t Double Yellow's Musings: Being Physically Challenged in Singapore
The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Being Physically Challenged in Singapore

Singaporeans are an efficient bunch. They try to maximize all resources at least cost. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and David Ricardo will be proud.

For instance, when they see an empty parking lot that is meant for the physically challenged, the train of thought that has been drilled into them since primary school goes something like this....

Empty parking lot => Waste of space => waste of resources => cost with no benefit => economy is affected => jobs will be lost => Singapore will sink

A similar thinking process is triggered when a suggestion to modify public buses to accommodate the physically challenged is raised. One response says that the “disabled are too demanding”. And the letter writer has this to say….

Like it or not, any delay has a cost in terms of longer travel times. Wheelchair users would need more time to board and alight from buses and this would hold up other passengers. Being patient and understanding is one thing. Being late for work because of it is another.

Oh ya, I forgot that able-bodied Singaporeans have a very important job to do every morning and if some physically challenged people get up in the public buses delaying them by a few minutes, the world will come to an end. When able-bodied Singaporeans see that they have to circle around the car park trying to find a lot, their fellow physically challenged citizens have it easy. “Where is the meritocracy?” they ask.

The Singaporean motto: we can show compassion but it has to be efficiently executed

For the people who really want to know what it means to be in a wheelchair and move around Singapore, read this from a blogger who “is thankful to be alive”.


Blogger Razzle Dazzled said...

sometimes, selfish people talk the loudest. they think that the whole world revolves around them and everybody thinks like them. unfortunately for them some of us still have a decent mindset.

but i suppose they do have a point with the disabled getting up the bus coz SBS would sure have to modify the buses to a great extent and perhaps even buy newer and bigger ones. there should be some company set up, a non profit one to cater specially to disabled-friendly transport. might cost alot of money, but its more feasible than modifying the entire load of SBS buses.

2:10 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey razzledazzled, if we hv a separate disabled friendly transport then we will be alienating them even further from the 'mainstream'. Not something I think we want...

About modifying existing SBS buses, I think there are enough creative minds out there to come up with a cost-effective solution. Also, SBS could begin placing orders for bigger, more disabled-friendly buses from now on. The additional cost of these buses could be subsided by gahmen. After all, they want to make Singapore a more inclusive society.

For sure, its not an easy change for the rest of us. But I think its a worthwhile one.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Beach-yi said...

I hope amongst the yah yah we should all bundle dsiabled people off to another mode of transport noises, that they take a look at other best practices in the world where the disabled are part of the public transport taking public.

4:23 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey beach-yi, agree wif you. Canada might be a good place to start. The need of the hour though is to be able to change mindsets of able-bodied Singaporeans that their physically-challenged fellow citizens should not be shunned.

7:02 AM  

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