RP students find solution to million-dollar infrastructure issue across the country


Would you spend millions of dollars to build a sheltered linkway to shield pedestrians from rain when you have to build it to be above 4.5m high to accommodate heavy vehicles? Wouldn’t the sheer height of the linkway fail to adequately shelter pedestrians in the event of a downpour?

According to Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, “this is the problem infrastructure planners faced across Singapore.” That is, until a few Republic Polytechnic (RP) students found a simple solution by pioneering an umbrella sharing initiative.

Dubbed Sharella, the pilot project initially failed when it was introduced for the first time at Sembawang. Two racks of umbrellas were placed on either side of a traffic crossing near the Sembawang MRT Station that did not have a covered linkway overhead. A few hours later, all the umbrellas were gone – pedestrians had allegedly thought that a product promotion was going on.

Volunteers, however, didn’t give up. They topped up the umbrellas and milled around the rack, explaining how the program works to pedestrians. Soon, pedestrians began using the umbrellas as intended and some apparently began contributing their own umbrellas to the racks as well.

The road is wide, there will be heavy vehicles, so any covered link way will need to be minimum 4.5m high, which means…

Posted by Ong Ye Kung on Saturday, 19 August 2017

The post quickly trended online, with netizens lauding the initiative:

One Tampines Resident convinced his MP, Baey Yam Keng, to implement the program in his constituency, as well:


  1. Its is hard to get citizens to support govt when they experienced daily the effect of the govt squeezing them with all sort of price increase and all types of taxes while the MIW are enjoying life with their millions.

  2. Remember when macdonald’s had a trial with tissue dispensers and everyone and their mothers took more paper towels than was necessary?

    If ministers can extol the virtues of taking more than necessary toothpicks from restaurants, do you think the majority have enough social graces to return umbrellas?

    This is NOT a solution, it’s an exercise in making Singaporeans feel worse than we already are. We don’t need empty racks of umbrellas to remind us that many of us are selfish and self serving.

  3. OYK’s solution is typical of those who have tunnel vision! If this continues, we are done for, when even the highly paid ministers follow group think! Where is the creativity??

  4. While we laud the efforts of the student, the walkway doesn’t just start and end at the crossing. There is much more to it. Fancy not even having a continuous walkway, people will also complain.

    Maybe all vehicles should be less than 4.5m.

  5. Solution? May be not. But, comparison to coming up with an idea that’s far more cost effective than a million dollar sheltered linkway, it’s a far better idea. Don’t diss on that kid. He dared to think.

    My take on the sheltered linkway.
    It’s a waste of revenue.

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