So the public transport fare hike has been approved. Is anyone really surprised?
What surprised me was that people protested against the fare hike as if it would actually make a difference. Haven't we been through this before? Like only three years ago? In the middle of a recession?
Trying to stop the rising cost of public transportation is like attempting to halt the march of time itself. You might as well stand in front of a moving bus that will cost you a couple of cents more to ride from July 1.
I was watching Channel 5 news when the newsreader blithely introduced a report about how Singaporeans felt about the fare hike.
Over-reacting as usual, I yelled at my crumbling nine-year-old Sony Trinitron.
'How do you expect Singaporeans to feel about the price hike! We love it? We're not paying enough! We have too much money! Oh, the top execs of big companies are grossly underpaid! They need a raise!'
True enough, the first couple of 'men in the street' interviewed by the reporter were against the fare hike, as if that was news.
Knowing that would-be journalists are required to report both sides of the story to appear objective, I was wondering how the reporter was going to find someone who wasn't against the price increase.
Who would want to pay more for anything? The reporter did find the person. A woman appeared on-screen and said: 'No more than five cents. I think that's acceptable.'
Mouth agape, I was stunned.
Didn't she know that for lower-income workers who have to take public transport every day, even a less than five cents fare hike per trip adds up?
But the fact is that if fuel costs and inflation rise, we might have to go through the whole rigmarole again. Some things are beyond tiny Singapore's control.
Another fare hike will be announced. Another TV news report about how Singaporeans feel about the fare hike. Another public outcry.
And we'll still be paying more for fares.
In another three years, it's going to be deja vu all over again.
But I'm okay with it. I've accepted that the public transportation cost will continue to rise like I've accepted that I will grow old and die, unless I get hit by a moving bus. Then I'll be skipping the growing old part.
What irks me is all this 'public outcry' stuff - people writing letters to the newspapers complaining about how the fare hike is unjustified, the columns, the petitions, et cetera.
It's just so tiresomely predictable, almost Pavlovian. I guess we all just need to vent. Get it out of our system. If we're going to pay more for anything, we should at least get to bitch about it.
It might make it difficult for service providers to push through the next price increase. Who knows? Maybe one day, protests might prevail and prevent a price hike.
And we'll stop the globe from spinning around a little red dot.
- Published in The New Paper, 5 June 2005
TRENDING POSTS OF THE WEEK
Remember in February when SMRT won some international award for “delivering value through risk management”? You should because I wrote a...
A man accosted an MP at a grassroots event because the man was upset that he didn't get what he was there for. No, I'm not talki...
A long time ago, I met Mr Lui Tuck Yew when he was nobody. Okay, he wasn’t exactly nobody at the time. He was the outgoing Chief of Navy. ...
Dear Shaw Theatres, Last Thursday morning, I went to see the giant ape movie Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson at Lido. Of course, I wat...
Dear producers of Code Of Law , My condolences on your new Channel 5 drama series. As a former TV producer for Channel 5 myself, I sympath...
I suppose you’ve heard the big Joanne Peh news by now. I, too, was caught by surprise like everyone else although in retrospect, I should’...
Two years ago, when celebrity radio deejay Glenn Ong revealed that he was dating fellow MediaCorp deejay Jean Danker after splitting fro...
When I learnt that Vernetta Lopez ’s autobiography Memoirs Of A DJ: Life In Progress was published last week, I rushed to the nearest major...
Last month, my wife posed for pictures with a topless male model at the entrance of Abercrombie & Fitch on Orchard Road. Because he pu...
I first met Darryl David at Gurmit Singh's wedding dinner in 1995. David's date was a woman named Lynette Pang , who was a stag...