Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How we can improve evacuation and rescue during plane crash

It is sad to follow the news regarding retrieval of bodies, wreckage, and personal possession of ill fated Asia Asia flight QZ8501. The location of the crash site took more than 2 days to accomplish, mainly due to the lack of real-time tracking of airline flights and in my opinion, tracking of evacuees. Two days in the open sea is not conducive to survival chance!

In my opinion, the current evacuation and safety measures implemented on air travel is poor and insufficiently practical (in short, IMPRACTICAL). If you are a flyer, you would have been exposed to this safety card on-board the plane. For most people like me (e.g. cautious type who will read safety diligently), we are only theoretically wise in terms of aircraft evacuation and handling life-jacket. But truthfully, I am a fool in the practical aspect, especially when I have not seen the life-jackets and just took the words of flight attendants about them stored under the seats.

To open the emergency exit for evacuation, I only can hope that someone will be able to work with that come crucial moment because I don't know how to do that. Fortunately, I think it won't be difficult especially considering that first-timer Chinese passenger on-board Xiamen Air could open it for fresh air.

Now, if we are lucky and the plane landed on water, what is expected of the evacuation procedure? From the safety card, there are several things that can happen.
  1. Prior to impact, the plane could lose cabin pressure (air is too thin that oxygen will be depleted), and if that happens, oxygen mask will be dropped from the upper compartment. Use it on yourself before attempting to help others because losing consciousness while helping the next person will be useless.
  2. If there is time, wear the life-jacket. Hopefully they are not nicely wrapped in plastic wrapper or else you will have to tear them with your nail and teeth (while cursing the safety officer for the oversight)
  3. Brace yourself for impact by holding onto something (e.g. the seat in front) and lowering your head and body. This will ensure no flying debris hits you upon impact.
  4. While wearing the life-jacket, you should proceed to the nearest emergency exits calmly (but I don't think it will be calm). Wait for someone to work on the emergency exit (or be proactive) so that an inflatable slide-cum-raft will be dispensed. Slide down in an ordered fashion (while giving priority to the needy).
  5. This is the time to inflate your life-jacket now. 
  6. The slide will be your raft (I have no idea how it works, see how dumb I am with just theoretical knowledge), so hold on to it and try to climb up. 
  7. Wait for rescue.
 The above "expected evacuation procedure" is ideal in an ideal situation. Now, what the aviation and safety authorities need to ensure in reality is the following possibilities (in my opinion).

  1. What happens if the aircraft went tail spun (or spin) and landed upside down on water? Would the "expected" evacuation procedure be applicable then?
  2. Had the aviation industry (and safety authorities) estimated the time it takes for a floating plane in sea water to sink completely? Would the time be sufficient to evacuate everyone? Aren't there any mechanism/technology (that can be implemented) that could inflate parts of the plane to prolong buoyancy time of plane during evacuation?
  3. Considering that the time ( > 2 days) needed to search and rescue (or retrieve) survivors, hadn't the aviation safety authorities came up with a more realistic evacuation kit for air passengers. This is considering that a life-jacket (with light and whistle) is hardly practical to save life (except to serve as a floatation device and attracts sea predators at night). Furthermore, who would want to float under the intense sun, dehydrated, and lost while waiting for either the inevitable or miracle? Hadn't the Asian Tsunami thought us anything, especially what happened to the ones who got swept away in mid-sea waiting for rescue? Dehydration.

 My suggestions to the aviation and safety authorities:
  1. If the plane is lucky to crash on water intact, please have a mechanism to increase buoyancy of the aircraft so that there is sufficient time to evacuate all passengers.
  2. Life-jacket (with whistle and light) is alright, but to have a manual water filtration system (those used by the army but with special filter to cutoff salinity) attached to the life jacket will be a blessing especially when dehydration will more likely kill evacuees faster than anything.
  3. If you are going to provide the incidental (or accidental) inflatable slide-turn-raft, at least provide several floating (or attached) packages containing potable water bottles for evacuees. No food is okay but please let there be water (no pun intended).
  4. Please oh please, provide radio transmission devices (aka radio transmitter) for evacuees who are stranded in the open sea. This is the 21st century for goodness sake. Is it really too much the cost to bear for attaching a radio transmitter in life-jackets or rafts for easy search and rescue mission during aviation accidents? If we can tag migratory birds or animals with radio transmitters for easy tracking of these migratory animals in National Geography, surely we can't be too stingy to bear the cost to save lives no? Do note that radio transmitter works better in the open sea than jungle (containing trees blocking the signal). For further information, refer to distress radiobeacon (Wikipedia) and note that the signal can also be used to triangulate the location of the transmitter/evacuee (with detection radius of >10 km for some model.
  5. If it's not too much to ask, attach a water-proof, shock-proof, weather-proof satellite phone to assigned safety officer on-board (could be one of the flight attendants) so that he/she can call for help (or at least inform the authority that there are survivors and so please work your butt faster in the rescue operation rather than retrieval mission). Note that I'm sicked of following news reporting about effort to retrieve the "black box" (or orange box) for investigation. It seemed that "retrieval" is more practical than rescue in air disaster! In addition the satellite phone can be used for locating the caller.
  6. Provide real-time tracking of planes!

