14 October 2007

55 Is Not Always A Lucky Number

If you notice something is not right, what will you do? How far will you go to try put it right?

Here, I am not talking about confronting litterbugs or smokers. To do this, you need to be very tactful and have some guts. Of course, it helps if you have a burly look and at the same time, if the culprit looks meek and puny too. (My friend Walter does not look burly by all accounts, so he must have been either very tactful or gutsy.)

I am talking about situations that are not right. You usually don't need to be burly or gutsy to do this. For me, I will not hesitate to point them out to the authorities and insist that they put them right. One example is when I informed the authorities about a misplaced rubbish bin blocking the view of a zebra crossing. Although, there was some initial red tape and delay, the situation was finally put right before any zebra or people was killed or seriously injured at this location.

Needless to say, some effort is required to bring the matter up. You also have to speak to the right people. Not only that, you still have to follow-up to make sure somebody is acting on your feedback. Otherwise, your effort in raising the matter would have been wasted. Once a while, due to oversight or the bo chap (couldn't be bothered) attitude of the people whom you complained to, your feedback may not be relayed to the right people and nothing is done about the problem. I believe that it is because some conscious effort is required to report a problem that most people just don't bother to do it. Some might even think that there will always be some other people who would do it. And as joke goes, in the end nobody does it.

Almost every Saturday morning, while my younger son is attending a 90-minute tuition class in Simei, my wife and I will be window-shopping in nearby Tampines Central. I always park my car at Century Square where short-term parking is cheapest - first-hour parking at 66 cents is even cheaper than HDB/URA carpark rates! Where to find nowadays? Because of the cheap parking rates, this car park is extremely popular with motorists.


Two Saturdays ago, I was looking for a parking lot in this car park. I thanked my lucky stars when I finally found an empty lot (no. 55).


But while reversing into the lot, I noticed that there was a sharp-edged hoarding protuding 1/3 into the lot.


It was not easy to spot it as it was painted in white. In any case, no one would expect such an obstruction in a car park lot that was opened for parking. Luckily I realised it and stopped my car just in time, only a few centimetres away from the hoarding. One third of my car was still outside the lot, jutting out into the driveway. So in the end, I parked my car in another lot.

When I walked passed the lot, there were 2 other motorists who like me, attempted to park in this lot. I waved them away, signalling that it was impossible to park in this lot, unless they were driving micro-compact cars. They should be grateful to me because I probably saved them the trouble and costs of repairing their rear bumpers. However, someone else was apparently not so lucky - I inspected the hoarding closely and saw that it was already crumpled. Obviously someone's car had already knocked into it earlier on.


I immediately reported the dangerous situation to the carpark's Customer Service Centre.


The female carpark attendant inside the booth (not the guy in the photo) did not appear like she was very interested in what I had told her. So I reported the matter to the Information Counter instead.


The pretty lady manning the counter was a stark contrast to the woman in the carpark booth, not only in terms of looks but also in terms of service as well. She smiled and asked me if she could help me. When I told her the problem, she gave me the office number of someone by the name of Rachel, the shopping centre's Operation Manager. However, she told me that Rachel might not be in the office as it was Saturday. When I requested for Rachel's handphone number, she called Rachel rightaway and I managed to speak to her in the end. Rachel promised to do something.

Indeed, when I passed by the lot again an hour later, an operation staff had already barricaded up the lot. (He requested not to be identified so I have blurred out his face.)


So remember my friend, 55 is not always a lucky number. Not unless it is your age and you have money in the CPF to be collected, just like this guy.

18 comments:

etel said...

and my dad! haha he just reached 55 yday :P

Victor said...

Dear GNE, Happy Birthday to your dad. Ah I see, so he brought the whole family to MINT museum to celebrate the occasion, did he? Remember to blog about the visit, okay?

JollyGreenP said...

Hi victor, in the UK we have a web site that we can use to repprt problems to our local councils. You enter a postcode near to where the problem is and then put a marker on the map and add a description of the problem. I have recently complained about bushes overgrowing a footpath by a pedestrian crosiing and highlighted a graffiti problem that needed to be sorted out.
See URL http://www.fixmystreet.com/?pc=YO31;id=7280 for the overgrown bushes problem. Response time was about two weeks before it was done hence my comment on the update.

Victor said...

JollyGreenP - I followed the link that you have provided. I must say that what you have there is a very cool and neat system indeed! It is ideally suited for net savvy people like you and I, hehe. But I am not very sure if it will work here if it is the only channel of feedback adopted because not everyone here can or want to use the Internet. The traditional feedback channels via phone and email should therefore still remain open.

One thing for sure, if such a system is adopted here for feedback/complaints about problems in public areas, there would be no more excuses for redirecting the public to the 'appropriate' department. (When I emailed the Traffic Police about the misplaced rubbish bin, I was told that such rubbish bins come under the purview of National Parks. As if I cared.) And that can only be a good thing.

fr said...

Good deed, reassuring to know there are public-spirited citizens like you. Most likely I would not go through all the trouble.

Lam Chun See said...

Victor. As usual so alert and dogged enough to follow through - which makes me ashamed.

I wrote to the Feedback Unit concerning the parking of delivery trucks on Bencoolen St (within the bus lane!) outside Albert Complex. I got an acknowledgement from the traffic police. Not sure whether they took action or not; but the last time I visited the area, there were even more trucks than before!!!

Etel - I reached the lucky/unlucky no. just a little bit before your dad.

Lam Chun See said...

I suspect the hoarding is a temporary structure put up by some contractors and not the original design. The management can't be that dumb.

stanley said...

Victor-You lamented that 55 is not always a lucky number for you, but "this guy" as mentioned in your lsst paragraph I believe is well over 55.

Victor said...

Fr - It was something within my means to do and it didn't really require that much effort either.

Victor said...

Chun See - You are a Good Samaritan in your own right. Yes, the building was undergoing some retrofitting and renovation works. According to the man in the photo, the lot was blocked off earlier but someone had removed the barricade. However, I couldn't verify the truth of his claim.

Victor said...

Stanley - Haha, his year of birth is stated clearly in his profile on his blogsite. Anyway he volunteered the information in the above comment.

etel said...

happy belated birthday to you Uncle Lam!!! Wow both you and my dad same yr and close birthdates! but why he dont know english =x

GD i blogged already and no, its not my dad that brought me there haha!

wow jollygreenp had a neat system at his side! but i dont think singapore will have one, because if there is, there will be no peace in that website :p

etel said...

btw GD, what you and uncle lam did were so right, I think nowadays people dont really bother much anymore, isnt it?

FireHorse said...

Good for you!! Not many people wud take the trouble take care of the "problem" the way you did.

Victor said...

GNE - I have read your interesting blog entry on MINT and commented already. Hmm... seems like there is no way to link to that entry.

Victor said...

FH - I am quite sure that someone will fall victim if a wrong situation is not put right. It's just a matter of when. It is not so bad if only property is damaged but what if someone is killed or seriously injured, like in the zebra-crossing case? Worse, if the victim happened to be our friend or relative or myself. Thinking that way, I always feel that I have to raise the alarm.

tigerfish said...

Ya....probably for really mini cars. Maybe they could have plastered a bright-colored tape down the protruding part and act as a caution for drivers.

Victor said...

Tigerfish - You are right, that is something that they should have done as well.