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This section is devoted to current issues on Singapore. We welcome letters to the Editor. Comments expressed in this section by writers are the writers' own views and do not reflect the views of Getforme - Singapore on the Web. We reserve the right to edit all letters for grammar, clarity and content. We also reserve the right to reject any letters without assigning any reason whatsoever. If you do not wish your name to be posted, please provide a pseudonym. Your e-mail address will appear next to your letter.

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Previous letters:  2001   2000



Dear Sirs

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 shopping belts.

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 midnite onwards!

Best Regards
Adrias Tan

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!

Anthony Earl-Williams

Hampstead, London, NW3.

15 Nov 2002

Public caning of three students



Hi Editor

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 name. 

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 360 degrees.

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 Aug 2000.

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