Thursday, May 24, 2012

COI on the trains breakdowns

As the COI on the major breakdowns in the MRT system draws near to the close, I am forced to conclude that the guys simply didn't know their system as well as we all had hoped. Fortunately they were  not running an airline or we might have planes falling from the skies.

I am amazed how they were more concerned about following maintenance schedules and programs than questioning and understanding how the system work and might change with time and use. Well, this makes them no different from the folks dealing with complex derivatives in the financial markets.

You have the right to not know your system well if train systems have advanced so much in reliability as motor cars have. The reality is train systems must be lovingly taken care of and understood.

Many learning points here. Lots of people were at fault starting from the very top. At least even as the COI was ongoing, the LTA and the transport companies did not wait but went ahead to rectify and improve the system as quickly as possible. Can't fault them for this. Overall it was an expensive and valuable lesson which cost the government much credibility. But we shouldn't be surprised. In one of the PM's early Rally speeches, he said Singapore will move from taking few risks to have a never fail environment to one that is safe to fail. It was not a wise credo. Who knows what is safe to fail? You need to know your systems well first to be able to make such judgments. In a culture where people watch their behind and work to avoid blame, where nobody bothered to truly understand and feel responsible about their work and the impact elsewhere, we shouldn't be surprised we had arrived at such a sorry state. We can expect major failures elsewhere since "Safe to Fail" has been with us for quite a few years now. Except for the surprise floodings, we just don't know where and when.

1 comment:

  1. ummm, if these guys had not already started dealing with the train problems, they should be all put agst a wall and SHOT. now, they should all be merely sacked for utter incompetence and irresponsibility. at least demoted five levels or have 90% of their salary cut.

    plse lah, they desperately need to try n look like they are not the complete fools they are, and then there're the little points abt mitigation and keeping their jobs...