A while back, there was a piece of news about a graffiti artist successfully vandalizing a train in Singapore, without being noticed. We applaud the dude and also find it unbelievable how a vigilant city as Singapore could have let that go. What about the security? It is shocking when the government has put great amounts into promoting vigilante acts on board public transports, their civil servants are not prime examples.

We are rather disappointed considering we have always thought of our city as unflawed in the vigilante aspect. Not quite true as this case has proven. We think we will be posting on homemade pepper spray soon.

We think a lot of people are taking things for granted, especially people in the security, vigilante positions. Whatever happened that time when Mas Selamat escaped? They might think of this city as a safe haven for most, then thus their jobs do not require much. They mentioned they thought the graffiti was part of an ad campaign. Well, aren't their jobs suppose to spot what the difference is in the picture? X-day, nothing wrong at work, nothing out of the norm, no media people going to stick any vinyl today or tonight, knock off from work, eat, sleep. Y-day, they wake and go to work, oh look, decorated train, nothing wrong. Maybe we speak so freely about it as we are in the creative industry and can spot whats sprayed and whats printed. But serious? Isn't that common sense? Is it really true that people in general cannot tell a sticker from spray paint? Watch the video embedded below. The graffiti only covered a part of the train. So, tell us if that is typical of an ad campaign.

So, OK, given the benefit of doubt, the staff really do not know or are not usually informed about the media placement and such, or that they are simply really really clueless. What about the security videos at the train depot at night? No one watches it? So, does it mean someone can plant a bomb under a train and it will only be watched days after the train is being blown up? Or did the security staff decide to take a break for a quick char kway teow in the middle of the night? Well, duh! Think again! Or is it that the government is hiring brawls over brains? Anyway, cannot wait for the canning of the vandal to take place. We are not being sadistic. But, if he knew it, he deserves it. This isn't about him getting caned or not. It is about a bigger issue of hiring the right people for the job.

This is the news article:

An MRT train parked in a sprawling Changi depot last month was hit with garish graffiti in what constitutes a serious security breach in a restricted area. The Straits Times reports that the vandal is believed to have sneaked into the depot by overcoming a series of barriers, including fences topped with barbed wire. Once inside, he spray-painted elaborate graffiti on one side of the train across a carriage. The culprit is believed to be a 33-year-old Swiss national who cut his way through a fence along Xilin Avenue.

He spent several minutes spraying the graffiti before slipping off undetected. He was eventually arrested about a week after the incident was first reported to the police on May 19. It is not known if MRT staff spotted the graffiti-painted train, but it plied its route for some time in full view of commuters on the day of the incident.

One commuter even recorded video footage of the train pulling out of Kembangan station and posted it on Youtube. The practice of spraying trains can be traced to New York in the 1970s, when modern graffiti artists broke into subway yards to “hit trains”, usually on the sides of the cars.

Vandalism aside, the issue has raised serious concerns about security in a restricted area. This is especially so in light of recent reports that Orchard MRT station was a target for terrorist attacks.
The station was circled on a map of the Singapore MRT network that was found in the home of an Indonesian terror suspect who had been killed by security forces.

Dr John Harrison, a specialist in terrorism research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the incident served as an important wake-up call to review existing security systems.
“It could have been a (potentially) very serious situation. An individual with knowledge of the system and intent to disrupt or damage it could do much, much worse,” he adds.

Singapore authorities have stepped up security on public transport networks in recent years. More cameras and are going up at bus interchanges and train stations and videos urging commuters to report suspicious items have also been screened. Last August, a new police department was set up to secure Singapore’s public transport network against criminals and terrorists.

And yet, the breach of security at Changi depot definitely raises questions about the level of security in Singapore’s public transport system and how vulnerable we might be to a potential threat. 26-year-old Samuel Lee told Yahoo! Singapore, “If even an amateur graffiti vandal could break through security barriers at the depot, it’s definitely going to be a piece of cake for someone planning an attack.”

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