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Friday, May 19, 2006

SPUI Phooey!

As a planner at Al-Tee-Aye, we were 'encouraged' to keep our eyes peeled to technological advancements in our career fields and try to find ways and means to inject 'brilliant' ideas into the Singapore transport scene. We were also 'encouraged' to observe our surroundings and think of how we could maintain Singapore's position as a 'world-class' transport system. Awareness and a keen eye in such totality was what spurred me to come up with several ideas, and I had the passion for it because I took them as noteworthy challenges in my career. Other co-workers felt that such 'involuntary creativity streaks' were just a pain in the ass. I suppose it's a very civil service kind of outlook in the work environment. It is also no wonder they are 'happily' stuck in the cogwheel of public sector, enjoying all the benefits and bonuses with minimal physical and mental work done.

A case in particular is the Eunos Flyover interchange, or rather the interchange beneath the Eunos Flyover just off the Pan Island Expressway (PIE). Just a few months before I left the [dis]organization in 2003, I put up a proposal to improve the traffic congestion along the said interchange.

Basically, the interchange consisted of 2 ramp intersections which required the operation of 2 traffic signals to control the ever-increasing traffic coming off the expressway. The proposal came with a suggestion to change these 2 intersections into a single point urban interchange. In traffic terms, it was called a SPUI (spoo-ee). I even drew out a schematic to illustrate the idea, which I remembered coming across in my senior year at Purdue.

To understand the benefits of the SPUI, see illustrations (drawn by me, of course).

Point to note is that the civil service (at least in the Al-Tee-Aye) has many layers of rank and file. As such, my 'idea' only went up one rung and it was gunned down like a prisoner condemned to the firing squad, citing cost issues and dig this: "Your US example will not work in Singapore! No need to bring US ideas here!". Period. Screw their myopic view on 'thinking out of the box' and other related shit. And so I left the [dis]organization without my plan coming into fruition.

Fast forward to present day May 2006. I travel along the PIE and get off the Eunos exit. Guess what? The SPUI is in place! I would love to think that my 'idea' and efforts were appreciated, but I doubt that would ever have happened. It is more likely that some *expletive that starts with A* cannibalised my 'idea' and is taking full credit for it.

I am so damn pissed everytime I use that intersection. That SPUI idea is meant to be mine! Ergghh!

I know sometimes workplaces are like this - people take full advantage of you, and sometimes they even take you down in that process. But I see it as more evident in the civil service where there is absolutely no sense of teamwork (there is, but it is 'forced upon') and integrity. It just irks me no end that there are so many ignorant and narrow-minded deadwood in the service.

It's like that in life sometimes too. This doesn't always happen at the workplace. Sometimes I just wonder is this an Asian trait? Kiasu-ism? Survival of the fittest?

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