Saturday, April 30, 2011
Lee Hsien Loong and Shanmugam were probably thinking of SBS or SMRT
In responding to him, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said, "When you drive a car or a bus, you don't rely on two drivers. You find the person you trust, who has experience, skill, and is responsible, and you put him in charge, and then you watch him as he takes you on your journey, a safe journey. You don't want to have two because what if they quarrel with each other - one says turn left, the other says turn right, or what if one grabs the steering wheel and the other one steps on the brakes or the accelerator and everything at the same time. Better choose the best driver, rely on him for five years. If he performs, you support him and you give him the mandate to do it again."
In expanding on Mr Lee's analogy, Mr Shanmugam added, "How often have you seen a car being driven by two drivers, fighting with each other for the wheel? I can see why the WP called its vision 'unique'. This unique vision will lead us to a crash, and not the smooth drive that the WP promises. And this co-driver wants to keep slapping the driver. Just like what they do in the Taiwanese Parliament. I suppose hair pulling and kicking would be a natural progression."
Mr Shanmugam said nothing new by using the analogy of the Taiwanese Parliament. He, like all Mr Teo Ser Luck and Mr Lee Hsien Loong, invoked the bogeyman of a violent Parliament.
I want to ask Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Shanmugam something. Mr Low Thia Khiang has been a Member of Parliament for 20 years, since 1991. Ms Sylvia Lim has been a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament since 2006. How often have they pulled someone's hair or kicked someone in Parliament?
And Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Shanmugam seem unable to comprehend a co-driver system because they both are probably thinking of SBS or SMRT buses. Yes, these buses are driven by one driver but they are only driven short distances. Even if one particular SBS or SMRT bus were to go from Bedok in the east to Bukit Batok in the west (although with distance based fares being implemented by SBS and SMRT such long rides have become an exception) it will still be a very short ride when compared to the buses which go long distances, from Singapore to Penang, or Singapore to Hatyai.
Such bus rides lasts anywhere from 9 - 14 hours and can you imagine a bus going on such a long drive having just one driver without a co-driver?
It will be very irresponsible of the bus company to insist that only one driver drives the bus on such long road trips. Just because there are two drivers, it will not mean that these buses go to two different destinations. The two drivers compliment each other to ensure that the other does not fall asleep while he is on the wheel and more importantly that the passengers of the bus reach their destination safely.
Such long road-trips, can be likened to having a long-term vision and the bus rides in SBS and SMRT buses can be compared to being short sighted.
Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Shanmugam probably only thought of SBS and SMRT bus rides when they spoke that a bus cannot be driven by two drivers.