Paterson Road oil spill ‘could have been worse

Source link : ST -> Paterson Road oil spill ‘could have been worse’, say experts
By Danson Cheong And Adrian Lim

The oil spill that caused Paterson Road to be closed for 13 hours, and which resulted in widespread congestion for much of Thursday, could have ended a lot worse.

Experts The Straits Times spoke to said it was potentially a very dangerous situation, and it was fortunate that no lives were lost in the incident.

Adjunct Associate Professor Gopinath Menon, from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said: “The spilt oil could have been corrosive or flammable. People could have been hurt or burnt.”

It was an inconvenience for motorists but no lives were lost, he added.

The spilt oil is believed to have come from a truck, and the driver is now assisting with investigations.

The incident was first reported to the police at around 1.30am on Thursday, after which the Singapore Civil Defence Force and National Environment Agency took turns over six hours to clean the road with water jets, detergent and sawdust.

All five lanes on Paterson Road, heading towards River Valley, were closed to traffic from about 3.50am, which resulted in a massive tailback on roads feeding into the area.

Experts said identifying the type of oil and washing it away are the first things to do when dealing with such situations.

“The type of oil has to be determined so that the right solvent can be used,” said Mr Abdul Gaffor, head of training at safety training firm KAV International.

Some oils could result in irreversible damage.

As tarmac road surfaces are made from oil-based bitumen, spills of lighter oil products will quickly degrade them, said Mr Darren Waterman, regional director for the Asia-Pacific at Oil Spill Response.

“Spilt petrol can penetrate the tarmac surface, making it more malleable, and the aggregate in the tarmac could become loose. The tarmac would then be less capable of supporting loads or movements of vehicles… In many instances, the road surfaces have to be removed and replaced,” he added.

This was what the Land Transport Authority did yesterday at about 10am, after clean-up efforts were exhausted.

Replacing the road surface was unavoidable if the oil had seeped beneath the road surface, said experts.

“When it rains, the oil will float up again and make the road slippery and dangerous,” said Mr Abdul. “It was an extreme measure but it can’t be helped,” he added.


Overheard from TSS :

Glad to be in high-efficiency Singapore.

“this clearly tell me that all $ i paid as tax are working wisely”

“It’s definitely not easy to repave the road in one day”

image source  from TSS


When one says that “so what if Lim Chin Siong was a Communist”

Overheard :

The problem of “presentism” in Singapore’s historical debate

The storm that erupted when PM Lee talked about his visit to the Merger exhibition and his link to an open letter penned in response to Dr Poh Soo Kai makes for a most interesting case study in the discipline of history.

As usual, whenever the Government gives its version of history, it elicits a flurry of negative reactions.  Usually, you have on the one hand activists who know naught about history and just demolishes whatever the Government says by falling back on romantic ideals of human rights et al.  In truth, these activists do not care about whether Lim Chin Siong is a proxy of the violent Communist Party of Malaya. To quote Teo Soh Lung’s rather child-like argument, “But honestly, I don’t care if Lim Chin Siong was a communist or a CPM member. After all, the PAP does lots of business with communist Russia and China.” 

They do not care about Merger, Separation or historical accuracy for that matter. They constantly harp on the need for government to declassify its records and from there, they assume that some great wrong committed will be revealed and hence, demand a COI to seek redress for past detainees and ultimately remove the ISA. As a prominent socio-political website often claims, “As it stands, releasing the official documents of the secret branch would be the surest way of verifying this fact,” and ” it would be in the best interest of the government to open official documents”. 

But where do these activists get the idea of declassifying records from?  Behind these activists, there are actually some historians who were really the ones who started this historiographical debate by arguing that either there was no Communist threat in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s or that this threat was inflated.  These historians actually did cite from declassified records by the British government which makes some sense since Singapore was in effect, ruled by the British until 1963.  These records did show doubt by some administrators of the extent of communist threat in Singapore then.  But the Government cleverly also cited from the same declassified British records of a shift in the administrators’ positions with regard to the Communist threat.  What’s more is, there are primary source materials of the Malayan Communist leaders at that time, who themselves profess to instigating violence, riots and political subversion to achieve a communist state.

That’s why, when you see the responses to PM Lee’s attempt at teaching history, you hear only the activists voices most clearly; simply because they are not historians and do not know or care that a fait accompli has been achieved.  When an activist says declassify all records, what does he mean? It is actually an empty call.  Even the CIA redacts sensitive information from what they declassify.  Does declassifying records mean that great wrongs will be found?  I am afraid not. And if wrongs are not found but justifications found, what happens then?  The activist will just accept meekly? Or perhaps they will say that some of these documents are forged?

