君子报仇，五年未晚 jūnzǐ bàochóu, shí nián wèi wǎn – When a gentleman takes revenge, ten five years is not too late; one should bide one’s time and wait for the right opportunity to seek vengeance; similar to “revenge is a dish best served cold”.
Even at Elias Mall coffeeshop, we could not escape the election fever. Endless rounds of heated debate and emotional discussion on the latest campaign trails by heartlanders have been going on. The on-going election campaign is reaching its climax with many political rallies held every night all over the island causing massive traffic jam and havoc! It’s now on the 4th day and Singaporeans will have to go to the polls on 9/11 (Friday) to decide which political party will rule over us for the next 5 years.
In one of the emotional deliberations on the pros and cons of the political parties, I was suddenly asked a pointed question if I would vote against the incumbent party? They exhort me to seek revenge by voting against the ruling party. They are aware of my case.
My case briefly …
Between 19/4/2014 to 3/6/2014, I was issued 7 summons at the same place around the same time between 1am to 1.30am for not complying with “No Waiting” sign near to Bishan MRT bus stop whilst driving taxi. I was doing the night shift then. I used to send someone working in EM coffeeshop back to AMK and then I would proceed to Bishan MRT to look for a “fish.” It’s my kelong as well as LTA kelong! Usually there are pax around that time coming out of Junction 8. The taxi stand is quite a distance away. Pax too lazy to walk. Most taxis would wait at the bus stop for pax. The CCTV captured my taxi and I was issued 7 parking summons at $70 each. All the summons came within a few days. I was quite shocked to receive so many summons at one go.
I personally went down to LTA to appeal to the officer. A young lady officer half my age interviewed me. There was a camera overlooking us when the interview took place in a small room after I was called in. I told her that it’s after 1am and that there was no bus. I was inside the taxi all the time. I was willing to pay one of the 7 summons. I assured her that I had learnt my lesson and that I would never ever park or wait at the said place in future. $490 for the 7 summons is a huge sum of money to me and I only managed to earn about $100 a day. ( I was new to the taxi trade then & still struggling )
After listening to my explanation, she said that she could only waive one of the 7 summons. I would have to pay up or go to court to answer to the 7 charges! She was unmoved by my desperate pleas. I asked for leniency and compassion based on the time of the offenses. There was no obstruction caused. I was merely doing a service to the pax at their convenience so that they need not walk so far to the taxi stand.
To add insult to injury, she commented on “how I managed to pass my driving and taxi licenses?” “The law does not say that certain time I could park or wait at the place intentionally committing the offense.” She said that I should know the law better and that I had committed an offense. Like a mangy bitch bitting hard, she refused to let me go!
I replied I never denied that I had committed the offenses. I was at fault. That is why I’m here to appeal to your compassion and asked for leniency. If I were not at fault, I would have gone to court to fight it out!
I mentioned that there are many places with vehicles parked illegally causing worst obstruction due to lack of parking facilities especially in some private residential estates. If you could tolerate illegal parking at some religious places and schools why couldn’t you let a poor taxi driver off with a warning instead? After all, I was willing to pay for one of the 7 offenses. I further assured her that I would never do it again. My desperate pleas fell on a deaf frog. Typical case of public servant insolence with an iron rice bowl mindset who doesn’t need your vote! No use lah. Wasted trip.
When she refused to relent, I told her I would see my MP to appeal on my behalf. Immediately, she extended the grace period to pay for the summons for another month giving me time to see my MP. I had the impression that they are more into revenue collection than road safety education.
In my whole adult life, I have never been to any Meet the People session. I had no choice but to approach my MP. I told the MP that in a criminal case where an accused committed 7 counts of housebreaking or any criminal cases of the same nature, usually the prosecution will only proceed on 2 or 3 counts. Even if the accused is convicted on the said criminal offense, he would be sentenced concurrently with the rest taken into consideration ( TIC ). It simply means that the court only effectively proceeds on one of the same numerous charges! Obviously my parking offenses are even worst than criminal offenses!
Before my MP spoke to me, I was attended by one ang mo grassroots assistant. They were most helpful. The MP was pleased that I was willing to pay one of the 7 summons. It made his job easier. He then wrote an appeal letter to LTA on my behalf. Within a week, the replay came. I was instructed to pay 2 of the 7 summons! I was further given a stern warning and a lecture on the evils of illegal parking! I paid $140 for the 2 summons without further argument.
Not only me but many of my friends had many bad encounters with LTA traffic enforcement officers. Just to randomly quote a few cases…
Douglas was inside the car about to pick up his wife at the Pasir Ris MRT station roundabout near to White Sands. LTA officer simply snapped a picture of his car. He was given a fine. Taxi driver Pop Ong was “On Call” at Tanglin Mall taxi stand where only 2 taxis are allowed. He was the 3rd taxi but with “On Call” sign prominently displayed yet he was snapped a picture and given a fine. His appeal was rejected. Crazy Kang parked for a few minutes along Punggol Rd to allow his pax to buy something and he got a ticket for the illegal parking in a dead night.
