Thursday, October 23, 2008
By Christopher Tan
Oct 23, 2008
STUCK in a taxi queue that is hardly moving?
Relief may come soon from a system of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at taxi stands feeding 'live' images back to cab despatch centres, which can direct cabbies to where fares are waiting.
Home-grown information technology company Stratech Systems is devising such a system in response to a call by the Media Development Authority (MDA) for industries to design innovative business solutions.
It is disbursing $12 million for 15 such innovations, among which is Stratech's 'Dynamic Vehicle Allocation System'.
Stratech executive chairman David Chew said the system, which he claimed will be a world first, will be installed at 50 taxi stands, mostly in the Central Business District, for a start.
It should be ready for trial in nine months. He said of the current problem: 'Taxis may be waiting at a vacant stand while commuters queue in vain elsewhere.'
More than just feeding images of taxi queues back to taxi operators, he said, Stratech's system would be smart enough to adjust to changes in the numbers of waiting commuters and cabs arriving.
'Today's taxi despatch systems are dumb,' said the Stratech chief, who has begun talking to the taxi operators.
Ms Tammy Tan, spokesman for ComfortDelGro Corp, Singapore's largest cab company, said: 'We believe a taxi queue monitoring system will help our drivers pinpoint areas where there is higher demand and have in fact been exploring such a system ourselves.'
She added ComfortDelGro was 'encouraged' by the MDA's support of such an initiative and would seek to work with it on its development.
SMRT Taxis' senior manager of customer relations Eunice Lui said initiatives that will enhance taxi services for customers are welcome.
Industry observers, however, said they did not see anything compelling about the system.
Property firm executive H. Y. Loh, a 51-year-old regular cab commuter, is sceptical. She said the system would work in bad times, 'when cabbies going to taxi stands are at least assured of business'. But she is less sure it will work when good times return, because more people will be taking cabs then.
Cab companies may also not back Stratech's system fully, since doing so will hit their call-booking revenue. After all, commuters in taxi queues often resort to phoning for a cab, said Ms Loh.
But Mr Chew said that if Stratech's system works, 'it will ensure a continuous flow of taxis'.
For God’s Sake, can’t they see this is yet another White Elephant.
Firstly – The Cab will only appear when there are Surcharges. Extra bucks to be earned.
Secondly – I thought all cab in Singapore are being installed with some super duper GPS system? Isn’t this good enough to pin point where are all the cabs? Is it necessary to spend $12millions to install 15 of this junk? Who is going to pay for it anyway? Another reason to add more surchages?
This system is not solving the root cause of the problem. Say taxi stand A has no taxi and the queue is really long. So how will this $12M system help with the main problem, which is shortage of taxi at stand A? Absolutely nothing! It only confirmed there is a long queue at Stand A.
Taxi who are at Stand A picking up Passengers most likely has already called their buddies that there are a shortage of cab anyway. Or if they are kind enough they may had also call their dispatch centers.
Come on lah. No need to spend $12Millions on such White Elephant. Use the money to help the poor instead.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Govt looking at helping Singaporeans overcome economic hardship
18 October 2008 2149 hrs (SST)
SINGAPORE: Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said the government is looking at how it can help Singaporeans overcome temporary economic hardship next year.
Mr Goh, who was speaking at a community event on Saturday, said Singapore's economy is expected to grow by about 3 per cent this year, but next year's growth could be even slower.
But the senior minister believes that with Singapore's current diversified economy and strong economic fundamentals, the country can bounce back if Singaporeans stick together.
"The government is already thinking about what it can do to help businesses and ordinary Singaporeans – in particular lower income Singaporeans – next year," he said.
On financial products that are linked to failed investment bank Lehman Brothers, Mr Goh said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects financial institutions to pay attention to vulnerable investors such as retirees.
Where there are sufficient indications that the product was mis-sold, the senior minister expects the financial institutions to take full responsibility and reach a fair settlement with investors, on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Goh said: "MAS understands from the banks and financial institutions that they will try to be helpful, so they will investigate each case thoroughly and where there is any doubt, they will try and settle in favour of the investor.
"MAS is a very professional, rational institution. It doesn't try to put pressure on people, it doesn't make big speeches to convince people that it is doing many things.