  • Implement a more practical evacuation protocol (and mechanism) for aviation accidents or crash.
  • Provide practical survival kit in addition to the life-jacket. A whistle and light at night can attracts sea predators (unless rescue boat can reach survivors/evacuees sooner). Without the crucial water supply, and no means to purify sea water, consuming the sea water will be toxic (Natl Ocean & Atmospheric Administration, NOAA), and survivors will perish before rescue arrives.
  • Provide radiobeacon to life-jackets.
  • Implement real-time tracking of flights.
My condolences to the victims family.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pedophile Old Man jailed 8 years for sexually assaulting girl, 5

Man jailed 8 years for sexually assaulting girl, 5
Chin Wei Foong, 54 doesn't look like an opportunist monster. His outlook betrays his deed. His white hair and age reflects an old and wise man. That is the scariest reality we live in,  i.e. a monster can look so much like us. This old man is fortunate that he has surpassed the age of 50, otherwise he would have gotten the cane (or rotan in Malay). In my opinion, the law should be amended to allow other types of caning to these people. If an old man can commit serious crime,  he should be subjected to similar (or alternative) caning. If the conventional caning at the buttock can't be done,  then he should be caned on the palm. For 1 stroke of the rotan that he misses,  he should be caned an extra 10 to 20 strokes of cane (or rattan) on the palm. The pain he suffered is not even close in comparison to the pain that the little girl suffered,  or mental scar she will have in future. Not to mention the anger and pain the family suffered.

Should we and other family train our children to be less friendly to stranger? Should we start discourage our kids to greet neighbours, uncle, auntie, or Mister on the street? It is people like Chin who are forcing children to "grow up" and be "defensive", while robbed of their innocent good nature. I as a parent have not the heart to do it. I hope people like Chin rot in this life and hell thereafter.

As a side note. Monsters are hard to distinguish. People tend to let look deceive them. Take for example, conmen tend to dress up (and act up) to deceive victims.  There are recent cases mentioned in the news of how certain respected public figures can end up stealing millions of money and still lie about it. How about certain people who seemed like helping the society,  but all he does is complain, complain and complain in public and in blogs (while the real angels are those who committed their time doing voluntary social work helping the less fortunate). The difference between these two types of people is that, while one constantly thrashes the system (without real solution), the other try to find ways around the system that works for the people. The latter people are nobler than the noisy tin can.

Just a thought. 

Shopping mall without benches must have staircase

Some shopping malls are just too cheapskate. They don't provide trash bins and benches (or insufficiently) for visitors. I can only guess that the reason for no trash bin is due to lowering the maintenance cost.

However, I can't think of the reason for not providing benches for visitors to rest within the mall. My guess is as wild as can be, e.g. could it be that more seated visitors would translate to less purchases? Or could the missing benches be motivated by the association that tired visitors tend to patronize eateries, cafes and restaurants in order to rest their tired legs (and hence more businesses)? Or could the missing benches be due to noncompliance to fire safety regulation? What do you think?

Sigh, I pity the visitors who might need benches to rest in these places, e.g. the elderly, expectant moms, and "mobility-challenged" (weight-challenged or wearing medical-cast).

Fortunately, all is not lost though, because visitors can still try to find salvage by locating staircases within the shopping malls. Once found, it will relief your tired legs. Not long ago while I was at a shopping mall, I noticed that some visitors indeed resorted to resting their legs at such places (i.e. staircase). I had done that myself and at the same time I have seen expectant moms with kids doing the same there. There are also the elderly patronizing the free resting "station". Some youngsters got food from stalls inside the mall (those without table and chair type) and just sat there munching away.

This is how sad visitors like us had to bear in shopping malls without (or insufficient) benches.

Just to share.

