Monday 15 October 2018

$1,500 bus stop bench? Ikea, Courts cheaper

Are you sitting down?

Apparently, a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500.

And it’s not even created by Banksy. (Or is it?)

I mean, that’s even more than the cash prize the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore winner gets, which is only $1,000.

The pageant organiser could just give her two thirds of a bus stop bench.

How do I know a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500?

Because The Straits Times reported last week that such a bench was stolen by Tan Ke Wei, who was sentenced to a seven-day short detention order for committing mischief and thereby causing damage or loss amounting to $500 and above.

Seat happens.

ST said the incident occurred in June last year near midnight when Tan was waiting for a bus.

Apparently, the bus took so long to arrive that Tan started “meddling” with the bolts that secured the bench and he managed to unscrew all eight with his fingers. He then wrapped the dismantled bench in a garbage bag and took a taxi home.

My question is, did he just conveniently happen to have a garbage bag with him?

Some people carry an umbrella in case it rains. I guess this fella carries a garbage bag in case he needs to wrap a bench he removed from a bus stop.

And did Tan take a taxi because he missed the last bus of the night, since it was already around midnight when he started unscrewing the bench?

The midnight surcharge must have cost him an arm and a leg, though probably not as much as the bench.

But why did he take the bench in the first place?

Tan reportedly “intended to renovate his new flat with a bus stop design concept”.

Wait. Did I miss an issue of Home & Decor?

Is public transport-themed interior design the latest thing along with plogging and flossing (the Fortnite dance, not cleaning between your teeth)?

Who doesn’t want to be reminded that they are too poor to afford a car even when they are at home?

After all, Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin said last month:
“When you talk to the young, it appears to me it is becoming very fashionable not to drive so much, maybe not to even own a car, and to take public transport more, to take the trains more and to take the buses more, even to walk and to cycle.”
Call me Mr Fashionable then.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind renovating my flat with an MRT platform design concept if I can get one of those giant ceiling fans.

You’ll need an ez-link card to enter my flat.

But the biggest question of all is, how can a bus stop bench cost $1,500?

And I thought the new iPhones were overpriced.

With that kind of money, the hawkers at Jurong West Hawker Centre could pay for 7,500 returned trays at 20 cents each.

It didn’t help that after the ST report came out, both Ikea and Courts posted ads on Facebook promoting benches costing noticeably less than $1,500.

As if to rub it in Tan’s face, Ikea touted its $159 Industriell bench as “No dismantling required” and Courts said its $179 Callum dining bench “comes with no detention”.

Kick a fella when he’s down, why dontcha? I think those ads are a form of cyber-bullying.

But judging by the pictures of their benches in those ads, I find the Ikea and Courts offerings don’t quite capture the special essence of a place where I would wait for a bus and contemplate the meaning of my car-lite existence, if any.

So as enticing as the lack of dismantling and detention may be, it seems that if I really want to authentically recreate the grim ambience of a bus stop in my home, only a $1,500 bench will do.

Perhaps I can win the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore contest one and a half times.

- Published in The New Paper, 15 October 2018


With regards to your article, I think the bigger concern we should be looking at is why are the taxpayers paying 1500 dollars for a bus bench?

Who is the company selling it? I’m sure if you do some proper digging, it will be all about ‘commission’ and lining certain people’s pocket.

Sent from Aedie's iPhone