Friday, July 5, 2019

Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter to The Straits Times: The harsher the punishment, the less chance of rehabilitation

My press letter to The Straits Times is published today, Friday 5th July 2019

Forum contributor Osman Sidek has rightly pointed out that it is not wise to shame radicals or terrorists (Shaming may hurt efforts to rehabilitate radicals, July 2).

People who move in this direction are most likely disgruntled and dissatisfied, and mistakenly view the world as being unfair. They need in-depth counselling and have to be closely monitored to prevent them from re-offending.

We cannot be judgmental and humiliate them by publishing their photographs as this would only deepen the hatred in them and make them bitter.

We also have to be sensitive to the feelings of their relatives. Must they be "punished" in the process?

Everyone who has made a wrong turn in life, including prisoners and radicals, needs a second chance in life. Isn't that the objective of the Yellow Ribbon Project?

Radicals or prisoners must be open to entertaining the possibility that they may be wrong and be open to learning from the experience of others. That said, can we not find some kindness in our hearts to work towards rehabilitation instead of wanting to punish wrongdoers all the time?

Let's be mindful that the harsher the conditions, the less chance of rehabilitation.

Raymond Anthony Fernando





Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Raymond ‘s letter to the press: Town councils should be more flexible in helping seniors fix faults inside flats

My letter on the above matter was published in Mediacorp’s Today newspaper on Tuesday 28th May 2019

To have peace of mind and a good quality of life, we need to live in a safe environment.

There are valid concerns over the use of electric scooters, for instance. These vehicles have endangered the lives of many Singaporeans, especially elders who are less mobile.

As Singapore’s population greys, policies that do not support a safe and healthy environment must be relooked and adapted to deal with shifting trends.

At present, during power failures, town councils can attend to and rectify power trips only if they happen outside an owner’s flat. They do not deal with power faults inside flats.

I live along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 and the town council confirmed this practice to me when I experienced a two-hour power failure last month.

The town council advised me to hire a contractor.  

Elderly persons with mobility problems find it difficult to reach the circuit breaker, which is rather high. It was not installed at eye level.

Moreover, I live alone, have arthritis, and am weak in my hands and legs. So I am wary about meddling with electrical parts.

What if I fall?

The town councils must exercise flexibility when it comes to the needs of elders, many of whom are also unemployed.

With the Government rolling out schemes for our elderly, I urge the authorities and town councils to review this policy to support the needs of our seniors.





Monday, April 29, 2019

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times forum page: Reward food deliverymen with good safety record

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Monday 29th April 2019.


Neo Poh Goon concerns regarding food delivery companies are valid (Food delivery firms need to keep tight rein on deliverymen, April 24).


There are far too many accidents on our roads and also on the pavements. 


I, too, have had my fair share of scary encounters with speeding delivery riders whizzing past, blatantly disregarding the safety of pedestrians. 


Are they to be blamed? 


Deliverymen are paid a commission based on the number of deliveries they make. It is the same with tipper trucks and lorry drivers, who deliver material to construction sites and are paid based on the number of trips.


Such schemes only encourages deliverymen to speed and disregard traffic rules.


Perhaps the food delivery companies could learn from public bus operators.


They have an incentive programme in place which awards a special bonus to those who meet a certain criteria, including maintaining a good safety record and having zero complaints made against them. Feedback from passengers on good service are also factored in.


Besides ensuring that their food deliverymen comply with traffic rules, food delivery companies could perhaps provide similar incentives for their staff.


Raymond Anthony Fernando



Monday, April 22, 2019

Raymond's Letter to The Straits Times: Provide refund for recycled bottles and cans

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Monday 22nd April 2019

Recycling is vital, as waste material has a negative impact on the environment, and undoubtedly reduces the risks of pollution, which can endanger lives.

When consumers purchase bottled or canned drinks or food items, biscuits and chocolates, they are paying for the container as well.

