Sunday, 2 December 2012

All Aboard!

This video has gone viral - the Singlish Minister addressing China Bus Drivers' Strike in Singapore.  The 'lead man' a great little actor.


 The thought of striking bus workers is enough to send shivers down the spines of older Singaporeans, many of whom have memories of the Hock Lee bus riots of May 12, 1955.

The Communists had organised a series of regular strikes and disputes and on that occasion four people were killed and 31 injured in a bloody riot.

Little wonder then that the government has come down hard on Chinese bus workers who have recently staged an illegal strike. They have just announced that they will deport 29 of the mainland Chinese bus drivers and prosecute five who were apparently the instigators.

Chinese bus drivers get their one-way ticket back to China
Singapore's last strike occurred in a shipyard in 1986 and the powers that be have no desire to see it repeated, even though there is some popular sympathy for the conditions in which the Chinese drivers lived and worked. But the country did not appreciate the way they went about sharing their grievances. Nor will they  tolerate any further disruptions to public transport on which so many of them rely.

44% of bus drivers in Singapore are from either Malaysia or China; about 22% from each country. So 275 of mainland Chinese drivers did not strike while 175 chose to.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued this statement and concluded:
"The actions of these SMRT bus drivers disrupted an essential service and Singapore's industrial harmony. While the SMRT bus drivers may have had grievances, these should have been raised through the legal and proper means available. 5 persons will face charges in court for the offences committed, and will be dealt with in accordance with the law. 29 persons who were blatant and persistent in their unlawful acts have had their Work Permits revoked and will be repatriated. Those who returned to work upon realising that this action was illegal will be issued warnings by the Police."

So the industrial harmony on which so much of Singapore's prosperity depends has been restored and the economic bus can resume its forward momentum.

In the words of the immortal duo Flanders and Swan in their Transport of Delight song "Hold very tight please, ting ting".Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

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