This is the problem when “presentism” seeps into the study of history.  It tends to blind objectivity.  When one says that “so what if Lim Chin Siong was a Communist”, it is clear as day to those who study history that it is a statement with great ramifications.  Today, admitting that you are a communist makes you a harmless laughing stock; but in the 1950s/60s, if one was a Communist, one was a terrorist, supporter, sympathizer of terrorism and a criminal.  There is no “so what”. 

It’s a very slippery slope and therefore the historians who really started this debate, have been very smart to stay in the sidelines, preferring to use the activists to fight their cause. The activists are not historians, they do not profess to be and they do not need to put forth sound arguments backed by sources. Romantic, emotive arguments and ideas are what move the present internet. 

But what about the historians watching this show, of their own doing, unfurl?  What are their intentions?  Are they truly noble and seeking historical truth or are they just seeking, like the activists, to redress present political concerns?


  Lee Hsien Loong   <-link
20 December 2014

I visited the Battle for Merger exhibition in October. This was the book of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s radio talks in 1961, explaining what the fight against the Communists was about, and why Singapore needed Merger with Malaya. 

The Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) was a violent, illegal organisation. So it operated secretly, underground. But the Communists infiltrated open, legal organisations like trade unions, student associations and political parties. These supported the Communist cause, but denied that they themselves were Communist. Mr Lee exposed this Communist united front tactic.

I took these photos of a fascinating exhibit: a pair of original handwritten documents. One was a trade union document, signed 林清祥 Lim Chin Siong. He was the leader of the Barisan Sosialis, the main open front political party. The other was a Communist study cell document, signed 王明 Wang Ming. The handwriting was identical. In fact Wang Ming was Lim Chin Siong’s party name; Communist cadres took party names to conceal their real identities. So Lim Chin Siong was a Communist, and the Barisan Sosialis was Communist controlled.

This was more than 50 years ago. Many old Communist and pro-Communist activists have reconciled with their past, and become good citizens. But a few hard core ones still deny these historical facts. They don’t want to admit that they had fought on the wrong side, and that luckily for Singapore they lost. Some “revisionist” historians make this argument too. One motivation: cast doubt on the legitimacy of the PAP government, not just in the 1960s, but today.

The British have been declassifying documents from their archives in London, and making them available to the public. Also senior CPM leaders like Chin Peng, Eu Chooi Yip, Fong Chong Pik (aka the Plen) and others have published memoirs. Their first person accounts, like the British documents, confirm the extent of the Communist united front in Singapore, and leave no doubt that the Barisan was formed at the instigation of the CPM, and that Lim Chin Siong was a Communist cadre.

We have put together an account using evidence from the British archives as well as CPM sources, which confirm that Mr Lee Kuan Yew told the truth. Here it is, for your weekend reading – > Reponse to Poh Soo Kai’s allegations – LHL


(Photo by me)


Reponse to Poh Soo Kai’s allegations

The kind of politics we want in Singapore ~Mr Victor Lye

Today, visited two children cared for by their grand auntie. Presented them with book vouchers from a kind donor who saw my earlier post. The children expressed their gratitude on a simple thank you card.

It’s moments like this that I throw all worries away and focus on what a small gesture can do for someone’s else’s future.

It’s about the kind of politics we want in Singapore.

The kind where it is not enough that the Government cares for its people.

The kind where the Government cares enough that the people know without a doubt.

The kind where a few doubters cannot cloud the skies for everyone else.

The kind where it starts by helping your neighbor, regardless of race, language or religion.

Act with conscience and conviction to change for the better. Don’t just twist and talk. Come, join us and help keep us rooted, grounded and connected.

Victor Lye Thiam Fatt (赖添发) is the People’s Action Party Branch Chairman of Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, one of 5 electoral divisions in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Victor has served as a volunteer in Aljunied since 1999.


Divorcing Malaysia Set Singapore Free (71) – Businessweek’ 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History

Source: Businessweek -> Divorcing Malaysia Set Singapore Free

And Businessweek -> The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History  -> check out number 71

December 04, 2014

1965 Expelled from federation with Malaysia, Singapore becomes an independent state.

“Every time we look back on this moment … it will be a moment of anguish.” So declared Lee Kuan Yew in a tearful press conference on Aug. 7, 1965, when Singapore announced its divorce from neighboring Malaysia.

