Sunday, 17 August 2014
That "Fishball stick" problem
I was at the bus stop in front of United Square (Thomson Road) recently. There was a shabby, dirty man with a box and and some bags taking up one of the bench seats at the bus stop with his box and bags. He was obviously a vagrant. No one wanted to sit next to him, or even stand close to him.
Suddenly he got up and stepped towards some litter at the back of the bus shelter, scooped it together, picked it up, and brought it to the nearest bin to dispose of it.
He did not call the NEA. Perhaps he did not have a cell phone. He did not call his MP. Perhaps as a vagrant homeless, he does not have any MP representing him. He did not call LTA. Perhaps he did not know the number to call to complain about litter at the bus stop.
He did not have much. Perhaps all his worldly belongings were in that box and the few bags he had with him.
But he had two hands and he had eyes, and when he noticed the litter behind the bus stop, he did not ask, "who's responsible for cleaning up this bus-stop?" but took matters into his own hands (literally!) and cleaned it up.
He did not have much, but perhaps he had a better sense of civic consciousness, a better sense of social responsibility, than me.
When PM Lee mentioned the "fishball stick" incident during the National Day Rally, I thought of this shabby (possibly homeless) vagrant and how he solved what he perceived to be a litter problem.
[The fishball stick issue was mentioned at about the 1 hour mark of his speech.]
Summary of the issue:
One idiot threw a fishball stick along the path.
Another idiot saw the fishball stick and on the first day did nothing. "Somebody will get that."
On the second day he still saw the fishball stick litter on the path. No one had removed it. So he decided to do something about it. No, not pick up the stick. That would be too troublesome. The idiot decided to complain to his MP. Or was it the Mayor? Did he wait for the MP's Meet the People Session (MPS) to complain in person to the MP? Or did he write a letter to the MP? Or perhaps, he sent an email?
Yes. Sitting down to compose an email to the MP (or Mayor) is infinitely less troublesome than picking up the offending stick. Assuming he did not get personally to the MPS to complain. Now that would have been even LESS troublesome.
The Mayor tried to get the idiots at NEA, NParks, & LTA to clean up the litter. And got pushed around.
Finally, she told the PM.
Who told the idiots to get their act together.
And who also told this story at the NDR. Then he announced that he was going to set up a Municipal office of Idiots to look into such issues.
Moral of the story: There is no problem created by an idiot that more idiots cannot make unsolveable.