Draft speech concerning trains in Singapore

November 19, 2017

At a time when most Singaporeans and stakeholders are cynical as they are critical of everything about trains. The PM is nowhere to be seen or heard. Maybe the decision dice has slid from his table and disappeared into another universe. Maybe the golden parrot that can always be counted to pick the yes, no or maybe cards has pengshan and died. Maybe the PM’s speechwriter is lost somewhere in some ghost train that never made it to the next station…


Draft speech….

‘My fellow Singaporeans I would like to state that I too share many of your concerns and anxieties about the state of our train services. I happen to know how disruptive this can be (actually dunno lah, as every where also chauffeured, but just include a snap shot of standing in a the train with a concerned expression)…and first allow me apologise. (Say sorry even when not sorry as this softens you audience for what you have to say)

I am not here today to make false promises that all our problems with the trains will disappear like lemon drops. No! (Pause for a while as if you are reminiscing about some conversation…it is very easy to do this, just play mental soduku and your facial muscles will take care of the rest). Neither I or my colleagues for one imagined this to be easy from the day we tasked the new leadership to do this, it would not be easy but hard. As never fear my fellow Singaporeans just as we successfully developed home grown technology to filter water from the sea to guarantee our independence and survival and much earlier before that we had the wisdom to develop a competent arm and security services from scratch…(pause again. This look if you sharing a national secret like whether maybe Japanese gold is buried in Oxley road… a good way to do this is to pretend to stammer) You see we have to develop homegrown core competencies to run trains well. We need to master this in the same way the Romans were good at building roads to secure their interest or the British in the days of empire built ships and later the Americans to built rockets to enable them to conquer vast territories and space (maybe that is not such a good idea otherwise people will label us closer imperialist)…without this as a strategic imperative we would not be able to participate meaningfully in heavy industries. Some have asked why not just give it all to foreigners who have more experience and a stellar trek record to run trains. But if we do that then many of the learning outcomes such as heavy industries, tool and die, engineering and fabrication will be outsourced as well. We will lose out! Truth is our trains support a multitude of jobs along with opening countless opportunities (have pictures in the background of people welding, aunties putting together blue and black wires in a conveyor belt, ITE students looking at engines etc etc) and that is why it’s important for us learn how to manage trains even if it means in the short term we will most likely experience setbacks. As this is the only way for nation to go about steadily acquiring knowledge….thru trial and error (pretend to drop a pen or sheet of paper…pick it up to reinforce the subliminal message that you are fallible…I use this trick all the time).

My fellow Singaporeans since MRT started some thirty years ago (screen behind shows sepia pics of MRT along with commuters wearing bell bottoms and ties the size of napkins sitting in trains….screen then shifts to image of a how the MRT network has grown to cover a wider area like an octopus) we have been steadily growing our service area of coverage to make it possible for every singaporean to enjoy affordable and safe (better drop the word safe…as it comes across as defensive…use instead pleasant) public transportation. As the service area grows so does the complexity. As we are pushing the envelop of technology. Many say we should not have embarked on such an ambitious plan to grow our rail services at such a fast speed (give them the trade off’s), but that would also mean there would be gaps in system. (Show pics of kids walking under the hot sun with their grandparents and maids carrying NS men back pack)

My fellow Singaporeans both I and my better half Ho Ching have been informed that Khaw Boon Wan will be retiring due to unexpected health reasons arising from signal problems with his pacemaker. (Khaw appears in a wheelchair. He is waving to the crowd who been given instructions to clap…..the persons with no necks who all look like the friendly Gestapo have been given strict instructions not to stop he goes from left to right and disappears).

My hope is that now that I have shared with you all the bigger picture….(background switches to images of a corn coloured sunrise to symbolise rebirth and renewed optimism…slow music plays in the background and the image of the mythical train slowly appears to overwhelm the entire screen…..cut and edit it.)

This is how I will do it…. That’s all folks!

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