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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Another School Killing? Thousands Found Dead in Apparent Poisoning

Sungei Serangoon, Singapore. Schools of fish were found dead and floating along the Sungei Serangoon on Wednesday. The NEA and PUB are investigating the case.

Meanwhile, the NEA has issued a joint statement with PUB that the waters are not toxic.

At least Singapore agencies deal with matters like these. Other countries don't even bother.

Let's take the recent case of the drunk driver who crashed his car into a drain, failed the breathalyser test, and then bribed the cops with $100. He is now facing double charges for drunk driving and attempted bribery. We ridicule his idiocy because he was caught here. And we laugh at the irony because we know he would have most likely gotten away scot-free in our neighboring countries.

We may have strict laws, but it is sound and it's not difficult to follow. We may nitpick on some policies and complain about some inconveniences.

Now imagine if we had to live with thousands of dead fish for a few weeks and not knowing what the problem was. Imagine if we had corrupt police officers, and instead of paying our GST and ERP, we use our hard-earned money to bribe our way out of trouble. Imagine if some of the trouble was only perceived trouble - man-made by corrupt officials - and you have to bribe anyway just to be 'troublefree'.

Our little red dot would be out of control.

People say we are easy to manage and govern because we are a small nation. It is also true conversely - we can easily get out of control.

Then we read about the trial in Tampines to allow cyclists on footpaths. The Law makes it an offence to cycle on footpaths. But we all know that cycling on footpaths is a much safer choice than to cycle on roads, especially when you're just cycling to school or going to the market. People have been cycling on footpaths for so many years, and co-existing with pedestrians. It has become a way of life.

There are more serious accidents that happen between cyclist and motorist compared to cyclist and pedestrian. That's a fact.

As much as The Law is meant to enforce and penalise, it cannot force the aunties and uncles and schoolchildren cyclists onto the road and endangering their lives just because they have chosen cycling as a safer, cheaper and environmentally alternative mode of transport. They are so much more vulnerable than any motorised vehicle!

The aim of the trial is addressing this very issue rather than skirting it. Yes, some pedestrians may have had nasty experiences with cyclists who zoom past them or ring their bells incessantly. Some may have had experiences with right-of-way issues. But I urge the public to look at the bigger picture - We can live harmoniously with each other.

How, you may ask?

Let's share the paths. There are cyclists and pedestrians co-existing anyway.

Why don't we use the 'Keep Left' rule, like we do on escalators?

Why don't we just ring the bell or say 'excuse me'?

Why can't we stop thinking that every square inch of space belongs to an individual?

Why can't we educate properly?

The trial aims to achieve this - to recognise that there seriously is no problem in the co-existence of cyclist and pedestrian on shared paths. In fact, with the trial, it would be easier to sieve out the errant cyclist from the responsible majority so that proper education can reach out to the right target audience.

Why can't we live with these small but significant rules of space-sharing that will reap results in social grace and responsibility?

Imagine if there were no baby steps to make us a gracious society.

Do we want to be a nation full of selfish and self-centered individuals? To me, if that happens, we will be out of control.

1 comment:

nette_always said...

hey, cool post. i so agree, that the rules do more good than harm - have noticed that especially so after having lived overseas for some time.

Pple overseas can make fun of our no-chewing-gum rule as they get their heels stuck in gunk and walk along polka-dotted side-walks, they can disapprove of the high levels of censorship as they watch their own societies fall into moral degradation, they can disapprove of how strict our justice system is while they read on abt their regular stabbings and gun crime.

And as we walk along our clean streets, not having to fear senseless violence even in the wee hrs of the morning, we'll just look around us and think - SG rules! (pun not intended)