Singapore: Falling down, broken, breakdown, falling to pieces

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By: Phillip Ang

I refer to The Independent’s “External structure collapses at HDB block in Tampines”. It has become increasingly dangerous to live in our first world country.

This is an older block constructed about 3 decades ago by more reliable and skilled labour. What is to be expected of the newer flats which are mostly rushed jobs and constructed using questionable skilled labour?

There have been recent incidents such as one in July last year where a plaster slab measuring 1.5 m by 0.6 m fell from a height of 18 storeys. It came off the facade of a 17-year old HDB block in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4.
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ST article

In December last year, a concrete slab measuring 3 m by 1.8 m fell from a pedestrian bridge. Fortunately, no one was injured. The ST article reporting the incident was all BCA and LTA wayang: there was no mention of accountability. Overhead bridges are assets belonging to LTA and the government is also indirectly the largest employer of foreign construction workers.
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Although the supply of skilled construction workers is inelastic, PAP has somehow managed to find sufficient manpower from third world countries. What is worrying – many of them could have been only general workers sent for an expedited course for certification and recruited by private construction companies. If IDA could employ Nisha with a fake master’s degree, couldn’t LTA/HDB contractors have hired unqualified workers?

Besides building structures coming off, trees have also fallen down in record numbers.
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Sinkholes which started to make their appearance a few years back were unheard of previously.
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As Singapore ages, things have started to fall to pieces. Our broken CPF scheme (or maybe broke GIC?), an MRT system that’s constantly breaking down, to name a few.

Will our roads or even elevated expressways collapse? Will an entire building collapse one day? That a patched-up sink hole had collapsed is certainly no assurance there will not be bigger screw ups.

Built on a cheaperer = betterer foundation, Singapore is now a major disaster waiting to happen.