Saturday, July 14, 2012
NParks purchase of Brompton Bikes
I have read about this issue in the media. I have also caught the 93.8 morning program discussing this. What is this ruckus all about? Well it is to be expected. Not that the public is aware of it, but in my view they were straining at gnats. People just balked at the $2.2k price tag. Meanwhile you can often find adverts in the papers and online which you can buy a foldable bike for well under a $100. On this out of the world price comparison so many made their judgement of waste and profligacy. Prejudice has found its substance.
It is the right and bane of the public that we often comment even authoritatively on matters where we have no knowledge.
It is the wisdom of a government leader who understand and even concede the point when there is no need to but because the public is not capable of rising to the game, it is shrewder to appease than to challenge or even educate.
I happen to have studied the Brompton for a very long time because we were interested to buy them. With the knowledge I had gathered it was an interesting experience listening and reading others ignorance complaining or commenting on this issue. From the public perspective, as long as enough people find sufficient ignorant company, correctness is assumed. This is the madness of the crowds which is more common than the coveted "wisdom of the crowds" by James Surowiecki.
NParks was wise to let them win.
Update: July 15
Found this provocative discussion thread at HardwarZone. Thanks to such folks for looking at issues more closely and asking questions which not many of us have time to do. See http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/eat-drink-man-woman-16/extra-csi-attempt-nparks-brompton-procurement-process-ended-up-dodgy-winning-bidder-[extra]-3815454.html
Update: July 25
The officer in charge of purchasing these bikes has been suspended. He asked for it. It was good there were vigilant people who were willing to investigate and surface the anomalies. This will teach the civil service to be more honest.