A SBS Transit took a different turn, as instructed by SBS Transit HQ, and got lost in the process. When passengers offered to advise the Bus Captain, the Bus Captain highlighted that he should follow instructions from HQ. As s a result, passengers affected were stuck in the bus for 2 hours.

While many Singaporeans pinpointed the fact that it was a Foreign Talent PRC behind the wheel, the whole incident reminded me of the No U-Turn Syndrome, or NUTS, as coined by Singapore's entrepreneur and founder of Creative, Mr Sim Won Hoo.

From Wikipedia,

No U-Turn Syndrome (NUTS) is a term first coined by Singaporean entrepreneur Sim Wong Hoo, to prominently describe the social behaviour of Singaporeans having a mindset of compliance to higher authorities before proceeding with any action.
In his book Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millennium, he uses a comparison of traffic rules in Singapore to those found overseas, to describe the phenomenon : In Singapore, drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn unless a sign specifically allows them to do so, while in some other countries drivers may make U-turns freely so long as the 'No U-turn' sign is not present. Following that, this analogy is used to explain the red tape he has encountered with hard-nosed bureaucrats, which in turn stifles the very creativity that the Singaporean government has been trying to promote in the recent years.[1]
NUTS is also considered as one of the major criticisms of the rigid Singapore education system, where students are taught from a young age to obey instructions in an unquestioning manner, in a society where grades and paper certification are emphasised at the expense of some life skills.[2][3]

I believe that the Bus Captain might have be cautioned before for not following instructions from HQ. He could possibly have heard of fellow Bus Captains being cautioned for not following HQ instructions.

So if this Bus Captain had listened to the passenger, his fear was that SBS Transit HQ would have cautioned him for not following instructions.

By following instructions, the Bus Captain would then put the blame on SBS Transit HQ for giving him the wrong instructions.

It is incidents like this that shows how inflexible Singapore management are taught when Murphy strikes with a law of nature that no one can control.

We don't reward initiative, instead we punish them for going against the book.

Image from mrbrown.com

Maybe SBS Transit should also follow this recent Singapore Armed Forces advertising tagline that Bus Captains, and even passengers, are potential leaders.


  1. Anonymous  

    December 12, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    True that! Stop being NUTS and start switching on your brain!!

  2. Anonymous  

    December 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Captain? Worse than recruit.

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