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Monday, July 11, 2005

The Real Story of ITS

Once upon a time in a small nation somewhere one degree north of the equator on the Southeast Asian side of the world, a few gahmen blokes came together in an apparently 'high-level' meeting at a 'very important place'. Now, it is very important to take note of the people who were present at the meeting. After all, we have to give them the rightful credit. So it is hereby stated that at the 'high-level' meeting at the 'very important place', there was Al Tay, Eu Aw Ray, P. Dabludee and Ee Ah Pea (Reference: 'Minutes of Meeting held at the 'High Level' Meeting at the 'Very Important Place' dated 21 August 1995).

The topics of main discussion were mainly hotly-debated issues such as the comparison of bosses from various statutory boards, guesstimation of year-end bonuses, and the never-ending talespinning of what-goes-on and who-does-what on working Saturdays.

"I truly enjoy my breakfasts on Saturday mornings! I buy breakfast to office and eat till 10:30am. I send email to my boss after that and I read the Classifieds. Sometimes I chabot at 12 noon", boasts Al.

"Haha, that's nothing! I go home by 11 o'clock! I just walk to the toilet and pretend I need to pang sai. Everyone thinks I got stomachache. Actually I already escape to the bus stop!" Paramalingamanikam Dabludee(or P. Dabludee for short) proclaims.

And the debate went on and on. Then the blokes managed to slot in the topic of "Introduction and Implementation of ITS" at 5:13pm, just before the official knock-off time of 5:30pm in the gahmen.

Of course ITS stands for Intelligent Transport Systems but during its infancy, ITS was actually known as "System for Highly Intelligent Transport" until some clever acronym-obsessed minister noticed that the moniker was SHIT. Mind you, it took a record-breaking quick 8 months to realise the acronym of this major ministerial taskforce! To think that so many layers of vetting were breached in that process!

Anyway, SHIT was finally approved to be changed to ITS after another 8 months and through 27 gruelling stages of scrutiny and sitting-on-the-desk. In modern terms, Lance Armstrong could have died if this was equivalent to the Tour de France.

And so the 'High-Level' meeting focused on this topic for about 12 minutes. (Note: the 5 minute discrepancy to make up for the official 5:30pm timing is attributed to the standard procedural time alloted for 'going to the john before official knock-off time")

It was decided that the small country would set a precedence for other cities to emulate. How? The nation was going to have a 'world-class transport system'!

What better way than to put it? A 'WORLD-CLASS' Transport System. Whatever they decide to do to the existing transport system, the mere statement would send shudders to neighboring cities! Their rickshaws and tuk-tuks would be no match to the high-speed (but questionable) LRT!

Hence the introduction and implementation of ITS. (By the way, it was a stroke of genius from Mr. Eu Aw Ray while he was washing his hands after the standard john time at 5:25pm. Besides, he could claim overtime when he announced his eureka statement at exactly 5:32pm)

In the years that followed, more 'important' people became involved in ITS. In 2000, there was great fanfare and publicity when the CTE tunnels were 'interactive' with messages of warning (Dead Cat on Lane 3 Ahead), seasonal greetings (Gong Xi Fa Cai! Selamat Hari Raya!) and reassuring words of advice (Drive Carefully, Police Ahead).

Until the original Fantastic 4 crew of Al Tay, Eu Aw Ray, P. Dabludee and Ee Ah Pea left the gahmen one by one 'due to personal reasons'.

The legacy of ITS left with them and the passive others had no choice but to shut down the ITS. It was heartwrenching for many citizens and road users - now, there weren't any avenues to vent their frustrations at utterly useless technological tax-wasting devices. Yes, even the newspapers were silent at the demise of ITS.

While the nation mourned at the loss of opportunity to engage in friendly banter with the gahmen, a fresh gahmen-sponsored graduate from the prestigious School of Ten Year Series and Model Answers returned from his studies and joined the ranks of the elite in the gahmen.
His name was KSYP(name not in full to protect identity of Kisma S. Y Peet).

One day, Kisma stumbled upon a manual that was stuck in between the toilet cistern and wall of the third cublicle of the 24th floor of a stat board. The cover was tattered and torn and smudged beyond recognition. Upon opening it, Kisma knew he had found a gold mine!

The 5-page manual had a contents page, an executive summary page, 2 pages of 'useful' material, and an index page.

The manual was called "Common Phrases Used For ITS"

And now, everybody knows why "Jam in Tunnel" appears on every electronic message board along the CTE even though there is no jam.

Then there's also "Road Closure. Please Use Public Transport". Yep. And everyone who reads this message ARE ALREADY driving on the EXPRESSWAY.

How about "Tree Pruning" - At night?

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Selamat Hari Raya!

Happy Deepavali!

And we're all paying useless tax money for an "Intelligent" Transport System. Let me use my radio anytime.

1 comment:

nic said...

yo, u have something against ITS and the variable messages??? they have evolved away from their original intention. so blame it on those who don't know how to appreciate such high tech gadgets. Pity the govt to think that s'poreans are smart enough