Saturday, November 30, 2013

SMRT - concrete sleepers

SMRT are replacing the wooden sleepers with concrete ones in their major overhaul maintenance. They should give the public a cost comparison and detail of advantages between timber vs concrete sleepers.

Some time back, there was an allegation that SMRT used sub standard timber when replacing the current failing wooden sleepers. SMRT has refuted the allegation as untrue.  Since SMRT is capable of using plastic cable ties to hold parts together,  the public cannot be blamed for having doubts in SMRT selection of timber quality.

Now they announced they are using concrete sleepers, one wonders the reason behind it. Could it be cost consideration?  Timber sleepers are better sound and vibration absorber compare to concrete. Besides - they are lighter.

Hope SMRT has done a thorough load calculation of the concrete sleepers on the overhead MRT tracks which are supported on pillars.  Likely the concrete sleepers would have reinforced steel bars in them which increased their weight further.

Still fresh in our mind are the major breakdowns due to increased passage load and frequency of trains over stressing the train rails. Now there will be another new stress factor from concrete sleepers on the overhead tracks and rails.  It may have an impact on the structure integrity over time, especially if its original design is meant for wooden sleepers.

So looks like the money SMRT spend to upgrade the train's drive system to a quieter one will be undone by noisier concrete sleepers.  Jerkier train ride in future too ?

SPYING classification

The way our govt under PAP leadership deals with inquiry both during parliamentary session and in foreign diplomacy is the same - non answer or beat around the bushes.  So when our neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia questioned if S'pore is involved in the recent spying incident, the answer given by our 'esteem' minister is - he is not going to answer the question.  Instead he gave everyone a lecture on how spying is classified. Spying is considered as spying if it :
1) is harmful
2) there is 100%  involvement

What seems to be implied is that it is ok to spy on your neighbor if it is 'not harmful'. Sound pretty lame indeed. Don't think Malaysia nor Indonesia think it is acceptable. What a stupid answer, as it is an invitation for all countries to spy on S'pore as long as it is 'not harmful'.  Perhaps the minister should clearly define what constitute 'harmful' and 'not harmful'.

The 2nd spying classification by percentage is equally idiotic. According to our 'esteem' minister - since it is difficult to determine the percentage - "5% true or 95% true", therefore he could not provide an answer if S'pore spied on our neighbors.  Is he implying that only if it is 100% involvement - then it is consider as spying?  So maybe because S'pore only 'assisted' US and Australia in their spying activities, S'pore involvement is less than 100% . Therefore it is not consider as spying.  By his account, our neighboring countries can join force and spy on S'pore, as long as each of their involvement is less than 100%.

If one does something behind your neighbor's back, yet does not have the guts to stand up for your action when confronted - what does it says about that person ?  When you cannot justify your action, then at least offer an apology. Sigh - we the citizens are ashamed of our govt under PAP leadership.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

AVA Murdering Monkeys

During the SARS period, AVA went around killing stray cats even though the suspected cause of SARS is from the raccoon (civet cat), with a name that sound like a cat. If I am not mistaken, AVA was then under the 'reign' or our current flood/mosquitoes minister VB. That confirmed our govt tend to over-react and take the easy way when problems arise, regardless of the root cause of those issues. As long as they can say ''see we have taken action'', it matters not if those actions solve the problem. No wonder the govt under PAP is infamous for being the 'Wayang King'

When we have folks complaining about monkey, AVA take the easy route and engage contractors to murder them. These contractors are paid by the number of monkeys they killed. That gives them motivation to capture monkey even in protected nature reserves.  As our govt is motivated by greed, they used similar method to motivate the contractors they engaged.

The problem is started by human beings - root cause. But AVA goes after the monkeys. Sigh !  Majority of the complaints are from the residents living near the nature reserve. Folks who choose to live near nature should learn to appreciate and integrate their way of live with their environment. Instead, they expect nature to accommodate them ! 

Our nature reserve in Bt Timah Hill is invaded by loads of human daily. During the weekend it is worst, with many organised groups walking up the hill.  These folks feed the monkeys although there are prominent notices prohibiting it. The few rangers are ineffective in enforcing the rule.

So the monkeys got used to human and associate them with food. Now when they get too close for comfort, folks start complaining the they are 'attacked' or 'look like it is going to attack my child'.  Whether the monkey actually attack, matters not.  When the word 'child' is mentioned, those monkeys are doomed.

AVA can't even live up to their Corporate Vision is - "To be a premier organisation known for our professional expertise...", and one of their goals is : Promote animal welfare.

Have they been actively doing it ? Looks like they are actively terminating animals instead over the years whenever there are complaints. First the cats, recently dogs and now the monkeys.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Heart break being a stray caregiver

A stray cat I looked after for 5 years died this week of suspected kidney problem (drink alot).  It is very painful for me this time round as this cat had been accompanying me during my morning exercise almost everyday for the past 5 years.  In fact, it was closer to me and I am more attached to it than my own pet at home.

I believe in euthanasia to prevent an animal from unnecessary suffering when the end is near. Though the decision is hard to make, I have done it before for my own pets and strays in the past. I failed to make the call this time due to my strong emotional attachment to this dignify stray.  I have been delaying it till it is too late. It remained 'posed and dignified' till its last day. I know it was getting weaker and losing weight as it was hardly eating, but it never failed to turn up in the morning to greet me. 

The last day I saw it, it was sticking more closely to me than usual. I wanted to make the call that day but it looked 'better' as it was more active following me around.  The next day it was gone. Strays normally hide in the drains to die. 

I wish I had made the call days or weeks earlier, perhaps it could have eased its suffering. How I wish they could communicate when they are ready to leave this world.  Some, like this stray, are so resilience and have such strong life force it is so difficult to know if they want to fight till the end or go peacefully earlier.