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Cabby’s actions now not “illegal”. He only “flouted rules”

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 9, 2008

By Gerald Giam

Last night (this morning actually), I wrote a post commenting about the article, Discount ads on taxis illegal: LTA, which appeared in the late Monday night (7 Jan) edition of the Straits Times. The sub-header was, “Marketing tactics and soliciting are against company rules and the law“. The ST usually publishes a teaser of a breaking story for the next day’s print edition.

In my blog post, I had questioned how the actions of the taxi driver could have been illegal. He had simply placed a handwritten cardboard sign at his windscreen offering to waive the new peak hour surcharge.

Surprise, surprise….In today’s ST, the headline changed. It now reads Cabby who advertised discounts flouted rules“. The sub-header is now, “LTA backs cab firm and says such tactics may lead to soliciting, which is illegal” (emphasis mine).

There are two possibilities:


(a) LTA ordered the ST to make those changes after realising that there was no basis for pronouncing the cabby’s actions illegal, or that the taxi driver was conclusively “soliciting”; or

(b) the ST was irresponsible and untruthful in using the word “illegal” twice when LTA never used it, and implying that the cabby was “soliciting”.

No responsible media or government agency should use the word “illegal” lightly. If what the cabby did was really illegal, then that means he had broken the law and the police should have taken action against him to enforce our much vaunted “rule of law”.

The change should have been marked as a correction with apologies, as is the usual practice with credible newspapers.

In any case, there doesn’t appear to be a hint of contrition for the error on either LTA’s or ST’s part. In today’s article, they were still trying to justify why the cabby’s actions could be illegal, because it “may lead to soliciting”.

In Singapore Law, soliciting usually refers to either unauthorised fundraising by charities, selling sex in a public place or unauthorised street collections. Could some legal eagle please explain to me how placing a sign on your own cab window can be deemed “soliciting”? The taxi driver wasn’t asking for donations, prostituting himself (yucks!!!), or busking with a guitar along the street, was he?

The bottom line is that LTA really had no business pronouncing judgment on this minor infringement of a private company’s rules (if at all). It only serves to confirm in many Singaporeans’ minds that the Government is firmly on the side of taxi companies and not consumers or taxi drivers.



3 Responses to “Cabby’s actions now not “illegal”. He only “flouted rules””

  1. Robert HO said


    2. By incriminating everybody and every activity, the LEEgime thus gains the upper hand against its opponents and even ordinary people and enhances its standing as Lord and Ruler and sometimes Protector [of its own PAP people, orgs and interests].

    3. By incriminating us, the common people, they thus RAISE THEMSELVES in the always-uneasy relationship of Ruler vs People. They become Whiter than White ‘junzi’ while we become criminals or almost criminals or potential criminals, thus justifying every harsh and unfair action and policy of the govt and future such. They become Moses, lawgivers, law-enforcers, godlike, while we are reduced to sinners. This gives them every advantage, especially political, against the people and allows them total subjugation of us.

    4. By reducing us to criminals or near-criminals, it also serves to perpetuate and increase the FEAR of the LEEgime and gives them the right to do anything they want against us, in total impunity. It also throws the entire balance, if there ever was, between us the electorate against them the ‘public servants’ or ‘servants of the people’ ha, ha. This tactic, dating from the LEEgime of the 1950s, totally puts them as Masters while we become Subjects, much like the Queen was absolute ruler against her colonial subjects. Thus, the LEEgime are really colonial masters and we, colonial subjects. Criminalising us and our acts reinforce this Mastery. Justifies every abuse of power, which is evident daily in myriads of ways.

    5. Simply, if your opponent is a ‘criminal’, whether proven or unproven is unimportant, since they possess the entire media and gossip circles and even the courts and police, they can do anything to you and your family, even criminal attacks using state resources of money, equipment, manpower, etc. It is total control, absolute power as never seen in history. LKY is the most powerful man in the entire history of govt. No other ruler had such a complete grasp of power and the entire machinery of govt and society and institutions.

    6. This tactic explains why there are so many laws and fines for even seemingly ridiculous reasons like not flushing a toilet. LKY sees himself as a Moses, lawgiver and enforcer and we as potential criminals who, withhout his laws and controls, would fall into lives of crime, ha, ha. Thus, gays are also criminalsed, along with the taxi driver in the above article and just about everybody. Bloggers are especially singled out for criminalising. We bloggers have the temerity to criticise Moses, God Almightly Himself. Question His policies and even godlike speeches and pronouncements! Thus, laws against blogging and other online activities will continue to make us criminals and lawbreakers. Defamation ‘laws’ as defined and enforced by LKY judges also serve this control tactic of criminalising critics and opponents.

    7. It is this deepseated attitude, tactic, that Mr Gerald GIAM has exposed and I thank him for thus allowing me the opportunity to insight further into the issue. Not that LKY or his minions UNDERSTAND all this. Humans are cursed/blessed with the inability to see themselves with any clarity, necessary for the psychological preservation of over-flattering self-image and personality and ability to conduct ourselves selfishly to gain every advantage in daily living. Too much introspection and intellectual honesty would question our own motives and actions and thus reduce our understanding and knowledge of our own failings, hypocrisies and self-deceptions. Few humans know themselves or why they do what they do. Almost all are ‘blessed’ with self-delusionary self-images that allow them to hold themselves high among their community as ‘junzi’ when they are actually true CRIMINALS.

    8. Thus, the criminals are not us. It is them.

  2. idle mind said

    how about we form an informal circle to pass around contacts of cabbies who are willing to forgo the surcharge and use their services???

    darn ridiculous to get ripped off and penalised for wanting to charge less just to make a decent living!!!

  3. idle mind said

    another idea just came to my idle mind, how about we print ‘no 35% surcharge’ and use this to flag taxis during peak hours? what’d u think fellow users?

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