The split marked the birth of the global economy’s most successful startup. Singapore was poorer than Jordan in 1965; now it’s 10 times as rich.

The World Bank ranks Singapore ninth in gross domestic product per capita, a place ahead of the U.S. By another measure—gross national income per capita on a purchasing-power basis—the country is second only to Qatar.

Singapore’s probusiness economic policies, high education standards, and rigorous social strictures have made it a model for developing nations across Asia and beyond.

Applegate is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow him on Twitter@evanapplegate.
Ratnesar is deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek.



Article and image Source – The Peak Magazine


Forget seven million. Think ten million people, if you want this city-state to succeed. That’s the bold suggestion of Dr Liu Thai Ker, often credited as the architect of modern Singapore.

Denyse Yeo 07 Oct 2014 Dr Liu Thai Ker, October 2014, population, singapore

For many Singaporeans, the idea of a 6.9-million strong population by 2030 as outlined in the Population White Paper is still hard to swallow. So when Singapore’s former chief planner, Dr Liu Thai Ker, recently said the country should aim for 10 million instead, there were howls of protest and disbelief online and off.

But the former head of both the Housing Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority is adamant that his controversial estimation, made at a recent seminar, is correct.

In an hour-long interview at his Scotts Road office, he says: “As urban planners, we should look at the need. We must plan long-term so that we will not run out of land. Because if you run out of land, nobody is going to help you. After we focus on the need, then we should find a solution.

“But the voices that I hear from social circles, newspapers, is to look at limitations first. ‘We don’t have land, so how can we look at population?’ If that’s the case, would people say since we don’t have money, we don’t eat tonight? But eating is the priority.

“City planning is the same. The need is to plan for 10 million and then break the limitation, rather than say, ‘oh, we have a limitation and then we don’t plan for 10 million.’ That’s getting the priority wrong.”

Currently senior director of RSP Architects & Engineers as well as the founding chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities, Dr Liu, 76, has some ideas although he declines to be drawn into a discussion of what the city will look like when it hits the magic 10-million mark – it would be too “irresponsible”, he says.

His broad vision includes keeping all the green spaces, landed properties, heritage areas and existing medium and high density areas, then scatter people across the island.

How? By going further on to the suggestions made in the White Paper and the Singapore Concept Plan of the country being divided up into five regions – central, north, south, east and west – with their own regional centres.

With 10 million residents, Singapore will become a megacity, made up of five smaller cities. He envisions that each city will have a population of two million, “just a little less than Kuala Lumpur… with its own Central Business District, hotels and cultural centres”.

He points to the fact that in 1960, Singapore’s population size was 1.89 million, “equivalent to each of these regions”. “When you plan like this, your whole concept of MRT lines must be different from now… You also have to build universities in the eastern region, for example, and redistribute facilities.

“But we must try. By not looking long-term, we may at best be doing remedial work. It’s like giving aspirin to a patient. When you talk about 10 million, you are doing surgery.”

Dr Liu, who is the first to admit that he is “talking as an outsider” since he’s no longer in government, clearly has lofty ideals. It’s in him when he says: “Everything I’ve said is to aim for creating a city that functions perfectly.

“We have to aim for perfection so that we can live with human failures. But if we aim for imperfection, it will be worse. Singapore functions almost perfectly. It’s one of the most efficient cities in the world, because we planned long term…

“The story of Singapore’s urbanisation from 1960 to today is a story of how when we face a problem, we face a problem bravely and squarely and created our own solutions, such as home ownership for all…

“In terms of urban planning, clarity equals courage. The story of our achievement in urban planning today comes from the fact that the political leaders and the planners and engineers thought through the problem very carefully, not in piecemeal but in totality until we achieved clarity.

“When we achieved clarity, we had the courage to implement (policies) even when we acted against world trends.” Singapore, despite being poor in the 1960s, introduced pollution control, a radical decision at the time.

Asked to name the challenges that Singapore has if it faces a 10-million population and Dr Liu shoots back. Think big picture, he appeals, saying: “Don’t try to immediately picture the worst scenario. Can you use your imagination to picture a nicer scenario?

“Our natural instinct to look at the worst possibility. But when you are always looking at the worst possibilities, you get nowhere. You convince yourself to do nothing, to bury your head in the sand. But that’s not a responsible way of doing things.”

