Note the parallels between Tepco fiasco at the Fukushima's nuclear plant and compare them to our Orchard Rd floods and MRT breakdowns
We had a less serious problem but it is the same sort of complacency. The Japanese had more time to hibernate and made it far worse. We were careless for a shorter time before we hit problems.
Keeping Singapore running in a tip top state is very tiring and nearly always unappreciated and taken for granted. It is human nature and therefore inevitable that we let our guard down. It is like your eyes appear to stay open but the mind has switched off and gone to sleep.
Everyone wants to work on something visible so that they can be recognized and rewarded. This was especially true when I was living in Dubai for a while. Anything that is not seen is neglected. So the unsexy bits eventually find a way to haunt you. They become embarrassingly visible.
Helps a lot that our tendency to cover up or gloss over isn't as strong as the Japanese.