More to being grateful for what we have

I refer to the 3 Mar 2014 Straits Times letter “Let’s be grateful for what we have here” by Mr Elgar Lee.

If Singapore is the proverbial oasis in the middle of the desert, why is Mr Mahbubani asking Singaporeans to visit neighboring Southeast Asian ‘deserts’ (Straits Times, “$5 meals, $500 holidays and $50k homes for SG50”, 12 Jul 2014)? Why is our oasis importing water from the surrounding desert?

We do not always have drinkable water from our taps 24/7. Just three months ago, 50 Punggol blocks had brown water flowing from their taps (Today, Brown water flows out of taps in 50 Punggol blocks, 13 Jun 2014). If the authorities say that brown water is drinkable, they should drink brown water for one year. Why offer rebates if there was nothing wrong with the brown water?

Mr Lee should understand that Malaysia water rationing earlier this year was the result of record dry weather in this region which last happened 145 years ago.

• BONE-DRY February has entered the record books as the country’s driest month in nearly 150 years, and the windiest in three decades, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA). A paltry 0.2mm of rain was recorded last month at Changi climate station. This is the least that has fallen since 1869, and is well below the previous record of 6.3mm recorded in February 2010 and the mean February rainfall of 161mm.
[Straits Times, February sets record as driest month since 1869, 5 Mar 2014]

Singapore should be thankful the February drought didn’t last longer for if it did and Johor’s rivers dried up, Malaysia wouldn’t have been able to supply us with water, our NEWater and desalination plants wouldn’t have been able to cope with the 380 million gallons of water Singapore needs each day [1], we would have been forced to ration water as well.

Mr Lee is grateful we do not have political stalemate because he belongs to the group with the political upper hand. If the tables are turned and Mr Lee ends up in the group that is politically disadvantaged and bullied all day long, would he continue to sing the same tune? Would he prefer to be disadvantaged, gagged, suffering and suffocating under oppression or would he prefer to have the freedom to fight for what he believes in?

Mr Lee was looking at only one side of the coin when he compared Singapore to cities with no mass transit systems. Would Mr Lee flip the coin around and compare Singapore with so many First World cities with better transit systems?

Being thankful may result in us being taken for granted rather than us having more. If we do not concentrate on what we do not have, we may end up with the status quo of not having more.

Singapore is just one of many bright stars in this universe. There is no more reason to be thankful for what one lucky star has compared to another lucky star.


• At the height of the dry spell over the past two months, the PUB had stepped up desalination to the full capacity of 100 million gallons a day. NEWater production was also raised to more than 100 million gallons a day for industrial use and to top up the country’s reservoirs by 35 million gallons a day.
[TodayOnline, P.U.B reducing production at NEWater, desalination plants, 21 Mar 2014]

• Today, water demand is about 380 million gallons a day (mgd) or 1,730,000 cubic metres a day (m3/day).


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