So why not have automated machines to refund the consumer the cost of the bottle or can whenever they return the used container? For example, if a can of Coke Zero costs $1.50, 10 cents can be refunded for a returned used can.


In some Western countries, like Germany and America, providing such refunds has encouraged citizens to recycle.

Recycling programmes can also help the needy. In Taiwan, for instance, Buddhist charity Tzu Chi Foundation provides free meals to the mentally ill and encourages them to collect used items such as bottles and cans and place them in allocated recycling bins.

Providing incentives to encourage people to recycle is good, as paying it forward helps to build a far better society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The power of LOVE- AWESOME Twin Girls"- a true story

Twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were born 12 weeks ahead of their due date.

Needing intensive care, they were placed in separate incubators.

Kyrie began to gain weight and her health stabilised. But Brielle, born only 2 pounds, had trouble breathing, heart problems and other complications. She was not expected to live.

Their nurse did everything she could to make Brielle's health better, but nothing she did was helping her.

With nothing else to do, their nurse went against hospital policy and decided to place both babies in the same incubator. She left the twin girls to sleep and when she returned she found a sight she could not believe.

She called all the nurses and doctors and this is what they saw. As Brielle got closer to her sister, Kyrie put her small little arm around her, as if to hug and support her sister.

From that moment on, Brielle's breathing and heart rate stabilised and her health became normal. It goes to show that a little bit of tender love and affection can save someone's life.

Three virtues stand out clearly in this amazing story: The power of Agape Love, the act of kindness and lots of compassion.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

When the pen is mightier than the sword

I have always preferred working on my own and behind the scenes rather than working for people. I thrive on wanting to be different. I wanted independence. I am fascinated by the unknowable mysteries and of the plight of people with disabilities.

In being a ‘voice’ for persons suffering from mental illness for more than 10 years, I hope to bring a better tomorrow for these lone sufferers.

I fervently believe that the pen is than the sword and the most effective way to create awareness of any issue is to express my feelings through writing and speaking. This trait of daring to do what is necessary even though it does not please everyone is what has enabled me to care for my late wife for 40 years.

I always encourage people going through challenges in life to write their own stories, because every one of us has a book or two inside of us.
You know, work is so bad that they have to pay people to do it. When my friends complain to me about the long hours they have to put in at work, how they feel unappreciated by their bosses or are worried sick over being sidelined or worse still being retrenched, I tell them to find “pipelines”.
These pipelines are from the skills that they have acquired during the course of their work or by their own creativity. I have managed to find my own pipelines through writing and public speaking. When I had a full-time job, I used to write poems and send it out to my colleagues during festive seasons or when they celebrate their special days. My poems were well received by the staff, and that inspired me to consider publishing my works someday.

At the workplace, build healthy relationships, learn new skills, give suggestions and contribute as useful citizens. Once this is achieved, payment becomes the ‘icing on the cake.’

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Bus operators need to be mindful on the safety of elderly bus passengers

10th March 2019


Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

Acting Minister of Transport


Dear Dr Vivian Balakrishnan,

Many of elderly bus passengers are struggling to cope with mobility problems, and fair number of these seniors use quad sticks to aid them in walking and climbing up staircases and buses. These citizens are mostly in the lower income bracket and thus can’t afford to take taxis.

While it is commendable that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is planning to build bigger bus seats and have apps to allow passengers to be kept informed of bus arrivals to improve bus journeys, the number 1 priority should be the safety of passengers – especially our elderly commuters.

Yesterday, Saturday 9th March 2019, while travelling on Transland Bus service 855 at around 7.30pm, an elderly lady neighbour of mine who lives on the 7th floor of my block had so much difficulty getting down the bus as the bus captain did not stop at the bus stop nearer the kerb opposite the condominium at Calrose Garden in Yio Chu Kang Road, near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.

Frightened, she sat on the last step of the bus staircase and gradually move out of the bus, with many commuters shaking their heads in disappointment.

This issue of bus captains refusing to stop near the kerbs has been raised a few times by forum letter writers to the press, and I was one of them.

