Vijay K. Saluja
Senior Fellow, Insitute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
I am on a brief visit to Singapore. Coming from Delhi to this city , one immediately observes what a world class city contains, should be & can proudly boast of?
The first class experience starts right from the moment you arrive & enter its sparkling Changi airport. No hassles of any kind,-clean toilets, efficient bags collection, availability of tourist information brochures about the city`s various places of interest etc etc & immediate availability of very well maintained taxis, to name a few. One has not to stand in any queue of pre-paid taxis! Infact it is not required here.
Drive from the city to one of the HDB [Housing Development Board] residential complex was indeed a comforting drive-smooth ,lane-discipline, roads are excellent, flanked by lovely trees & well manicured green spaces, proper road signages of various kinds & all traffic lights in proper operational order. One hardly sees any traffic policeman on the way!
Fare is indicated on the meters installed in the taxi & on arrival at the destination is accepted with due courtesy & thanks by the driver,who is an elderly person.
I ask myself, why we can not have a situation like this in our Delhi?
This is the beginning of my sojourn in Singapore.
STRAITS TIMES is one of the widely read English newspaper in the city. It costs ninty cents equivalent of approx thirty one Indian rupees. Media Corp is the English TVchannel. To know about the various happenings in the city, I daily read the said morning newspaper & watch the TV channel.
.The `paper` makes it a point to devote some of its pages to the efforts and views of the community in making their neighbourhood better & properly maintained. There is active People Association. The Minister Mentor [Mr Lee Kuan Yew] the prime minister, the local MPS, the community representatives, take very active interest in the day to day welfare of the community & the citizens. The city, its clean & green residential areas, numerous malls, various eating joints/ food courts, traffic on the roads, give an appearance of total orderliness. Why is it all happening, what is it due to, I will discuss in the next part of the article, after ascertaining more details
In today`s [23rd Sep] STRAITS TIMES, there is a news on the top page with the heading COMMONWEALTH GAMES:10 DAYS TO GO, Event on a knife`s Edge` by South Asia Bureau Chief. On its second page another news with heading `World watching India as things fall apart` It makes very dismal reading about CWG fiasco!
While I read these news, I feel embarrassed. News on ZEE TV also tell about massive floods in North India & miserable state of the flood affected besides the state of Games Village.
I really wonder what sort of effect, these news will be making on the local population & their reaction towards so many Indians who stay, work & visit here in droves for shopping etc.
There is also another news on the front page. `Jail for attempted bribe` which informs about a Singaporean who tried to bribe a Malaysian traffic policeman with Singporean twenty one dollars after being caught speeding being given a one-day jail sentence and also with a fine of 4200 Singaporean dollars by a Malaysian court.
My thoughts go to the state of affairs in my own Delhi & really wish when our city will be actual World Class City!
I feel, the leadership & the bureaucracy will have to have a different attitude & mindset to bring change for the better. They need to be imbued with vision, selflessness & take the help of its vast resource-its citizens who have to also play pro-active role in becoming active partner in governance. The government must train & empower them.
Long way to go? But, time to start that journey is now.
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