Lesson from losses of MH370 and QZ8501

Losses of MH370 (MAS airline) and QZ8501 (Air Asia) resulted from different circumstances. However, the outcome were the same, i.e. difficulties in locating the crash site and thus, hampering the search and rescue effort. The problem should have been corrected by requiring real-time monitoring of aircraft after the loss of Air France flight 447 5 years ago (The Independent, 30 Dec 2014). If real-time (or continuous) flight monitoring is made mandatory, could we have prevented 9/11 that destroyed so many lives (inclusive of the war thereafter)?

Technology nowadays is available to do just that, real-time tracking/monitoring of aircraft. For example, A Canadian company, Flyht, sells a system to pinpoint aircrafts by triangulating communication streaming time of "automated flight information reporting system" (AFIRS) transmitted during an emergency to receiving stations. However, I'm not sure if Flyht also cater a real-time system in addition to the AFIRS (for emergencies).

Fig shows how the AFIRS radio signal is "released" upon an emergency and then radiated/transmitted to receiving stations. The time of receipt of these signals at these stations can be used to calculate/triangulate the location of the aircraft. To allow continuous monitoring of aircraft, frequent emission of "AFIRS" should be made instead of only in emergency.

UN Intl Telecomm Union Secretary-General said real-time (or continuous) monitoring/tracking of flights is needed, however Intl Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has not issued any instruction on the matter. It all boils down then to whether it is time for aviation industry to take their own initiatives to implement such system to prevent the recurrent of difficulties in locating their aircraft. Alas, without the involvement (or intervention) of ICAO, the danger of non-standardized tracking system flooding the market will cause more headache later on.

In addition, the cost for implementing and subscribing to such tracking system should be made affordable. The cost should be similar in concept to the cost of generic drug that helps eliminate debilitating/serious diseases. Without reasonable cost/price, I don't think we will see a comprehensive subscription of this much needed real-time tracking system by the aviation industry worldwide.

Just a thought.

P.S. Condolences to the victims' family.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kids playground not a love boat or for heartbreak

Have you been to the playground lately with your loved ones or children? Did your baby boy or girl played with the slide? If your playground is at HDB area, then chances are high that your fortunately yet to be literate child would be exposed to "F*** you" written all over the play area. There are also other angry words such as "B****" and other stronger expression to denounce to the world how unjust and inconsiderate the vandal's partner (e.g. girlfriend or boyfriend) had been and how heartbroken he/she was.

I guess usually it started off with the "Ah Beng Love Ah Lian episode that later unfolded to the first heartbreak, followed by several rounds of reconciliation and separation before the relationship stabilizes or broken forever. However, to involve public property in the process is irresponsible.

First you carve the "A love B forever". Then you scratch it off and replace it with hate message, e.g. "B****, F*** You". Subsequently, you replace the hate message with new "A love B again", then you repeat the process over several rounds... what is wrong with you?

Nowadays, with the advent of internet and blogging, you can easily proclaim your love to the world with clicks rather than to vandalize the innocent playground with your love life.

Be more considerate...

Abolish statutory rape else lock up Lee Sze Kiat

Is this news ("Teenager has sex with minor while on probation for similar offence", The Straits Times 29 Dec 2014) a mockery to statutory rape law? How the heck did Lee Sze Kiat escape jail and whip for having sex with a 16 yo? Would an adult doing the same act be given such leniency? Does it make sense that just because the perpetrator is a minor himself, he is "free" to commit the act? 

In my opinion, the statutory rape law had failed to protect minors and allowed Lee Sze Kiat (16 yo, although technically a minor) to continue being a predatory "rapist". Remind me again please, what is the function of statutory rape law? Lee Sze Kiat was so audacious that he targeted another younger victim (12 yo) during his probation!

I'm dumbfounded. Did the law failed because it is selective? Is it selectively lenient towards minors committing the same/identical act (that would have landed adults in jail or whipping)? If that is the case, statutory rape law is not protecting minor per se. It is rather limited to protecting minors against predatory adults (those over the technical term "minor").

If the law is not selective, why was Lee not being punished similar to how adults would be have been punished, e.g. a jail sentence or whipping? If the court tried to be "rational" by suggesting that a jail sentence would have been inappropriate considering that jailing the minor would surely have destroyed his future and wouldn't have served to correct him (as compared what probation could do), what about the two victims (and probably the unaccounted for or future victims) that got DESTROYED? To save a life that will destroy more lives doesn't make sense. I'm not an economist, but I think the math doesn't add up right in this case. Do you? This is like being "penny wise pound foolish".

