Embrace the inconvenience of tight security

The recent closure of Hougang and Woodleigh MRT stations prompted much debate on the topic of Singapore's landscape of security (Man arrested for causing alarm at MRT station; April 19, and Quick action, calm evacuation after alert over suspicious bag; April 3).

Many people commended the government agencies for taking the matter seriously, while others are more cynical because of the inconvenience caused by the seemingly paranoid responses taken against these security threats.

It is important to recognise that security is an adversary to convenience.

Security measures and procedures take time, intrudes our privacy and changes the way we live, work and play.

This is clearly manifested in both cases of MRT station closure.

Commuters had to source for alternative transport routes and be subjected to checks by policemen in the vicinity.

The consequence was an inconvenient and longer travel experience. The commuters also had to account for their late reporting for work or for keeping their friends waiting.

It, therefore, seems like there is a lot to lose when employing security.

However, having a robust and stringent security system should still take precedence over the convenience of people.

Security is seen as a matter of inconvenience only because people have yet to see the value of having a sense of security.

Singapore is listed as one of the members of the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria coalition[1].

From being an ISIS target to the multiple attempts to launch attacks in Singapore, such as the foiled plan to fire rockets on Marina Bay from Batam last year, it is obvious that terror threats to Singapore are indeed very real.

If any of these threats were to materialise, the impact on the physical livelihoods and psychological well-being of the people would be immense. That would be a real inconvenience.

In essence, it is vital to acknowledge the inconvenient truth: Security may cause slight disruptions to our daily lives, but it is all for the greater convenience of working, living and playing safely and with peace of mind.

Singapore's landscape of security has had a long history and is definitely set to stay. Embracing it would increase our society's resilience against terror threats and allow us to be prepared for them, should they come knocking on our doors.

Ewe Yeh Hang