek my audience last night!
Having studied your Caveman’s case, I’ve come to the following conclusion.
a) The plastic bin belongs to SembCorp. It’s written very clearly. It’s not owned by Caveman. Since he pays for rubbish disposal, the bin is there for that purpose.
b) It shld not collect water and breed mosquitoes when it’s inverted or turned upside down. Nobody would have imagined that it’s mosquitoe friendly when inverted. That’s pure commonsense. If it defies logic, then the bin is defective.
c) The bin is placed outside the premises at a public place not inside his house. If it’s inside the house eg flower pots, pails etc which belong directly to the owner, then it’s a different matter. You don’t expect the owner to keep checking something that doesn’t belong to him placed at a public place outside his house right?
d) Even if the above point C is overridden by the owner, when Caveman noticed that the bin is inverted or turned upside down, he would logically presume that it’s mosquito safe which is precisely why it’s inverted in the first place. Given the fact that he’s not an anti-mosquito professional, NEA shld not expect him to micro examine every single object or part of an object for any sign of mosquito breeding.
e) Fact is Caveman ‘s pleas go unheard cuz he’s just a lone voice against a huge organisation with the full backing of the entire government machinery. But if 2.4 million Cavemen, instead of one Caveman protesting, those licensed thugs will take notice. It’s better to shoot a small fry like Caveman than going against another huge similar organisation which owns the defective item.
f) Lastly, there is no written warning issued to Caveman at all. If he’s given a written warning for that or educated by way of advice then it’s another totally different matter. No chance for Caveman to defend or explain. Simply issued a summons to poor helpless Caveman. You either pay or go to court to explain. What sort of public governance? More like thugs using strong arm tactics. Don’t you think so?
Looks like Caveman got no choice but to pay up lan lan cuz he can’t fight or win the administration machinery. He simply doesn’t have the time, energy or resources to fight the battle. Would he rather pay few hundreds or spend thousands for a lawyer in court? They are using public funds or taxpayer’s money to whack helpless Caveman. That’s a fact he’ll need to understand. It’s an exercise in futility!
Great ancient jungle wisdom! Another century humorous truth!
I guess since its from Semb corp, it cannot be thrown away, if not this would have been the easiest solution……all problem solved, the housing provision of the mossy problem is but a fraction of the contributors, if one were to drive to jurong specially near the end where scarp yards is located the mossy would be in the thousands as puddles and abandoned tiolets are swamp, i have used up a whole new bottle of Shieldtox on one such toilet and yet there were still hundreds more fllying around, NEA, need just to visit one of such places to verify, but I guess they are much more interested in Hougang area nowadays.