Queries on use of quartz for niche not answered

A worker installing a plaque at Mandai Columbarium.
A worker installing a plaque at Mandai Columbarium.PHOTO: ST FILE

The National Environment Agency's (NEA) reply (New lab test requirement in NEA tenders, March 22) to my letter (Still no word from contractor on quartz plaques, March 15) did not address my two key questions.

First, why was there the need to substitute marble plaques with quartz on two-thirds of the niches contracted? Second, why was NEA not advised of the switch?

Recently, a wet market operator mistakenly used Hindi instead of Tamil in his fliers, and subsequently made a translation error.

Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said that according importance to translations of languages is a "mark of respect to the other communities that we live with" (Accurate translations a mark of respect: Iswaran, March 25).

He also said that the people behind the mistakes had apologised, adding: "We should graciously accept their apology and move on."

Those of us provided the quartz plaques had to set aside time to attend to the plaque replacement, watch as the plaques enclosing the urns containing the ashes of our departed loved ones were smashed open, and arrange for the religious and cultural rites associated with the plaque replacement exercise to be conducted.

So where is the respect for those of us whose niches of departed loved ones - 8,600 in total - were affected by this? What would it take for NEA and the contractor to apologise for this?

Tan Soon Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2019, with the headline 'Queries on use of quartz for niche not answered'. Print Edition | Subscribe