Critical Reflection

‘Effective Communications again!’, I grumbled. Ever since I took a similar module in Polytechnic I never really like doing effective communications. It’s just plain boring and dry but my perspective was wrong. I could still recall, on the very first lesson when Brad wanted us to address him as Brad instead or Prof and immediately form us into a group to do some question and answer session, I knew this module was going to be different from the one I did before and yes, I was right. Effective communications under Brad’s guidance was very engaging and I had picked up a lot of knowledge from him which I will share in this post.

Reader response and Summary writing was the first assignment that we had to complete. Initially, it seems like a simple assignment but as I was doing it, I came to realize that there were different aspects of readers response and summary writing that I need to consider. Back in my secondary school days, writing a summary simply means to write a brief description of the information. However, now I learned, before writing reader response and summary I must first annotate the information, highlight critical information, paraphrase it and lastly providing a strong thesis statement. Through the instructional units and links from Symbaloo provided I have been able to manage and learn how to write a proper readers response and summary writing.  On top of that, I was introduced to the various referencing format such as APA and IEE style format.

However, the key takeaway from this module would be the last assignment. My team and I had to come out with an engineering problem and proposed a solution to the problem. The assignment consists of preparing a technical report as well as a formal presentation. We choose to implement iStepUp, a mechanism which improves the accessibility of the elderly or a wheelchair bound person negotiating in and out of their house. It felt like it was just yesterday that we had our first discussion on the different topic we would like to work on. After ample of meet ups and walking on ground surveying house owners, elderly and wheelchair bound person we gain valuable yet emotional experience. Bottom-line, I am very grateful and thankful to be part of Team Train! Thank you FAZIRA and MINGKANG for the great job done!

In conclusion, I truly did enjoy this module. As a saying goes “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”, I hope that I can apply the knowledge I’ve acquired from this module and apply it in the future to come.

HASTA LA VISTA!

Commented on the following blogs:

Mingkang  – 9th December 2016

AbiAli – 9th December 2016

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Analytical Reflection

D-day! I could still recall how nervous I was that very morning. It was Team Trains’s turn to present its idea and evaluation of its iStepUp proposal. Finally, after days of  practicing, I thought I should give my best and engage every audience in the room.

D-2! Team Train’s gather and rehearse for the presentation numerous times. Our purpose was to ensure everyone was confident of themselves and along the way highlight and correct each other weakness. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to rehearse as I thought presenting  and evaluating of ideas would be as easy as teaching small kids in a junior school. During the rehearsal, I realize that I tend to add unnecessary fillers and stutter  quite a lot when I realize my teammates were looking or staring at me. My teammates were very kind with their encouragement to ensure I have a smooth presentation on D-Day!

Finally, the presentation was about to begin. Looking at the audience anticipating for the team to present,  my nervousness decided to take its toll and throughout the presentation, although I knew what I have to present, I stutter for quite a lot and rely on the slides for ideas on what I should present. This was definitely one of the things I was very disappointed about as I was very well prepared that very morning.

Looking on the bright side, I believe the presentation was easily understood and presented in a coherent manner. The audience understood the problem that was faced and why the team decided to propose a better solution to tackle the issue. The pictures and diagram used in the slides were very catchy and helps to the understanding of what I was trying to relay to the audience.

Right after the presentation, a few things start to hit me, I felt I could have done better if I would not have rush myself trying to finish off the part that I would like to present. Also having a clear mind would definitely add to the smooth sailing of the presentation.

In all, after the presentation, I realize that I could take away a lot of key points from my fellow classmate who did very well in their presentation. They were relatively calm and confident in engaging the audience. By doing so I believe, with the aide of my pictures and diagram my audience could have better understand what I was trying to convey. I also need to realize that different types of crowds can affect me both positively and negatively. Now that I know my weaknesses, in future I should have better control of my feelings, clear my mind and just focus on ensuring that my audience understands my presentation. To end my reflection, I would like to tell myself that IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO IMPROVE YOURSELF!

Commented on the following blogs:

Akmal – 9th December 2016

Ahmad – 9th December 2016

Problem and Purpose Statements

Problem Statement:
At present, numerous blocks of older flats have a three-step stairway at the unit’s door. Majority of the residents in these buildings are the elderly and the stairway would pose an issue for their mobility. Wheelchair-bound residents will have difficulty as well. More can be done on the current design of the stairway to facilitate their convenience.

Purpose Statement:
The aim of this report is to propose to the Housing Development Board (HDB) the use of a mechanical hydraulic ramp which converts a three-step stairway into a ramp under the weight of the user. This two-in-one concept not only saves space but also retains the original integrity of the infrastructure.