You cannot expect seniors with mobility problems to jump or leap frog from the bus as they will end up in hospital, and add to the already loaded wards.

Health Minister rightly pointed out that the rate of growth in health care spending is unsustainable and that the most effective way to keep healthcare affordable is for everyone to stay healthy.

But how can our seniors stay healthy when bus operators disregard the safety of this group of bus passengers?

There are endless road accidents on the road leaving the injured landing in hospitals or in the worst-case scenario, they die.

Motorists at the venue I mentioned are driving at break-neck speed despite advisory signs telling them to slow down. This blatant disregard for human life needs strict surveillance and enforcement and the LTA should check on this to save lives.

Compared to other countries, like the Philippines or Thailand, our public transport system is pretty good, but we can always work towards further improvements.   

That said, I must highlight that some bus captains show much care and concern to our seniors; one of whom is Senior Bus Captain Low Kok Sun, a Malaysian, who drives SBS Transit service 163. He will wait patiently for elderly citizens when he sees them from afar and will always stops very close to the kerb.

Another Senior Malay driver, a Singaporean whose name I have not secured provides the same level of ‘customer delight service’   These bus captains can be mentors to the drivers who are ‘not in tune’ with elderly issues.

At the end of the day, the government must not only welcome feedback before it escalates into complaints and encourage government agencies to have better collaborations; who in this case are the Ministry of Transport, LTA and MOH.

I appreciate a reply from you, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan given that you are the Acting Minister of Transport.


Thank you and have a nice day.



Raymond Anthony Fernando

Raymond A Fernando

8:45 AM (2 hours ago)
to v.bala, Baey_Yam_Keng, gan_kim_yong, amy_khor, lee_hsien_loong, goh_chok_tong, edwin_tong

Since I wrote to you 11 days   ago, I have not yet received a reply. Despite your busy schedule, Dr Vivian, it’s I trust you can at least let me have an interim reply coz I’m unclear if you have indeed received my feedback.  Hence, my 2nd email. It is important to keep the communication lines open so that we know that our feedback is taken seriously.

I look forward to you support.


Thank you.



Raymond Anthony Fernando

Just got a reply from Dr Vivian Balakrishan , MFA Minister & Acting Transport Minister on my report on the safety of elderly citizens who are falling down from buses as the drivers do not stop near the kerb.
"Dear Mr Fernando,
I am sorry I did not get your earlier email. Totally agree that bus operators need to be mindful of the safety of senior citizen passengers.I will request LTA to investigate and keep us all informed.
Best wishes for your health.

Dated:  Friday 22nd March 2019

Reply from LTA:
Dear Mr Raymond Anthony Fernando

Bus operators need to be mindful on the safety of elderly bus passengers_EM/19/Mar/00794
FEEDBACK NUMBER: 20190322-0256

We received your email of 22 March 2019.

We would like to thank you for sharing your observations with us on your bus journey.

We wish to share that bus operational matters are managed by the bus operators and we will constantly remind the operators to speak to their bus captains to improve bus operations.

Regarding your feedback that the bus captain of Service 855 did not stop at the bus stop nearer the kerb the condominium at Calrose Garden in Yio Chu Kang Road, near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, we have shared it with SMRT for their review. However, we did not share your contact details with them. Should you wish to follow up on this matter, you may contact them at

For your compliment to the bus captain of Service 163, we have helped to convey your kind words to SBS Transit (SBST). Your compliment will be a great encouragement for our operators in their continuous journey towards service excellence. Should you wish to contact SBST directly, you may email to them at

As driving behaviour matters (such as speeding) are regulated by the Traffic Police (TP) under the Singapore Police Force (SPF), by copy of this email, we are sharing your feedback with TP for their advice to you on the appropriate action(s) to be taken. Should you require assistance from TP, you can write in directly to them at

Thank you for writing in and wish you a pleasant day ahead.

Yours sincerely

Winnie Wong (Ms)
Assistant Manager
Service Quality Division