26 December 2006

So Did The Rubbish Bin Finally Cross The Road? - An Update

I have received an email reply (see below) from LTA dated 25 Dec 2006 to my query on why is the rubbish bin waiting to cross the road?

I sent the query to LTA via their on-line feedback website on 21 Dec 2006.

(Wow, LTA works on Christmas Day! I am impressed.)

Dear Mr Koo,

DANGEROUS SITUATION AT ZEBRA CROSSING
FEEDBACK NUMBER: XXXXXX

Thank you for your feedback 21 Dec 2006.

We would like to inform you that your feedback is under the purview of the National Environment Agency (NEA). We will, by copy of this email, refer your feedback to them for their attention and reply to you.

Should you wish to contact NEA directly on the matter, please refer to their email address below.

We thank you for writing in.

Yours sincerely,

(SIGNED IN LOTUS NOTES)
XXXXX XXXXXX XXX (MS)
MANAGER, PUBLICITY
& PROGRAMMES
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
cc
NEA
Email: Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg

At around 8 a.m. today, I received the following response from NEA:

Dear Mr Victor Koo

Thank you for your email dated 25th December 2006 Via LTA.

This is being addressed by North West Regional Office. Our Officer will reply to you accordingly.

Please call us or email Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg again if NEA can be of further service.

Thank you for your time and interest.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX XXXX
Customer
Service Officer
Tel: 1800-CALL NEA [1800-2255 632]
National Environment Agency Call Centre

Our Environment -- We Care
It was quite a nice touch and very impressive of NEA to come up with a reply within 24 hours of receiving the email from LTA. But what I read next at the end of the email frightened the shit out of me:

This message may contain confidential information under the purview of the Official Secrets Act. Unauthorized communication or disclosure of such information is an offence under the Official Secrets Act. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender and delete it. Do not retain it or disclose the contents to any person as it may be an offence under the Official Secrets Act.
Whoa, since when have environmental issues become official secrets?

Hmm... does it look like LTA is passing the bin buck to NEA who in turn is passing it to its North West Regional Office? Meanwhile, I passed by the zebra crossing this morning and the rubbish bin was still there. So Alex was right when he commented that LTA would probably get another department to look at the problem. Smart aleck Alex. How did you know? You worked in LTA before ah?

16 comments:

zen said...

When I discussed transport matters with my relatives, it seemed that they had poor impression of the LTA. After spending my entire career with a govt organisation, I am convinced that it is not the organisation is at fault, but the people running it, especially the top man. My personal experience is such that if the boss is a poor leader, like passing the buck, blames everyone except himself, takes credit for himself instead of attributing it to the staff, takes cover and avoid responsibility which he would neatly shift it to his subordinates, the organisation will then be seriously undermined. I am quoting an extreme case, but believe me, it is true.

Chris said...

tsk...tsk..tsk... Not say I wanna say one. A bunch of good for nothing civil servants. As the Hokkien likes to say, "Jia Leow Bee" one. Sometimes, I'm ashamed to calle myself a CS too :((

Does it really have to wait until someone got killed before they spring into action?

But then again, from what I've juz experienced these few days, private firms didn't fare much better either, when it comes to prividing good services. My brush with Starhub and HP leaves much to be desired. I may blog about it to let off steam....

frannxis said...

looks like this official secret thing is something some govt dept attach to every reply....i have written to the town council before and the reply came with one such attachment

Victor said...

Thanks Zen, Chris and Frannxis for your comments. I just received not one but TWO phone calls from NEA staff. The first one told me that action would be taken and the 2nd one told me that the rubbish bin had been removed. Quite efficient, I must say. But when I asked for their names, the first man said "Mr Tan". When I insisted he should be more "identifiable", he responded, "Mr K H Tan". The 2nd one was no better, he was a "Mr Yip". Typical civil servants, I must add - very shy in giving their full names.

Chris said...

Woa, u deserve a medal Victor, for being so civic-minded. Who knows you've averted an accident wating to happen! kudos!

Victor said...

That Yip of NEA claimed that the rubbish bin had been removed. What RUBBISH!!! I passed by the same location on the morning of 28 Dec 2006 and the rubbish bin was still there! I immediately called NEA again. This time I talked to Zainal. I recited the whole story to him again and left a message for Yip to call me back. At the end of the day, I still did not hear from Yip. Sigh *shaking head*. Trust these people to save our environment.

zen said...