"Behind the scene, I can tell you, MAS has been quietly working with the banks and financial institutions to find a fair solution for people who have invested in the products."
The senior minister said everyone must view the losses in perspective – millions have lost their savings worldwide, so Singaporeans must be realistic in their expectations.
I think it does not take a genius to know how to "help ordinary Singaporean" but rather the question is, does the Govt really want to do it . Or as usual, they have their own interest in mind.
Some ways which I think the Man- in- White can do to help ordinary Singaporean, please bear in mind I am not even paid millions a year to come up with these ideas.
1) Cancel or reduce the 21% Electricity Pay Hike
2) Freeze all public transport fare increase for the next 3 years (Note these Public Transport Companies are still making money and I bet their business will increase even more during bad times)
3) Guarantee all deposit and Insurance in Singapore.
4) Pay cut for all ministers plus the president to set up a fund to help the old and low income Singaporean.
5) GIC and all Ministries to relook into the employee bonus and salaries especially for the Super Scale one. (Remember they just got some bonus and pay increament this year)
6) GST waiver for all essential food stuff.
7) Reduce NDP budget for the next 3 years.
8) Tax reduction for companies that did not lay off any employee.
9) Stop influx of “Foreign Talent” for the next 3 years.
10) Reduce rental of shops so these tenants will not pass the rental cost to the consumers.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Today Online Friday • October 3, 2008
THE full-time National Serviceman who died on Tuesday morning never submitted the medical certificate he was given on Sunday to his camp’s medical centre.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said Private Joe Foo Wei Rong’s medical certificate has since been found in his personal cupboard next to his bunk.
The Singapore General Hospital medical certificate, dated Sept 28, was for “sprains and strains of knee and leg”, said Mindef.
“PTE Foo was to rest from Sept 28 to 29 and given only light duties from Sep 30 to Oct 3,” it added.
“The medical centre had no documentation of his medical certificate.”
PTE Foo, 20, had collapsed while doing chin-ups as part of a daily basic exercise routine, at 6.05am.
According to his father, in 2004, PTE Foo suffered a seizure at home.
When contacted yesterday, hours after the NSF was given a military funeral and cremated at Mandai Crematorium, his father, Mr Foo Heng Lye, said he had told his son to submit the medical certificate.
It is not known why he had not.
Mr Foo, however, questioned why it took almost two hours to move PTE Foo to a hospital. “Why were there only medics but no medical officers on 24-hour standby in the camp?” he asked.
Mindef said on Tuesday PTE Foo was given “immediate medical attention” and taken from Lim Chu Kang Camp to Tengah Medical Centre, which had a doctor on 24-hour standby, by 6.40am.
Doctors at Tengah tried to resuscitate him, and he was packed off to National University Hospital at 7.15am. En route, the Singapore Armed Forces doctor and medic continued to resuscitate him and he arrived at 7.45am. He was pronounced dead at 8.28am. Mindef is investigating.
It’s sad to know another young man has die while service his country.
I think somebody in his camp is going to be in deep shit now.
Thought Pte Foo death may not be directly linked to his MC which was for “sprains and strains of knee and leg”, but nevertheless he should be resting on the day he die.
Questions 1: Why Pte Foo did not endorse his MC with the Medical Center In his camp?
Ok endorsing MC is pure stupidity in the first place. If you get a MC from a outside Doctor, which more probably is more experience then those MO in the camp, you still have to come to the medical center in you 40 degree fever to let the MO see your MC and approved it.
In fact it is the Medic who does it most of the time, MO can never been seen. I am still amazed during my NS days when I reported sick, the MO can diagnose your sickness from 3 meters away.
This show that they automatically assume who ever is reporting sick is trying to skive.
Trying not to speculate, but I guess one of the reason why Pte Foo did not endorse his MC was maybe he does not want to be label as a “chao keng”.
So why he has this thought in the 1st place? While we do not know what was said to Pte Foo and companies since he was enlisted in his camp. Maybe someone threaten those who reported sick with confinement? The result of the investigation will be very interesting.
Questions 2: Why Pte Foo was given a Pes A status when he had a history of seizure?
This could be the main reason why he dies.
This shows that the screening process of recruits are note done properly. Or manybe your life is not worth the $1000 screening process.