07 June 2008

We duds at the pinnacle of evolution

With so many examples of unintelligent work around us, why do some of us think that humans are smart? Just spend some time in our public transport system, and the evidence is there to see. Full essay.


yuen said...

why should journalism students know the name of the russian president? it is not in their syllabus

some of them might not even know the name of the singapore president; even those who know the current one probably do not know who was his predecessor

Anonymous said...

Even if a wheelchair could get past those poles, it still wouldn't work. Most of the time, those buses are so crowded with standing passengers, a wheelchair wouldn't have enough room to get through. I can imagine the bus driver telling the disabled person to wait for the next bus. 30 minutes later, another crowded bus would arrive.

Anonymous said...

I ride SBS service no 7, which often uses the new model mentioned in your article. Recently the bus driver stopped to pick up a lady in a wheel chair. Together the driver and the passenger in the wheel chair were able to park the wheelchair without much difficulty in the forward part of the open section. It seems that there is a specific place for the wheelchair to be parked and that the bus can accomodate only one wheelchair at a time. I did notice that the call bell on the nearest grab pole is positioned to be within reach of the wheelchair user.

I do share your observation about the narrow scope of people in some organisations. At my hospital visit this week, everyone was very efficient in moving me on (out of their in basket), but not necessarily answering my questions or solving my problems in the process.

recruit ong said...

Yay i can answer both medvedev & putin leh! Which university students did you give a talk at? Why so jialat one? hahaha

Anonymous said...

Just a brief comment that the space within the bus is primarily for prams . I doubt that it is for wheelchair bound.- or that is the case in another country!

Weiye said...

Even Hillary wasn't able to pronouce his name, so I guess it's acceptable for journalism students not to know. Haha. =) Just kidding.

I'm a communications major btw. I hope it's not my fellow coursemates you talked to.

SL said...

All the buses in New York city are equipped with a wheelchair hydraulic lift (not those cheap ram, it takes a very strong bus driver to push a heavy person up that ram) and two wheelchair parking lots, side by side. Both are located at the middle of the bus right next to the exit door. The bus driver would come out to operate the lift and assist the person to enter and exit from the same entrance. Hence the person doesn't have to navigate from the front entrance to the parking lot and navigate again to the exit door. Even in a crowded bus, the commuters only need to open up a space in between. I think the bus companies here still have a lot to catch up with before they can brand themselves as world class.

Robert L said...

Dear YB - about the bus. I'm posting not to criticise, but with the best intentions. I hope you will have a good laugh after this.

You have drawn a straight line where the grab-pole intruded, but the wheelchair can still pass because it's not restricted to a straight line. In fact, no wheelchair goes at 100% straight line all the time. You can see there is a little more space opposite the pole where it intruded into your straight line, so the wheelchair space has not been reduced.

Apart from that, great article. You have my respect for your consistent interest for the under-represented.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

OK, I stand corrected, as the third comment reported: This model of bus can accommodate a wheelchair, the position of the grab-pole notwithstanding.

You'd notice that I allowed for the possibility that I was unduly sceptical in my article itself, since I knew I couldn't be sure one way or the other.

What other comments have pointed out though is that much also depends on the social context (will people give way?) and the operational issues (will the bus be too crowded?).

The culture of giving way is critical. For example, if the wheelchair is not supposed to follow the straight line, but weave a little to the port side to get past the grab pole, then the passengers' legs (also visible in the photo) mustn't get in the way.

Somehow, I don't have a lot of confidence about that from Singaporeans.

heng said...

I live in kobe now and the interior of that bus is almost exactly the same as what we have here with the except of the aforementioned poles. neither do we have that gaudy pink (usually a subdued yellow/biege/green). there are 3 single seat chairs in that area that can be folded away should the space be needed.

1 point to note is that buses in Japan are boarded from the rear and alighted from the front. anyone on a wheel chair that boards will have immediate access as it's right in front of the door.

low chassis, tilting, 1-step or no-step buses are normal in the areas i've lived in (tokyo, kobe). we occasionally get the old buses during peak hours.

KiWeTO said...

On paper - wheelchair accessibility - we want to be inclusive.

In reality - wait until you wonder why the bus in front of you is NOT moving (it takes between 1-3 minutes to move a loaded wheelchair up the ramp, or even the hydraulics), and you start to wonder whether this 'hyper-efficient' transport system can suffer this kind of delays.

I've observed such buses picking up wheelchairs in London and parts of Germany and Switzerland. There, the public transport systems are way less overburdened with the need to extract maxmimal revenue from minimum costs (less buses per minute), and they all organize their payment systems to a fixed rate instead of our variable rate.

I once thought our variable rate payment system was superior. After seeing transport systems in Hong Kong, various parts of Europe, I've now come to the realization that it just makes things more difficult for the traveller (delays getting off) and benefits the transport company.

AT the end of the day, the lack of power in the end consumer travellers (see various articles YB has on the emasculated "Public" transport council) leads to too much profiteering on the side of businesses.

Privatization without societal oversight on why making sure the concession still can benefit society means travellers lose.


Anonymous said...

The journalism standard in Singapore is different from the world standard. Here they are taught how to tweak news according to "MIW" liking. For that matter, they care less of what is happening outside this little dot.

Anonymous said...

i agree with yuen in that why should journalism students IN singapore know the answer. they are just highly-paid typists (when it comes to reporting local news), or editors (when they receive news from foreign news agencies).

please, nobody in singapore would fault a local journalist for this lack of knowledge lah.

Anonymous said...

On why 'local' articles draw more readers, can it just be that people come to the site specifically to see local issues being discussed? Especially as there are quite a lot more places where one can read about international issues?

w said...

I think bus interiors are like planes - fit to client specs, so it may be delivered as a final product but is customised to the client's needs.

Anonymous said...

i too have a grouse on the Chinatown MRT exit. The picture showed the exit has a row of railing and a slight ramp which itself is misleading to people in wheel-chair or pushing a baby-pram public; they would have thought it is wheel-friendly. Plus it hinders the way for able-bodied people too, who have to walk around it; presuming you are not tourist-shopping.