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Previous letters: 2001 2000
ON CALL CONTROVERSY
I am refering to the article in Streats Thur 19 Dec 2002 regarding
the 'On Call' Controversy of errant taxi operators who stay away
from picking up passengers from 10pm till midnite.
The claim that taxi bookings during this period is at its peak may
be valid; but not necessary true in all circumstances and applying
to all taxi operators.
The fact that we can report taxi drivers who refuse to pick up
passengers is also a good avenue, but most of the time we get
standard perfunctory replies that the driver has been disciplined,
and that the company is looking into ways to improve its services.
Yet we are always facing this difficulty in getting the taxi we
desperately need during those hours.
Not many of us are party goers or pubbers. Some of us work late
into the night, or have been shopping and laden with bags, and are
tired and need to rush home. Many a times, we have children in our
arms. Hence we need a cab, but cannot afford to wait until the
midnite hour to get home.
The thought of getting a cab during those hours is a real
nightmare. And each time we are frustrated in our efforts to flag
down a cab, we are more determined and resolved to buy a car ...
Yes, the company conducts checks. But dare I ask how many of their
staff who conduct such checks actually are commuters on public
transport? It is easy to say you conduct checks of up to 141 times
this year. What happened to the remaining times, and how many
places did you conduct the checks?
This problem is prevalent everywhere in Singapore: not just in the
The root of the problem is actually the midnite surcharge that the
taxi drivers are allowed to impose. They obviously will wait until
the midnite hour in order to earn that much more. And they have
only one try - hence the two hour wait is worth their while.
The brag that Singapore has the world class transport system is a
joke, and at best a mockery!
To further substantiate the claim that most taxis are indeed 'ON
CALL' during the peak period from 10pm to midnite, may I suggest
that the Company look into the fare records of the taxis during
the said peak period.
If they are indeed on call and ferrying commuters, the the cab
fare meters should have records that they were indeed busy with
passengers who have booked their taxis.
If the records show that most of the taxis are in fact idling away
with no fares collected during that period: then the theory that
they are 'resting', 'taking a break', or infact hiding out waiting
for the midnite surchage holds true.
This is again substantiated by the fare meters showing that most,
if not all, of such taxis are very busy with passengers from
19 Dec 2002
Caning of 3 boys
As an Englishman who
believes wholeheartedly in the scholastic and judicial use of
Corporal Punishment, I salute the Headmaster who dealt with these
unruly boys. It is just such a shame that Singapore is a country
of no intrinsic worth to the future of the global economy!! If it
were otherwise, your valuable views on the subject of the CANE
might be taken more seriously.
All my friends agree
that your judicial canings are a marvellous deterrent - although
we also think that perhaps they are slightly TOO harsh! If only
our beloved England could revert to its former ways!
Hampstead, London, NW3.
15 Nov 2002
caning of three students
I'm a Singapore
student, sec 3 this year, and I mailed you regarding Harry Chau's
tragic death, about which you wrote an
article. I know it's been
four months after his death, but I just came across an article in
the New Paper on skateboarding and it mentioned his death, and his
I knew a Harry
studying in Monfort, who was my age (I'm not from Monfort), and
who loved cycling, a passion shared by Harold and Hutch (or Harch,
I never bothered to find out, and didn't know their surnames until
today), his two brothers. So I called an ex neighbor, who
confirmed the incident. They were my neighbors, until I moved out
two years ago, and I grew up with them; I was the third most
daring cyclist in the neighborhood, Harry and Harold being the
first two, but I knew only two tricks, cycling down steps and
cycling without hands, while they could do wheelies and bicycle
spins. I'm shocked; it was always Harold, Harry and Hutch, now
it's just Harold and Hutch. The last I saw of him was last year,
he just traded his old bike for $300, and used the money to buy
another stunt bike. It was short of brakes on one of the wheels
(front or back, I can't remember), and it had a special braking
system which allowed braking even when the handlebars were turned
I never knew that
would be the last time I saw him. His two brothers have since
stopped cycling, last I heard. BTW, I mailed because you mentioned
that you were a relief teacher in Monfort. How's Harold coping (If
you've talked to him)? They were very close (one year apart,
Harold should be in sec 4). Also, I always knew Hutch was younger
than me, but never got to finding out his age. How's he now (If
you know him)? If you've read until now, thanx for your time. If
you could reply, I'd be really glad.
31 Mar 2002
Previous letters: 2001 2000
This section commenced on 8
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