10/05/2005

law and society: is jailing people a solution to all social ills

we are used to be called a fine city. we are also famous for using money to solve all our problems. now the latest innovation is to jail people, even jailing people who are branded as bus fare cheats for a few cents. and some of these cheats may not be cheats but a victim of technology faults. unfortunately, the onus of proof is on them to prove otherwise, that they have no intention to cheat and it is caused by system problems. perhaps one category of people may find this new jailing law beneficial. these are the people who are having problems finding three meals and a place to spend the night. they could go in and out of jail as bus cheats and be provide with free meals and free lodgings. incidentally, why is this problem a national problem and not a problem of the bus companies?

3 comments:

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redbean said...

there was a letter from the transport ministry trying to explain the rationale for jailing bus cheats. the main reason put forth is that jailing and a hefty penalty were meant to be a deterrent. in another word, to strike fear in the people. instantly it brings back the common perception of a civil servant mentally. the people are there to be bullied. imposed heavy penalties to frighten the people.

after having said that, the bus cheats are still going to be hit by heavy deterrent penalties for trying to cheat the bus companies of a few cents. and if they are recalcitrants, lets say they are caught 20 or 30 times, they will be put behind bars like every criminals.

for cheating 20 times, or 30 times, how much can that be? or are we going to hear, 'a crime is a crime' and the criminal must be punished.

we are the people, the citizens of the nation. why is the authority so harsh on petty crimes like cheating a few cents of bus fares by people who are not well off? a few cents saved a day can be enough for a meal now and then. are we so really so mean?

the estimate loss by the bus companies is $9 millions. so must some how take it back. it is an estimation.

redbean said...

it is about time for the govt to be on the side of the people instead of on the side of organisations that take advantage of the people. with all the big organisations and stat boards muscling their way to bully the general public, the latter becomes a convenient victim. case in point is the window rivet ruling, the bus cheat jail provisions. anyone speaking on behalf of the people at large?

the govt should set up a panel to impose penalties on organisations, including stat boards and ministries for mismanagement or making mistakes at the expense of the people. bus companies that overcharged the commuters because of faulty fare system must be fined. hdb and private developers must be fined for installing substandard window rivets. the lta must be fined for the mess they have created and the numerous accidents they have caused at the junction of cecil street and robinson road.