Also, if jailing minor destroys his future, wouldn't jailing adults destroy their futures too? If jail is not effective/efficient in correcting a person, why not send all statutory rapists (regardless of technical age) to probation too?
If statutory rape law can be interpreted in many ways (by discretion) to cater for different types of rapists and victims, I don't think this law can completely serve to protect minors from predatory sexual act on them.

Statutory rape law was implemented to protect minors. It is not for minors to commit the act and get away with it. If the law is selective as this Q&A statement from AWARE, it will not do any good to protect minors from predatory rapists (minor or not)

Q & A: "What if both parties are 15 years of age?

Technically, this still constitutes the offence of Statutory Penetration of a Minor under S376A, Penal Code. However, the police, exercising its discretion and taking into account the age of the parties, may not initiate any charges.

We were once (or are now) teenagers and minors too, for those who got educated with sex early knows that sexual urge and thoughts are normal sensation/feeling (i.e. only human). However, what is not normal is what LEE SZE KIAT did to the girls. If he can get away with being irresponsible with his sexual urge (or libido), what is the signal being sent to other minors with equally high sexual urges too? What makes Lee special?

Lee should not be selectively let off (especially after the second act on another victim) while those abstaining the act watch with contempt.

  • Don't be selective in meting out sentencing for statutory rape. It gives wrong signals.
  • Economy of letting off minor rapists is bad. One unrepentant rapist can destroy more lives and families than the court thinks.
  • To have strong libido is normal, but to be a predatory sex fiend who targets multiple minors to satisfy one's sexual urge is not. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

How to report a traffic violation to the police in Singapore

If member of the public wishes to report to the police of a traffic offense or violation that they encountered in Singapore, they can do so by following the minimal requirements stated in the Singapore Traffic Police website. The furnished information is necessary to build a strong case against the traffic offender.

  •  Full registration of the vehicle of which the driver/rider committed the traffic violation/offense (if possible, provide the make and colour of the vehicle).
  • The accurate date, time, and location (precise location would be required, i.e. as how you would provide your location to a tow trunk operator) of the alleged offense.
  •  The circumstances/accounts leading to the alleged offense. If it's a parking offense, I guess you don't have to provide this (but sometimes you have to provide evidence showing that the vehicle was not stalled due to engine failure, e.g. a before and after pics or video showing the offender driving off afterwards, thus suggesting that his vehicle was not defective but rather he/she parked indiscriminately).
  • Confirmation of willingness to testify in court should the offender dispute the alleged offense. This is important should the offender dispute the offenses alleged against him/her. The drawback is that if it was a foreign traveler to Singapore, he/she will be unwilling/unable to testify later. However, if Singapore court allows written- or video-recorded testimony, then justice will not be hampered by technicality.
  • Full particulars of the informant. I guess if you are willing to testify, then you have to provide full particulars of yourself. Definition of full particulars would be your full name, NRIC/passport/ID, address, contact number, and email (the last three items are required for investigation officer to contact you for help).
  • Corroborative evidence. If you have video- or picture- recordings (explicitly showing the alleged offense taking place such as snapshots or a video account; a pic showing the aftermath of the accident is not useful) with correct date and time (remember to set your compact camera with this information; for phone camera, it's already preset ready), independent witness(es) to corroborate your account (if you have a pen and paper, write down the date, time and location, and brief account; then allow the witness to write his/her particulars for your reference; you can then ask the witness to take a pic of the note with his/her phone camera; this is important because the witness might forget important information such as exact date/time/location later). The particulars of the independent witness should at least have name, contact informations (e.g. phone number and email address). Send video evidence to (quote the police report reference number on the email).
 Once the minimal requirement is met, they can approach Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) to submit a police report (form NP299). Alternatively, you can submit an electronic feedback to Singapore electronic Police Centre. The required login information SingPass user ID and password (What about individuals without SingPass?).

Fig shows the login window in the electronic police center.

For your information, the e-feedback is available to report on the following:
  1. GOOD/COURTEOUS road behaviour :D
  2. Feedback on pedestrians'/cyclists' behaviour on Singapore road (or non-designated area such as open mall), 
  3. Parking violation (reporting to LTA; types of illegal parking can be referred to, and 
  4. Traffic violation (on the road)

  • Traffic Police Information Hotline +6565470000 (for non-urgent traffic-related enquiries; available Mon-Fri 0830-1730 and Sat 0830-1300)
  • For Emergencies, call 999