Ultimately, for Singapore to remain sovereign, it must plan for the long haul. The 10-million figure is just a start. “If we plan for anything less than that, I just feel that we will be sorry.

“If we run out of land and population needs continue to increase, what do we do? Then we have to take away the parks, the landed properties and heritage buildings, and we also find that the MRT lines don’t really work. Is that something we want?

“We need to focus on the need rather than the limitation, and our achievement as a city in the last 50 years shows that we are capable of finding solutions.”

We are not better off than 10 years back meh

Overheard :

To your answer of if we are better off than today:

1. CPF : is there any other banks today that pay you better in interest rate for your savings?
I don’t see a big flaw in this system since we are paying a lot less taxes than other countries. So we need to be self reliant when we grow old. You may argue that you don’t need PAP to manage your savings, then it’s good for you.

But in our society, many people are not capable of that, and who is going to take care of them when they grow old?
It is like expecting our children to take care of us when we are old, it’s 21st century, not going to happen.

2. High price of HDB : agree our apartment cost is expensive, but generally still affordable for public housing. The cooling measures have taken effect and prices have gone down recently.
If property market just drop drastically, what about people who already own a flat?
Do they want their asserts to depreciate? The answer is no.

3. Foreigners stealing our jobs. There are many jobs available such as in service / construction etc lines that foreigners have taken the jobs.
Do you want those jobs? If you are talking about management roles that some companies do hire foreigners, ask yourself, are you good enough for the position? Why would companies rather pay more to hire a foreigner if a local can do do the job? The world is going into globalization, likewise, your expertise might be appreciated somewhere else.

4. Overcrowded condition : we are limited by option as we are a small city. Look at Japan,Hong Kong, and even London. Is their public transport less crowded than ours?

To you point on public health, no one is denied of healthcare services even if you are poor in SG. The waiting time for A&E is very reasonable compared to other countries. Waiting for 4 to 6 hours for a stomach pain in A&E is not going to kill you. Our government realised that we have an aging population and are building more hospitals in Jurong, Seng Kang etc and expanding more hospital facilities… how many government can plan so far ahead?

Lastly, it just gross me that we should just vote for any party simply because we want to send a message to PAP. Even though we are not happy with our current government, we have to deep dive into how opposition can do a better job.

Political stability is extreme important to the growth of economy of a country. Myopic mind like you are just looking on the surface without any concrete ideas/solutions. And if you are blaming foreigners for taking your job and government for not providing you a better life?  Time to reflect!””

image : People’s Action Party


It will be tough to eradicate terrorism. But we will keep Singapore safe, if we work closely together.

Lee Hsien Loong   Lee Hsien Loong  <- link

Extremist terrorism is a serious, long-term problem. Met community and religious leaders this morning to discuss the ISIS threat. We updated them on what has been happening, and they shared their views on what all of us can do to protect ourselves.

Grateful to the Mufti and Malay/Muslim groups who have worked hard to counter ISIS propaganda. The Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) has produced a brochure ( and online videos to point out the fallacies of the ISIS Islamic Caliphate, and explain why their brutal methods are against Islam.

Glad that others – the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, Taoist Federation of Singapore and the Bright Hill Temple – have also contributed towards helping Syrian refugees.

It will be tough to eradicate terrorism. But we will keep Singapore safe, if we work closely together. 



Ng Eng Hen - Defence Minister  Ng Eng Hen – Defence Minister  <- link

<< Protecting our trust and harmony against extremists >>

The fight against terrorism by extremists must include winning hearts and minds. We need the community’s help to prevent radicalisation and rehabilitate those affected back into society. We also need community and religious leaders to keep the community together, if ever there are attacks, so that the trust between Singaporeans of different races and religions remains solidly intact. 

PM Lee Hsien Loong, together with a few of us Ministers, met about 300 community and religious leaders yesterday to talk about this challenge. Many of these leaders recognised how the threat of terrorism can cause doubts and sow divisions among communities. And that each of us has to stay vigilant and do what is necessary to protect Singapore and Singaporeans. Community and religious leaders expressed support for what the SAF is doing together with other nations to stop the threat posed by ISIS. It was a fruitful session and I am heartened by the unity and support expressed at the meeting.    – Ng Eng Hen


K Shanmugam Sc    K Shanmugam Sc  <- link

Attended PM’s dialogue with our community and religious leaders earlier this morning regarding the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. While these conflicts may seem distant, our region is not immune to terrorist acts and violent extremist ideologies – our people, community leaders and government must stay vigilant and work together to safeguard Singapore and Singaporeans from such threats.


