Archive for November, 2007

Stupid Country

Why oh why does no one in Singapore sell screw-on gas canisters? I have a lovely, compact, efficient Jetboil stove that is probably now going to sit around for n years unused, all because of some ridiculous prejudice against screw-on gas canisters.

Amount of space required to transport the same number of people by car, bus or bicycle

The photos aren’t perfect, because the angles and the heights from which the photos were taken differ and they’ve assumed (I think) that each car carries only one person, but the general message is correct:

space comparison

False Cries of Necessity

My dispute with a commenter on a previous post illustrated the false sense of entitlement people have about driving. Granted, there are people who need to drive, say paraplegics who need to commute to and from places that lack MRT access (while I am seeing more and more paraplegics taking the MRT, most buses are still not wheelchair-friendly). But the vast majority of people who assert that they need to drive do not, in fact, need to drive. Today we have an example of that breed of self-righteous drivers in the ST forum:

People who work within the CBD will have to pay, regardless of the cost. The powers that be are in fact penalising citizens for having to go to work.

Come again? People who work within the CBD do not have to pay. They can take public transport. They can bike to work, like I do. People are not being penalised for having to go to work. They are penalised for choosing to drive to work. You could at least be a little subtler about distorting the issue at hand, you know.

I don’t usually expect much in the way of coherent reasoning from ST forum contributors anyway, but this letter is especially bad. Half of its sentences are complete bullshit. Take the first two:

THE Government’s policy of increasing ERP charges to reduce congestion is not a very good solution. Judging by the number of times the charges have been raised over the past months, this disincentive is not working.

Just because charges were raised doesn’t mean the previous charges were not working. More likely, they were working, but they wanted them to work even more. Instead of wildly guessing at people’s motives, why not construct a proper argument of your own?

The silliness does not stop there:

The existing charges are already high enough to discourage casual motorists from driving into the area for no good reason. If the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of cars going into the CBD, a better solution is to encourage car-pooling.

Dude, ERP already encourages car-pooling. Each car pays a fixed charge regardless of the number of passengers it carries. So if it carries more passengers, each passenger pays less. Basically, you just want them to cut ERP charges for no good reason other than your own personal gain, but you had to come up with a good excuse for why they should do that for you. So you chose car-pooling. Without even thinking about the existent relation between ERP and car-pooling.

Great ride to work today despite the rain. In fact it was only 10 minutes of moderate rain (the rest was drizzle) when I was along Bukit Timah Rd that wet my socks. I wasn’t concerned with the rest of my body getting wet because socks were the only part of my outfit I had not brought a pair of to change into! So now I’m sitting in the office barefoot, having hung my socks on the back struts of my chair to (hopefully) dry.

I hadn’t commuted by bike for more than a week (for reasons that were mostly out of my control). The thought of spending another day standing in metal boxes rather than spinning out in fresh air was too much to bear. So even though there were streaks of lightning tearing through the sky by the time I set off under the heavy clouds, I decided I had to cycle still. No regrets. Wet socks are a small price to pay for avoiding a day-long grumpiness induced by public transport.