Thursday, January 7, 2016

‘Light-ups’ at Orchard Road a disgrace

From Phillip Tan Fong Lip

December 18, 2015

The first fire at Orchard Road, known the world over to be a shopping haven at this time of the year, signalled something amiss about this year’s light-up (“Christmas tree catches fire at Orchard Road”; Dec 2, online).

Though Orchard Road is still one of the world’s best shopping streets, it is unfortunate for its reputation that there was another fire (“X’mas decoration along Orchard Road catches on fire”; Dec 10, online).

Although that was not as big as the first fire, two things stand out: First, why were lessons not learnt from the first case and more care not taken to ensure no repeat of such an incident?

Second, has the cost of the light-up been so prohibitive that safety has been compromised in a case of penny-wise-pound-foolishness? The literal light-up — incineration and not only illumination — of the decorations is a disgrace.

Perhaps lacklustre business at Orchard Road has compelled sponsors to cut costs. On this note, I wonder if Singaporeans would be willing to defray the cost of the light-up.

I, for one, would donate a note or two to this cause. Orchard Road has enriched my life with its grandeur, and surely others would not deny its enthralling beauty and that they want to see it perpetuated.

[Classic example of unbridled speculation leading to a jump to a conclusion unsupported by any facts other than the writer's unimpeded imagination, followed by a proposed solution of his own inclination. To be fair, his inclination is quite selfless - donating a few dollars to the cause. I said "selfless", not overwhelmingly generous. 

His whole proposal is premised on assumptions build upon assumptions, and even more assumptions. 

Let's start from the end: Would this drive to get Singaporeans to defray the cost of the light-up mean a voluntary "Donation" or a "tax"? If donation, fine. If tax, on what basis? Who gets taxed?

All this is assuming that the problem is money and cutting costs. Assumption without facts. How much was spent on this year's light up compared to previous years'? How much should it have been if costs were cut? Where were the costs cut? How much money do we have to throw at the problem to prevent it in future? Assume that costs were cut. The end of faux rational thinking.

Thirdly, he assumes that sponsors were cutting costs. What does he think happens? The sponsors individually calls for tender for the decorations and then bargain for lower prices, and the vendors cut corners? Maybe in his mind and in his world. 

In this world (or if I know how things are done), the sponsors pledge their donations to the organisers, the organisers request for tenders and proposals, and the best offer that is within budget gets the contract.

So what corners were cut?

"Orchard Road has enriched my life with its grandeur, and surely others would not deny its enthralling beauty and that they want to see it perpetuated."

Wow. some pretty lights and your life is "enriched"? ]

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