Things always happen after Khaw opens his big mouth

Photo of Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan from Today Online

by Chen GJ

15 November morning, I was riding the MRT towards Joo Koon from Pioneer. I was at the front cabin of the train that almost reached Joo Koon MRT. At exactly 8.20 am, there was a loud bang, and a violent shaking threw everyone onto the floor. The lights also suddenly went out. I almost thought we were about to fall over.

From the pilot cabin, we could hear the Driver speaking on the radio. He spoke to the control center that the train behind had collided with the train behind.

A Bangladeshi or Indian man could not get up. He hit his head in the collision. A Caucasian man (possibly from Europe), rendered assistance.

I tried pressing the comms button, but there was no response. The Caucasian man spoke to the driver through the opening of the door, informing that there is an injured person on board.

An SMRT staff came from the other side to check on the casualty. He probably came from the rear of the train. We asked him if it was possible to open the train door to let the injured person out. The staff said that if the train door was opened, then all the train doors would be opened at the same time, which would endanger passengers walking on the electrified tracks. I asked him if it was possible to just open only a single door. He replied they cannot control it like that.

After a long time, the front door from the driver side was opened. 2 passengers helped the injured man to his feet and got him out first. The rest of us then followed outside. It was 8.50, half an hour since the collision.

At the control station of Joo Koon, people were forming a long queue. They were queuing to get the excuse sheet, as well as to cancel the overstay status, as they cannot tap out with their EZ Link cards.

To my dismay, I realized that the gantry of Joo Koon was still deducting fares. The one thing that never breaks down. I approached the staff, explained the fare deduction should be cancelled. She told me that she has no power to make such a decision, and just referred me to another staff. After approaching 3 staff, the male SMRT staff opened one gate with no fare deduction. I told him the fare waiver should be for the whole station, not just one gate, but he said this was the best he could do.

It was a bad experience, but I could say I was lucky enough to get away with just a few bumps. Others weren’t so lucky. This has already become the norm. And you can see the resilience of Singaporeans from the way we tap on our phones even as we were stuck on board.

I would like to thank Mr Khaw for such an experience, because every time he opens his big mouth, an incident is never far behind.

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