One thing I must emphazise, our big boss's favourite tactic was to annotate on any 'damned' documents, including reports. He would annotate all over the documents, mainly negative remarks such as: "should increase this, that by ...deadline, poor performance, I want this, that and so on. My dept manager was so frustrated in just answering to his queries. I would asked my manager: "Mr Tan, how to provide the impossible data this fellow wants ? Mr Tan replied in a irritate manner in Teochew" Cho qeit e lah ! (do for him lah !). On another occasion, I asked a senior officer regarding our top boass: " Mr Daniel, if big boss ask you to jump into the sea, will you ?". Daniel replied: "I will !". I gave up -office politics.

Victor said...

Zen, Daniel is a good swimmer right?

I really should give NEA some credit. This morning when I passed by the same location, the rubbish bin was gone. At least they managed to do it within this year. Next year, it is a brand new start.

Happy New Year, everyone.

zen said...

I knew Daniel was a former teacher from quite a famous school, also worked for short spell in an'uniform branch'(maybe unable to catch any criminal-got to change job). A swimmer?, I should say he was more of a ba...carrier. His favourite tactic was to act stupid and when questioned, he replied: "You know...survival lah!"

Chris said...

Hehehe... zen, u meant balls carrier is it? To put it more delicately, he was an apple-polisher. I see tons of those in my office. But before I got distracted from the main issue here, let's come back to this RUBBISH post of Victor.

The way I look at it, the Civil Service is not entirely apathetic. Juz that what the private sector takes to complete a task in 1 day, the CS takes 1 month. LOL.

I will also jump into the sea if my boss tells me to. The only difference between me and Daniel is that I would also drag my boss into the sea with me. ROTFL.

eastcoastlife said...

No. Some CS never got around to doing their jobs.

NEA no hope lah! I once complained about a hawker stall in Marine Parade Food Centre selling cigarettes to minors (only 13/14 yrs old). I complained to the police of Marine Parade Neighbourhood post. They said they called NEA to inform them of this.

But my students were still able to buy cigarettes from this stall weeks after. I called NEA twice. Once I spoke to a woman & she said she will look into the matter.

A week passed & my students still could buy cigarettes from the stall. I called NEA again, this time a Malay guy attended to me.

Ok, result - my students continue buying cigarettes from the stall & also can buy from petrol kiosks, mama shops & mini marts all around Marine Parade. Walau!!!!

NEA - very good!!!!

I have more examples from HDB, MOE, STB, SCDF and the Police Force.

I want to post the stories on my blog one day. Then they really look stupid!

Lam Chun See said...

On the whole, I still think our public sector employees are very 'on the ball'. Good example is NLB - I am not saying this becos my friend Ivan the Rambling Librarian could be reading.

During my first visit to the Victoria St main library, my wife made some enquiries (sorry cannot remember details), but she was so plesed with the assistance she got that she pronounced "1st class customer service".

So Victor, pls go back to your previous post. "Tis the season to be .. forgiving ..". Maybe the ENV people were tied up with all the floods etc, Or maybe many people were on leave becos of the festive season and they were short handed and thus did not get around to your 'rubbish/ complaint as fast as they would like to...

zen said...

I agree with Chun See on the forgiving part, but public complaints do carry weight, why ? because the big boss does care for his rice bowl, even though he would definitely try to hunt for a few scapegoats asap. Meanwhile he would set up many meetings,chiding everyone except himself, delivering sermons on the importance good service, forming committees (headed by others) etc. Results pop out, but bulk of the job being done by the staff, with the big boss doing lip service and 'stewing around'.

Chris said...

I lost my wallet and housekeys once. I was more concerned about my IC, so I went down to the Neigbhourhood Police Post. The man in blue who attended to me that loss of IC need not be reported anymore. When I queried what if it landed on the hands of someone who used my IC to do illegal stuff. Guess what he said? "Who asked you to be so careless?" I was too stunned for words. Is this how a public servant carry himself? How to have better rapport with the public like that?

Buey Tahan.

Victor said...

Eastcoastlife - Thanks. I can't wait to read some of your harrowing experiences with our CS (and I don't mean Chun See, heh).

Chun See - So you are back. I have marked on my calendar that your live interview with Eugene Loh on 3 Jan 2007 at 1.45 pm on radio 938Live. (Can't resist doing a little advertising for you here, hehe.) Hope your mum-in-law's ok.

Chris - As Evan would say, cut the boys in blue some slack lah. You know some of them are only serving out their NS. How professional can they be?

zen said...

Even HK TV is poking fun at HK law (British based). Say when a guy threatens another person with a knife, and there are people witnessing it, the police would only allow the victim to make a recorded statement, nothing else. In other words, only after the victim is being stabbed then only the police can take action. By then the victim could be dead. Singapore laws are also based on the British legal system. Very risky, everyone for himself, it is advisable to take up some martial art of self defence.