Taxi driver Hamster Wong was cleaning his taxi with a damp cloth at one corner in the HDB neighborhood whilst waiting for his relief, yet he was chased off by LTA officer for parking along double yellow lines with threat of a summon. He has been doing just that for donkey years until recently. He told me that even when the MP of the area passed by one day saw him cleaning his taxi, he commented that he’s working very hard. Yet there was this foreigner putting on LTA uniform with a little bit of power terrorizing him. “I don’t understand what the government is doing? Cheng Hu Zou Si Mi Lan employing those foreign idiots? In those earlier bygone days with carpark aunties (before those foreign morons,) there was no problem.” Remember those LTA morons even summoned a hearse for illegal parking in a HDB estate when it went viral on social media?
What about my relief driver Alan Taxi parked at his block below when he realized that he forgot to take his wallet? Barely 5 mins he came down and explained to the LTA officer yet he was issued a summon. Can’t he tell if the car engine is still hot or did he make any observation before he issued any summon? Another taxi driver Born Loser Seong literally screamed at one LTA officer when he about to snap a picture of his taxi. He screamed at the LTA officer that every car park in the entire Singapore is given a grace period of 10 mins. His taxi was there for barely 5 mins yet that moron wanted to issue summon against his taxi! Really langgar!
As Singaporeans and citizens of this country, we are really at the mercy of those foreigners whom given a little power begin to terrorize us with summons for every little minor infringement. No compassion or common sense at all. Unprofessionalism happens when it’s outsourced to cheap foreign labour! Some say that they get commission out of every summon issued? I’m not sure about that though. We are really helpless at our wits’ end. EM heartlanders say it’s time to seek revenge by sending a strong message across by voting against the ruling party. I only mentioned parking issues. What about other issues other than parking summons? Wonder no more during this period almost all enforcement actions cease. Those LTA morons suddenly disappear or lying very low. Few days before polling, particularly on the actual polling day you will notice all kinds of illegal hawkers surfacing in the bus interchanges or MRT areas selling all kinds of stuff with the relevant authorities closing both eyes!
Just like those summons quoted above, tough enforcement action will definitely lose them some votes! They understand that fact. No government during this 9 day election campaign lah! Normal operations – back to their nonsense will resume only after the GE. I’ve lived thru many GEs to understand this point.
Some voters living under the incumbent party will surely have some issues or unhappiness over the years. They are normal commoners struggling with daily high costs of living and the stress of high density living. Add up all these will definitely turn into a potent force as witnessed by the huge tremendous turnout at every opposition political rally. Most heartlanders are not highly educated professionals able to analyze the overall performance of the ruling party. We are no scholars but merely poor farmers minding our own plots of land to survive. Whether I drive my taxi or not, I still need to pay $132 rental per day!
Like I said earlier, the commoners do not appreciate that we’ve got the best Finance Minister in the world that even the United Nations is eyeing. Do they realize that without a capable Defense Minister, we could never have a powerful Air Force with more than a hundred super fighter jets for such a small country with only 5.3 million people? I ever mentioned on my previous blogs that every foreigner (100%) whether a tourist or expatriate always envy our current status. When I told them it looks nice on the outside with our beautiful highways and lego like buildings in town and in the HDB heartlands, we still have our own problems they may not know. They then retorted just look across to the north and compare. No need to look further. I don’t wish to elaborate. Certain things are better not said here.
Yup. There is no perfection in this world. Look around you – your family members, relatives and friends, they are never perfect. Like I related about my 7 summons earlier, the government is not perfect. They can never be perfect lah! I also got my fair share of grievances. But we will have to look at the bigger picture before we cast that vote on polling day. Think carefully before you decide to mark on that piece of paper. Whatever the outcome, we will have to live with it for the next 5 years.
If you analyze carefully, the ruling party need only to win over 15% of the votes to retain power. 33% of the voters will always support them with the other 33% hard core opposition. Taking into account of 3% spoilt invalid votes, only the 15% need to be sway to their side. Myself and many of us belong to this group. In fact, most heartlanders belong to this group of voters. That’s why the fight for the hearts and minds will always be at the HDB heartlands. They did not hold their press conferences introducing new candidates in the coffeeshops for no reason right?
Finally, my assessment for the mother of all elections on 9/11/15. Aljunied GRC, Punggol East SMC, Hougang SMC will go back to WP. Potong Pasir & Fengshan may fall. Tin P L will get to keep Macpherson. East Coast GRC hard to say. Overall percentage of ruling party will go up by few percentage points. After all, it’s their year – SG50 in a way is synonymous with the ruling party’s performance. The many programs rolled out such as Pioneer Generation package, Medishield subsidy, Quarterly Workfare for low wage earners etc etc. with even dialect clips shown on TV are sure winners.
Heavy bets have already been placed at EM. If the ruling party hit 60 points, Alberto will have to buy me a dozen beer. I’m looking forward to the countdown. It’s getting more and more exciting as we get nearer to the polling day!