The APEC meeting had several impacts on the Singaporeans, besides the apparent increase in public littering (due to missing bins everywhere) another “issue” are the tightened security checks at MRT stations which however turned out to be useless and even more.. annoying. I question who trains these people and who sets up the instructions they follow.What really pisses me off about Singapore's MRt Stations!
1. The Simple Principles Of Terrorism – Fail!
These tightened security (luggage) checks have clearly one aim, prevention of any act of terrorsim (most prominently bombing) in Singapore. Good..
As a result of numerous Hollywood movies and daily news reports, even the kopi shop uncle next door should know that the old picture of that grimly terrorist with turban, long beard and TNT belt is outdated and antique. Hence, random checks is it, right?
Practically everyone can be a “sleeper” and to ensure the highest quality of safety there for, the security checks should be completely independent of any race, age, social group etc.
But.. Very Clearly They Are Not!
2. Random Checks – Fail!
I did some field tests. Yes. In fact, not really field test but simply “monitoring” the MRT security staff in several situations with different kinds of people and bags, including myself.
Caucasian people, be it tourists or not, get “priority treating” (Surprisingly… there are rumored white terrorists as well, hear hear).
I encountered several situations where backpackers with huge bags, followed by me with my stuffed gym bag and other Ang Mohs could simply walk past the security staff without hesitation while the local person, no matter what race or age, was stopped just carrying a normal handbag. Read: The West And Asia – Racism And Sauerkraut
The security staff was clearly struggling with the question whether to “interrupt” the Caucasian people, but simple avoiding of eye contact, and quick walking will do the thing while, I saw aunties behind me getting checked for their Cold Storage bags and students for their normal backpacks.
Whether the security staff got these instructions to “keep tourists happy” or not doesn’t matter, it is in my opinion racist behavior and should quickly be looked into my the officials.
3. Identifying Of Dangerous Objects? Fail!
“No Sir, I do not carry any dangerous objects in my briefcase, if you look closely, you might realize that it barely fits more then a folder of paper sheets”.
Again, I am sure the so called “Security Staff” has not received any useful training in how to actually identify the objects they look for at all. Clearly there is a purpose behind checking bags, but of what use is it if you don’t know what you are looking for.
(Read: Singapore Is Really Strange – Can You Explain Please?)
“Prevention!” someone might shout, yes sure, I agree. But if it is so easy to bypass the security checks (simply board your MRT at the airport and no one will ever question whats in your 50 Liter suitcase), then why annoy commuters by checking lady’s purses or my above mentioned minimal briefcase.
Even worse, after finally being pulled out with my larger bag I can simply fantasize that it is full of dirty laundry and I am off to my train as quick as I was pulled over, without ever opening my bag.
4. Interpersonal Or Social Manners? Fail!
There are several things that keep on annoying me in Singapore about the two above mentioned “skills”.
First and most prominently, they do not exist!
Secondly, if they exist, they still do not really exist..
When it comes to security checks I am usually the more cooperative kind of person since it is actually something that makes sense. Yes, really!
But when I get plainly pointed at, then directed to that pathetic security check table and faced with a grunted “Open Ah!” without any further explanation, I am actually getting annoyed and I am (unfortunate for the other person) quite quick and good in creating a very tense and awkward situation. Which leads to the next point when..
I do not accept neither understand, why (like in any other situation of security checks) those official security people, touching hundreds of bags and maybe people daily, do not wear any kind of protection??
NO! I don’t want you to go through my fresh laundry with your dirty fingers. No I don’t want you to spread any disease picked up by someone 5 hours ago. At least wear some gloves dude!!
Your Opinion, Singapore’s MRT Security Checks – Annoyance Or Good?
And here is where I really start to question how far these checks to violate my privacy.
- Do I have to let this unqualified security staff without any real chance to actually identify a terrorist or dangerous item go through my personal things. Without explanation?
- Without “normal” health and cleanliness standards?
- Do you really think any serious terrorist wouldn’t be able to bypass those ridiculous checks by any means?
- What is the use of these checks if they are clearly subject to certain groups of people?
Please let me know your opinion in the comment area below!
Discovering new interesting and strange things everyday, he provides guides, news and tips for how to survive Singapore and how to best prepare for it.
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