SMRT – Why so unforgiving?

Read a post by a Gabriel Bai posted in The Real Singapore of a student whose mobile battery ran out and thought it was ok to get it charged while in a MRT platform. She was caught by a train officer and charged in court.

‘The first time she went to court, the judge advised her to write a letter to appeal to SMRT, considering how minor this issue was. The appeal failed, and the second time she went to court, she was then fined $400.

I just felt really unfair for her, considering the fact that she has no idea the sockets could not be used (there were no warnings, or labels that the public cannot use them). It was also her first offence, and that she is still a student working part-time to support herself.’

Should an incident like this committed by a young student that often than not did it without any malice, just a bit unthoughtful, be treated as a crime? Or should an adult of a big business be more generous and forgiving to just tell the student not to do it again? Why is the SMRT so harsh in its dealing with a young student that there was no room for a little kindness and forgiveness when the Judge had already indicated that a little human kindness was called for?

Ok, some asshole will say a crime is a crime, an offence is an offence. I accept that there are assholes that would think and react this way. But personally I would have let the student go with the most a warning. Unless there is more to this case and this was a repeat offender, then I can understand the need to make it an offence. But to charge a student in court for such a minor infringement is beyond me.

Well there are immortals and some are more righteous and less tolerant of the young. Some will just throw the book at anyone and hide behind the law. A little discretion is warranted in the enforcement of rules and regulations and even the law. Yes, when you only have a hammer, everything is a nail to be hammered.

This is the kind of sick society we have become in the way we deal with our young and fellow citizens. Oh remember, ‘Our apologies for the slight delay. This train will be delayed due to a technical fault’. And the commuters are expected to be forgiving. And ’19,000 stranded by third train delay in a week’. So, should the public throw the book at the SMRT? Or should the public be forgiving, kind and understanding?

The poor student would now have to put in his/her CV, charged in court for an offence. How would this minor indiscretion that ended with a guilty judgement in court affect this young person’s life? Where is the kindness and generosity when it is expected from the adults? Or should we applaud the SMRT for being very proper, an offence is an offence, a mistake is a mistake?


Anonymous said...

If it's a foreign student, I'm sure SMRT will be willing to reconsider.

Is SMRT part of the Lee family stable of companies?

Anonymous said...

how cum outram mrt station linkway power failure, scene from internet photo, pitch darkness (sori .. cunnot use "black out", may sound racist)

why no emergency power back up?
not essential?? not working?
commuters have the vision of bats?

knnccb .... nah beh eh, wake up log on to red bean, make me so depressed

Anonymous said...

maybe this explain it all ...
all are born equal, some are more equal than other (sound something lidat ..)

in the case of ns;

many serve their ns liability by charging up and down pangkang hill

another served by scrutining soil .. (talking to soil????)

knnccb ... so future rebirth; if possible better choose the correct familee!!!!

Anonymous said...

RB, I was one if the 19,000 people affected wasted an extra one hour taking a longer route. I want to throw the book at smrt but got anything to throw or not. Nothing right? U tell me lar. Knn damn angry

Anonymous said...

They are so vicious against a student. Assholes.

Anonymous said...

@January 21, 2014 10:53 am

if this incident make you angry try reading ;


knnccb .... fucking papigs.. return our cpf@55

Anonymous said...

There is an entire class of people in Sinkieland who are chauffeur driven around in limousines fitted with phone chargers and other luxuries of life on the road. Roads paved with ERP and COE gold.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

SMRT want to set an example. Unfortunately, a student kena lanyak.

The proper way to handle such a situation: tell the student to cease and desist immediately, and make it clear of the consequences if she refuses. End of story. Total time to solve issue: less than one minute

"Kindness" and "forgiveness" are weak standards for corporations to apply. A corporation is a souless entity -- you are a bloody fool if you expect such "human values" to apply to the actions of corporations.

The SMRT is PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY and therefore has every right to restrict the "freedoms" of anyone who has VOLUNTARILY entered into SMRT territory. However how they defend their ownership is the issue here.

There is a principle in law known as the "right to exit" from voluntary associations. If the student isn't causing any wilful harm by charging her phone, there is no need for harsh action -- especially when there are no warnings or stipulations on the use of power sockets. The student -- as a self-choosing autonomous entity -- has the "right to exit" after being given FAIR AND CLEAR WARNINGS, and of course a reasonable amount of time to unplug her charger.

That being said, SMRT is actually IN THE WRONG. I would like to see a lawyer with conscience (a rarity, admittedly) take up the case and SUE SMRT for damages, and with the help of S'porean netizens, thrash the already shitty reputation of SMRT in the online forums and blogs.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...


In addition to the principle of "right to exit" is another principle in law known as proportionality.

Proportionality is what gives justice an air of "fairness". Justice has to be "fair" or it is not justice. For e.g.: you don't award the rotan to someone who has forgot to pay a parking fine. Similarly to the culprit caught murdering and raping, you simply don't let them off with a $100 fine and some community service.

Where are the pro bono lawyers? Got case lah. Can sue SMRT, and help out the hapless student.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no justice in this case. 2 principles of jurisprudence have been violated.

Fuck the courts.

