From ‘Power fault halts train services’, 10 Jan 16, article by Danson Cheong, Sunday Times
Train services broke down for the first time this year yesterday evening, affecting a four-station stretch on the North-South Line – from the station in Kranji to the one in Admiralty.
The disruption, which lasted for over an hour, was due to a traction power fault, according to transport operator SMRT
…Commuters were forced to get off the train and walk towards Marsiling Station. Undergraduate Vanessa Chia was one of them. She told The Sunday Times that her train had stopped for about 20 minutes, with the air-conditioning failing during that time.
“It was a really hot day and I could hear kids crying,” said Miss Chia, 20.
She added that the train was “only about a 20-second ride to Marsiling” but the distance took about 15 minutes on foot.
“A few of the passengers were quite old; it was quite painful walking on the stones for them,” she said. She added that she also saw an SMRT staff member giving an elderly man a piggyback ride.
She said that some commuters were quite agitated and were shouting. But Miss Chia took the incident in her stride. She snapped selfies and took videos to send to her friends.
“At first I was a little scared, but then I began to see it as an adventure. I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.
“But it was lucky the weather was good and this was a weekend.”
Now what I really wanted to see was a photo of the SMRT staff piggybacking an old man on the tracks. Instead, the ST decided to give a positive spin to a MRT detraining, featuring a photogenic girl in a selfie, hoping to distract people from thinking ‘Barely 2 weeks into 2016 and we have our first power fault. Damn you SMRT!’
What the media wants you to think is ‘Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad after all. Now if only I could experience this awesome adventure in a TUNNEL too!’ And one day you just might. I’m not sure if the photo below was taken during an actual train breakdown or a MRT tunnel educational tour , like how people flock to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on public holidays to hang around the tracks.
I pity the staff who had to go the extra mile for those in need, when people would rather take pictures of themselves having fun than everyday heroes in action. They still need to get back to work after the rescue mission, and instead of getting recognised for their act of kindness, the papers not only whitewash the breakdown, but sprinkle rainbows and candy over it as well. No, we don’t want pictures of crying babies, anguished faces or people collapsing from the heat, just for once we want an ordinary commuter believing this is the most exciting thing that happened to her over the weekend.
A well taken selfie can provide levity to any disaster, whether it’s a MRT breakdown, on a rescue boat after a ferry sinking, after fleeing from a burning building or just before getting gored in the kidneys during a bull run festival. Still, getting stuck on a train and having a stroll along the tracks under the hot sun is not even remotely in the Top 100 of my bucket list. Now I know what those sandbags on the tracks are for – to cushion your fall should you ever trip while taking a goddamn selfie.
There are instances that don’t involve risking your life where it’s inappropriate to snap selfies of though. Like LKY’s funeral, even if it’s a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.
Kudos to MRT track girl for her chirpy attitude in the face of an unfortunate event. Singaporeans would do well to learn from her and stop whining about bad wi-fi connections, long queues, the haze and just chill their way through when shit happens. But I fear she may be wrong about this being a ‘once in the lifetime’ experience.
And where was this guy when we needed him anyway?