Draft 3 (Summary + Reader Response)

TRAINS ON THE NORTH-SOUTH AND EAST-WEST LINES SAFE FOR SERVICE

In the news release made by Land Transport Authority (LTA) entitled “Trains on the North-South and East-West Lines Safe for Service” (2016), LTA revealed that despite the ongoing effort to rectify faulty trains, trains on both lines are safe for operations. The 35 trains supplied by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang in 2009 had gone through rigorous testing and problems arose during the testing period has been rectified. However, in 2013 LTA discovered hairline cracks on 26 of the trains. After rigorous assessment by LTA, the cracks, which were caused by an impurity in the car-body bolster [1] material, were found to not have any impact on the operational safety of the trains. An “independent third-party assessor, TUV Rheinland,” agreed (Land Transport Authority, 2016). LTA then decided that the most practical way to rectify the defect was by substituting the whole “car-body shell” (Land Transport Authority, 2016). The affected trains were shipped back to their manufacturer for repair works in stages. LTA and TUV Rheinland will conduct a continual inspection to ensure all trains are safe for operation in accordance with the guideline.

However, the news release fails to inform the public the reason to why LTA and the relevant authorities choose to make the matter not known to the public which was later “mis-spun into a controversy”.

Firstly, LTA treats any issues or problem pertaining to the operational safety of the trains are taken into serious consideration and no room for lapses is allowed. Right from the initial stages, LTA and the relevant parties took swift action in eliminating problems and preventing it from recurring. Nevertheless, the crack issue became talking point after Hong Kong news agency FactWire decided to reveal the defects in 2016. This issue was never made known publicly since it was first detected in 2013 because “those trains could withstand the stress of more than three times the operational experience” and did not pose a safety risk said transport minister, Khaw Boon Wan (2016). Even so many weren’t convinced as some hairline cracks can indeed spread and cause safety concerns. Perhaps that was why LTA chose not to announce the discovery of the cracks.

In a news released by TodaysOnline, Khaw Boon Wan (2016) also mentioned that the crack issue was a platform used by some factions to address their anti-China political agenda and “unfortunately we become a convenient bullet and collateral damage”. That being said, he reaffirms to the public that the crack issue will be addressed accordingly. LTA put relevant parties to task and ensure that the rectification process was handled in the most effective and efficient manner without affecting the capacity of the daily operations. Therefore, LTA decided to treat it as a “routine matter” rather than causing an unnecessary panic among the commuters.

In conclusion, I can understand why LTA choose to keep the matter from public at that time as one had to weigh the downside of coming up with much ado about nothing. Furthermore, LTA had sufficient trains to meet its daily commuter demand. I strongly believe this incident shall be a key lesson for all parties involved to be transparent, accountable and upfront as early as possible in future to prevent similar controversy.

Summary + Readers Response Draft2

TRAINS ON THE NORTH-SOUTH AND EAST-WEST LINES SAFE FOR SERVICE

According to the news release made by Land Transport Authority (LTA) titled “Trains on the North-South and East-West Lines Safe for Service” (2016), LTA revealed that despite the ongoing effort to rectify faulty trains, trains on both lines are safe for operations . The 35 trains supplied by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang in 2009 have gone through rigorous testing and problems arise during the testing period have been rectified. However, in 2013 LTA discovered hairline cracks on 26 of the trains. After thorough assessment by LTA and a third-party assessor, the hairline cracks which were caused by the impurity in the car-body bolster [1] material will not have any impact on the operational safety of the trains. LTA decided to rectify the defect by substituting the whole “car-body shell”. The affected trains are being shipped back to their manufacturer for repair works in stages. LTA and contractors will conduct continual inspection to ensure all trains are safe for operation in accordance with the guideline. As thousands of commuters’ travels by train daily, LTA and the relevant parties should have taken no risk in making sure the operations of the trains run smoothly and safely. However, LTA’s decision to keep the issue from the public before it was “mis-spun into a controversy” is a detrimental one.

The news released by LTA suggests that any issues or problem pertaining to the operational safety of the trains are taken into serious consideration and no room for lapses is allowed. Right from the initial stages, LTA and the relevant parties took swift action in eliminating problems and preventing it from recurring. Nevertheless, the crack issue became talking point after Hong Kong news agency FactWire decided to reveal the defects in 2016. This issue was never made known publicly since it was first detected in 2013 because “those trains could withstand stress of more than three times the operational experience” and did not pose a safety risk said transport minister Khaw Boon Wan (2016). Even so many weren’t convinced as some hairline cracks can indeed spread and cause safety concerns. But it really depends on a whole host of factor. Perhaps that was why LTA chose not to announce the discovery of the cracks.

In another news released written by TodaysOnline, Khaw Boon Wan (2016) also mentioned that the crack issue was a platform used by some factions to address their anti-China political agenda and “unfortunately we become a convenient bullet and collateral damage”. That being said, he reaffirms the public this issues will be address accordingly. LTA put relevant parties to task and ensure that the rectification process was handled in the most effective and efficient manner without affecting the capacity of the daily operations. Therefore, LTA decided to treat it as a “routine matter” rather than causing a unnecessary panic among the commuters.

