A man who goes by the name Selwyn Koh took to his Facebook on Sunday (1 December) to slam the organisers of Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2019 for closing roads in the city centre last weekend which led to massive traffic jams.
“You organise a run in the heart of Singapore, closing roads in the CBD, Marina area, Keppel area, and some parts of West Coast and East Coast from 1.30pm. Sure,” he wrote.
He continued, “You then take it a step further by choosing a Saturday for your race, and a flag-off time from 6pm, with many of the major roads closed from 1pm till 1.30am the next day. This, I’m afraid, is a decision that reeks of nothing but stupidity and selfishness.”
This year’s SCSM was held from 29 November till 1 December, which is a change of concept from its previous years. Traditionally, it’s a two-day event and the runners will be flagged off in the early morning.
However, The Straits Times reported that the format has been changed this year to a three-day event in order to qualify SCSM into the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM).
As such, the event started in the evening of 30 November instead, and major roads had to be closed from 1pm on that day.
For those who are not aware, AWMM is a series of the largest and most prestigious marathons in the world, which includes the TCS New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon.
As expected, this resulted in horrendous traffic congestions around the city with many people complaining, including Mr Koh.
He said that based on the list of roads that were scheduled to be closed, most people would know that it’s going to be a “disaster”.
Given that Christmas is around the corner, many people will need to head to the city for shopping and there are countless events happening in the city as well, Mr Koh noted.
“It’s less than a month to Christmas, and there are events happening all over the island. Some have important family functions, and others are doing Christmas shopping. Some are heading for a concert, and others are rushing for their flights with several luggage in tow,” he elaborated.
He added, “Then there are weddings in every ballroom in every hotel all over the island, and there are people who need to travel by car/van simply because there are things to transport (e.g. bulky sound system, big instruments like cello/harp). Wedding attendees, who are decked in their best for the evening, will also mostly be driving.”
Although many would argue that hopping on a MRT around the race area is a good alternative since “commuters are encouraged to take the MRT as their primary mode of transport”, but Mr Koh thinks otherwise.
“Any idiot would know that not everyone is able to hop on the MRT just like that, especially on a Saturday evening where the MRT is already packed even without the road closures,” he lamented.
“You clog up the entire Singapore with the worst jam of the decade bringing traffic islandwide to a complete standstill, no thanks to your road closures on a Saturday evening, no less,” he added.
He explained that it’s not right for the organisers to “close roads to make way for a run on a Saturday evening, because it affects a lot of people – many of whom are working”.
He also pointed out that he felt sorry for all his friends who got stuck in the traffic on Saturday evening trying to get to their destination.
Mr Koh explained that a friend of his got stuck for four hours in the jam trying to get from Sentosa to Fullerton Hotel, another one waited in a taxi with a full bladder and paid S$55 for the ride, as well as a woman who was a wedding organiser who had to park far away and dash to the venue.
He added that even he was “caught in the dreaded jam”.
“To the organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, for heaven’s sake, please don’t organize a Saturday evening race again. Have some compassion, even if you don’t have a brain,” Mr Koh said.