What readers are talking about this week

The crowd at City Hall MRT station during the massive train disruption on July 7, 2015. More than 250,000 commuters were affected.
The crowd at City Hall MRT station during the massive train disruption on July 7, 2015. More than 250,000 commuters were affected.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Earlier reports that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) may help manage crowds in the event of  train breakdowns prompted readers to write in on the issue this week.

Mr Tong Hsien-Hui wrote that the use of national assets, such as the SAF, to help a private company should take place only if the company is nationalised. 

Mr Lim Chong Leong believes troops are not trained to manage crowds in the event of a massive rail disruption. 

Ms Nicole Tan Xin Yue wrote that SMRT should just take its own measures and pay to manage its problems.

 

Mr Sum Siew Kee suggested getting soldiers to drive the commuters to their destinations instead of getting them to manage the crowd. 

The letters prompted a reply  from the Ministry of Defence, which stated that the SAF will respond to large-scale train service disruptions only when all the available resources of local agencies cannot cope.

With the general election less than two weeks away, political issues also dominated this week’s Forum. Dr Seto Hann Hoi asked if Singapore can continue to produce capable and incorruptible politicians with the current punishing pace of political office.

Ms Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon suggested that  Cabinet ministers be freed from their municipal duties to focus on their Cabinet portfolios.

Outside politics, the study of literature was also a hot topic.  Mr Tay Hong Yi questioned the use of a single timed examination as a measure of a student’s  competence in the subject.  

Mr Zee Kok Eng wrote that the study of literature enriches one  in ways beyond dollars and cents, while Dr  V. Subramaniam argued that a society needs literature to have a “soul”.  

Here are the letters:

Use soldiers only if rail operator is nationalised

Troops not trained to manage crowds

Keep public, private issues separate

Let soldiers provide transport instead

SAF to respond only when agencies cannot cope

Punishing pace of political office

Free Cabinet ministers from municipal duties

Literature's benefits go beyond dollars and cents

Timed exam incompatible with literature

A society needs literature to have a 'soul'