Unknown said...

Anonymous @ 11.12 AM:

Too right. The PAP operate according to what has been described as the Thug Rule, for its (attempted, unsuccessful) use by a mugger seeking to justify his actions in court:

Your money isn't really
your money. You just get to hang onto it until I decide to take it from you.

Describes the Pay Also Pay thugs precisely.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the Court for what? It was the Magistrate that set the Penalty.
Any use blaming the train, the track or the electrical system when the MRT System breaks down?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Jeff, welocme to the blog.

The ass also agreed that there is something called proportionality and justice which has to be fair and proportionate to the violation.

Bloody hell, $400 for what the student done? Unbelieveable justice.

Anonymous said...

I believe Desmond Kuek is the CEO of SMRT.
Don't blame SMRT.
Maybe we should look at who is in charge.

Anonymous said...

Please don't pressurize the older worker too much?

Be reasonable, can compare your income against Warren Buffret or the Bill Gates they are entreprenuers?

You are politicians, you need to compare to politicians which manage around the the same population around 5 millions people, like the Nordic, Switzerland & New Zealand?

The grandfather time no internet now got internet, a child will know the true? Punggol East By Election?

Where last time grandfather time only the govt own MSM, so those old people no other alternatives, got only the govt owned MSM to get their info?

Now what you said people can search google internet and find out the true and compare, you just can't use the MSM to show only good things about yourself only, ignore the negatives?

If they can manage the populations so well with these types of pay why don't you can't, something wrong?

Compare apple to apple, not apple against orange?

Can a figure head president at these country draw $40 millions in 12 years in these countries?

If you want to be a entreprenuer, Singaporean are happy to let you go, you can see the widen income gap, and keep lowering of birthrate and the standard of livng? How to justify these type of pay?

Please by all means, let the Low Thia Kiangs, Sylvia Lims, Chen Show Maos, Tan Jee Says or Dr Angs, with the heart for the common people to take over?

Do you know with these unbelievable pay need lots of indirect taxes to maintain, how long can it be maintain?

Anonymous said...

If you own the ball you decide who gets to pay, I mean play. If you own the ball, bring your own referrers, you set the rule. Winners are grinners.

Anonymous said...

SMRT could have handled this case amicably and scored with public opinion by being magnanimous.
After all this is a minor infringement of the hidden rules.
Not that they do not need it especially after the train breakdowns and announcement of fare increase.
Instead using the big stick much like some govt regulators to get the people in line will turn a lot of people off.
A great opportunity wasted to soothe public unhappiness.
They are lacking IQ in solve the periodic system failure but also EQ in handling the commuters

Anonymous said...

This is such a minor incident that should not waste so much time, even the court's time.

Now a poor student got whacked by a sledgehammer. Who is in charge of SMRT PR to think this is a clever thing to do? If they mess up with more incidents the people will not be so forgiving and tolerant after this.

b said...

Justice is a commodity in a place run by traitor turned minister. It is exclusively for people who can afford it. Hope she learnt well from this episode, study well and migrate once she can.

b said...

How many think SMRT will charge Ah Long PM if he does the same thing? This world is full of bullshits.

b said...

How many think SMRT will charge Ah Long PM if he does the same thing? This world is full of bullshits.

b said...

'Proportionality is what gives justice an air of "fairness".'

- If there is true justiceor fairness, the CEO of SMRT should be jailed each time there is a train fault.

Anonymous said...

SMRT should thank a hideously ugly white man of superior breeding and his equally curious looking son for their ringing endorsement on social media.

Anonymous said...

The Leaders had long lost their senses of proportion in human endeavours.

They are overwhelmed by greed and vain-ness.

Anonymous said...

This is very disturbing news on many issues.

1. Students are trained to take as a norm to charge computers in schools and other public places. It is very natural to think that it is ok to do it at MRT stations.

2. Did the student get good legal aid, the high standard of Ravi?

3. Which joker in SMRT denied the appeal?

4. Can the student now appeal to dearest Tony for a presidential pardon to wipe the record clean?

Chan Joon Yee said...

It's interesting to note that someone who sympathised with that student said that there is no "black and white" from SMRT saying that you can't use their power points to charge your phone.

I believe these folks are just acting blur. Still, it's harsh for SMRT to bring people to court for that. They could have made better use of their time and manpower.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. Karma has a way of finding such assholes who cannot distinguish honest mistakes and serious crimes. Expect more SMRT train & bus breakdowns.

Virgo 49 said...

Ex-SAF man ingrained lifestyle always put subordinates on charge.

The person with extra stripe or pip will bully the one below. Habits already, what you expect???.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Joon Yee, welcomne to the blog.

Personally this is a very minor indiscretion on the part of young people. Unless they are recalcitrants and kept repeating the act, such infringement could be dealt with a stern warning on the spot and save the trouble of everyone, including the time of the court and judge.

This is a very mean thing to do to our young.

b said...

It is a waste of public funds for such minor issue and the chief of SMRT should be fired immediately and most likely taken over by an ABNN.

Unknown said...

So much for encouraging our students to be more creative and to have more initiative. If someone sees an empty carton on the smrt floor and picks it up, will they be charged for stealing?