Overheard :

  • 除暴安良,人人有责。
  • Thanks God, our PM and his team are always visionary, vigilant and proactive.
    Singapore and Singaporeans are well taken of, at all times by them.
    Let us not be complacent and do our necessary part too.
  • We must work together to preserve the hard fought harmony and social cohesion Singapore has achieved. This make us stand out not only in the region but the world.
  •  These words ” VIOLENT EXTREMEIST IDEALOGIST” are huge threats to all of us that embrace INCLUSIVE & PEACEFUL society through RESPECT for individual as a decent human being and UNITY as a citizen for our Nation.
  • Yes our PM is rite. We also must stop RACIST. Those Racist shld nt be in Spore. Those cannot tolerate with Funeral n wedding under voide deck shld also be out. As one unity Spore must always fight for our safety & secure our future. Those who also don’t want to learnt English shld take the English course as we sporean shld be united to converse ONE LANGUAGE that can be understand for all and keep our Mother Tongue among our family.


  • Dear PM, Sir. I attended the session yesterday and I’m appreciative of the effort thus far made by the government. 

    I believe that whatever the case is, our actions must always be based on right principles. And I believe that this is what the government has always been trying to do though at times it may be difficult.

    Another factor of paramount importance to me is the issue of knowledge. The true knowledge. And in this instance we understand that all who have become victims or are vulnerable to become victims of misguided/deviant ideology are those who do not attend any formal religious classes.

    When a person enters a dark room, he will not be able to see anything. But the moment it is lighted up, he will understand what is happening and what he should and should not do.

    I therefore believe that the effort to convey the true message of Islam through a structured, systematic way should reach to as many Muslims as possible so that they may be saved from any misguided/deviant ideology.


  • It’s good. We are with you. 
  • Mr PM LHL, thank you very much for your care and concern for Singapore and Singaporeans.
    You looked very tired and having a flu. Please rest well and take great care.
  • Sir it is not at all tough to eradicate terrorism…we just need stable and strong government like Singapore.


  • Mr Prime Minister, its good to have you as our leader. As a citizen, we will always be positive and supportive.
  •  No matter how terrorism is personified, it is and maintains to be latently disastrous.
    In this context, Mr Lee Hsien Loong as the Prime Minister, officially the political leader and head of the Singaporean government through this status and message of his has given evidence of not only inspiring leadership but exemplary statesmanship as well.
    He has had the Singaporean people seriously realize of the enduring present but not yet active, developed or visible danger which could be a threat too to his city-state.
    Aware of the fact that he and his government would not be able to face and overcome this problem on their own, he has motivated, encouraged his citizens and made rapprochement to face this challenge preventively nationwide at its earliest stage. Preventativity is far better than cure!
    Well done, Mr Prime Minister! You really have learned a significant lesson from the latest polls where PAP did not gain the landslide win as had been the tradition before. Experience is the best teacher. Keep close in touch with the Singaporean people. They deserve interpersonal contact with the government. Together the Singaporeans stand, don’t they?


  •  ISIS is a very dangerous elements in the universe, so every countries should step up their security to combat this terrorism led by ISIS. Singapore is a small nation n we have to be more vigilant n prepared. Our PM Mr Lee HL is very concerned n he always initiate to conduct talks n discuss with all the religious leaders to have a common mindset to eradicate this ISIS practices in our country. So we are the citizens of Singapore should stand united with government to fight against this terrorism led by ISIS.
  • Dear PM Lee
    Thank you that under your leadership, we are able to dwell in this peaceful nation.


  • Many Singaporeans (including me) are really thankful that we have capable government and leaders to lead and manage our country. I have never take it for granted of the security, peace and racial harmony that we have in Singapore. 

    Some of our people may feel that what is happening in other far away countries doesn’t affect us and feel that we should not get involve. It is definitely not the case. ISIS fighters came from many different countries and its ideology can be spread like a virus especially with internet and social media. Singapore is very small country and our people live very close to one another in a small city. If any terrorist successfully attack us in our homeland, the consequence will be very serious. We really cannot afford to wait for things to happen to us before we decide to do something. It can be too late. 

    Making a stand on the issue of ISIS and educating our people on this matter is definitely the right thing to do. Thank you Mr Lee and team. Salute to you for your dedication for our country and our people.


  • Which ever religion do we belong to, we all should stand against ISIS.