In conclusion, I can understand why LTA decision to keep the matter from public at that time as one has to weigh the downside of coming up with much ado about nothing. Furthermore, LTA had sufficient trains to meet its daily commuter demand. I strongly believe this incident shall be a key lesson for all parties involved to be transparent, accountable and upfront as early as possible in future to prevent similar controversy. 

_______________________________________

[1] A car-body bolster is a rectangular aluminum alloy structure measuring 2800mm (length) and 750mm (breadth) and 170mm (thick). It is the support for the car-body to rest on the bogie of the train.

Reference:

Cracks on MRT trains: Khaw addresses key issues raised. (2016, August 16). Retrieved September 24, 2016, fromhttp://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/cracks-on-mrt-trains-khaw-addresses-key-issues-raised

Spykerman, K. (2016, August 16). Lessons to be learnt from defective SMRT trains incident: Khaw. Retrieved September 24, 2016, fromhttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lessons-to-be-learnt-from/3048928.html

Lim, K. (2016, July 5). Defects on SMRT trains ‘not safety-critical’, to be repaired by manufacturer: LTA. Retrieved September 24, 2016, fromhttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/defects-on-smrt-trains/2931802.html

Koh. (2016, July 16). Train cracks: Routine matter spun into controversy, says Khaw. Retrieved September 24, 2016, fromhttp://m.todayonline.com/singapore/cracks-train-routine-matter-can-be-misspun-controversy-says-khaw

Summary + Readers Response Draft1

TRAINS ON THE NORTH-SOUTH AND EAST-WEST LINES SAFE FOR SERVICE

In the article “Trains on the North-South and East-West Lines Safe for Service” (2016) from The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) website, LTA announced that trains on both lines are safe for operations. The 35 trains supplied by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang in 2009 have gone through rigorous testing and problems detected during testing period have been rectified to prevent recurrence. However, in 2013 LTA discovered hairline cracks on 26 of the trains. After rigorous assessment by LTA and a third-party assessor, the cracks which were caused by the impurity in the car-body bolster [1] material will not have any impact on the operational safety of the trains. LTA decided to rectify the defect by substituting the whole “car-body shell”. Thus, the affected trains are being shipped back to their manufacturer for repair works in stages. LTA and contractors will conduct continual inspection to ensure all trains are safe for operation in accordance with the guideline. As thousands of commuters’ travels using the train daily, LTA and the relevant parties should have taken no risk in making sure the operations of the train run smoothly and importantly safely. However, LTA decision to keep the issues from the public before it was “mis-spun into a controversy” is a detrimental one.

The article suggests that any issues or problem pertaining to the operational safety of the trains are taken into serious consideration and no room for lapses is allowed. Right from the initial stages, LTA and the relevant parties took swift action in eliminating problems and preventing it from recurring. Hence, when the cracks were detected LTA put the relevant party to task in ensuring the issue was handled in the most effective and efficient manner. However, this issue was never made known to public initially as “those trains could withstand stress of more than three times the operational experience” without affecting the safety limits according to an article addressed by Khaw Boon Wan (2016).

Having said that, LTA and parties involved has always been determined to resolve any issues that occurred and concurrently assuring its commuters that all trains are safe for operations. Nevertheless, the crack issue became a media spotlight after a Hong Kong news agency FactWire decided to reveal the defects. Later, in an article written by TodaysOnline, Khaw Boon Wan (2016) mentioned that the crack issue was a platform used by some factions to address their anti-China political agenda and “unfortunately we become a convenient bullet and collateral damage”. Having say that, he affirms the public that the issues will be address and LTA have keep the public well updated and informed on measures that have been taken.

To conclude, the articles achieved to highlight LTA’s commitment to ensure that any faults or issues arise will be rectified promptly. It has taken measures to boost commuters’ confidence of the train service by ensuring that all trains are well maintained and meet the safety guideline before put to operations. Lastly, this incident shall be a key lesson for all parties involved to be transparent and accountable and at the same time keep the public informed when similar incident were to happen again.

_______________________________________

[1] A car-body bolster is a rectangular aluminum alloy structure measuring 2800mm (length) and 750mm (breadth) and 170mm (thick). It is the support for the car-body to rest on the bogie of the train.

Reference:

Cracks on MRT trains: Khaw addresses key issues raised. (2016, August 16). Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/cracks-on-mrt-trains-khaw-addresses-key-issues-raised

Spykerman, K. (2016, August 16). Lessons to be learnt from defective SMRT trains incident: Khaw. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lessons-to-be-learnt-from/3048928.html

Lim, K. (2016, July 5). Defects on SMRT trains ‘not safety-critical’, to be repaired by manufacturer: LTA. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/defects-on-smrt-trains/2931802.html

Koh. (2016, July 16). Train cracks: Routine matter spun into controversy, says Khaw. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://m.todayonline.com/singapore/cracks-train-routine-matter-can-be-misspun-controversy-says-khaw