Sunday, September 14, 2008

Village's Valuable Valets eVicted (Letter to Forum)

September 14, 2008

Dear Editor,


The iconic Holland Village faces a car-park space crunch.

This is unfortunate as Holland V, as it is affectionately known, has become something of a tourist attraction boasting a myriad of global cuisines and is popular for its alfresco dining.

For reasons known only to Providence and our omniscient government, the restaurant owners are made to suffer one misfortune after another.

Holland V’s list of misfortunes

First came 9-11 seven years ago when as an anti-terrorist measure, part of the main street was closed to vehicular traffic and car-parking curtailed.

Then came the Circle Line MRT station construction (2004) when much-needed carpark lots disappeared.

Just when the entrepreneurial business owners thought they had found an innovative solution by having valets park their patrons’ cars, the HDB, almost predictably, appeared to shove a spanner in the works.

Valet parking is efficient use of resources

From my personal experience, valet parking is an extremely efficient use of limited resources. All hospitals (private and public), many major eateries and all hotels use them. Valets can squeeze in many more cars into a limited space then ever thought possible. No machines can ever replace the ingenuity of the human brain.

HDB,Consider this win-win solution

HDB, please don’t be silly. Have a heart and please consider the following win-win solution.

1. Proceed with the Electronic Parking system (EPS). With this, there is no question of HDB being deprived of its revenue. Valet parking will be in addition to and not a substitute for payment for carparks.

2. Let the valets continue, but only under close scrutiny. Residents and patrons who are self-parkng must not be harassed nor inconvenienced. Fine the valets for infringements, if you have to.

In this difficult economic climate, government bodies such as the HDB should consider themselves partners of private enterprise, helping small businesses survive.

What say you, HDB?

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

cc: HDB

Links:1.ST Discussion Forum & 2. ST Report

NB: This letter printed in 2 newspapers


Anonymous said...

For more detailed discussions on these important topics, see:
Singapore Kopitiam

Xtrocious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xtrocious said...

Don't be silly, of course the HDB and the government is pro-business...

Except the business in question is Singapore Inc...

Sorry for the tongue-in-cheek posting but seriously, every time the bureaucrats decide to "act" on a business idea, they will inevitably kill it...

Meals on wheels anyone?

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Xtrocious,
Yes the Meals on Wheels was also really funny!
How come there is not one ounce of entrepreneur spirit in all of the 1000 bureaucrats in the admin service?
Actually, We don't any help from the govt- we jus need them not to interfere!
The more you poke your finger into the pie, the more they mess up!
Have they heard of the free market?
Just let the market ride it out!
Leave us alone!

Anonymous said...

Coming from the same background as a lot of people who go on to become bureaucrats, I can tell you their upbringing and the selectional forces that let them get where they are kill off nearly every bit of genuine entrepreneurial thinking. Looking at the way they did their school projects it's not surprising (and they make little effort to change when they go to their scholarship-funded foreign Us)

Anonymous said...

"Actually, we (don't)need any help from the govt, we jus need them not to interfere". Unquote.

Dr Huang; the Government needs to control and control is not just interfere, control means to rule and lord over. By the same token, Singaporeans need no peanut handouts from the Government. All it needs to do is stop the rising costs of livings, and this can be easily achieved by capping the profit bottomlines of the Essential Goods and Services Providers.

But, will the Government perform the control and regulation? No of course, as much of these providers are State Owned albeit 'Privatised' enterprises.

Free market? Why not? Provided one gets licence and permit and pays the fees for them. It's another State-income(enterprise).

Not only carparking services(valets) will be controlled, one day those foraging for scraps maybe against the Laws too. At number of Public Housing Estates, cleaners have had quarrels with scrap collectors. What happend? The rubbish bins are removed, now residents just throw their trashs at the corner where the bin used to be. How to have a clean and green estate?

In any case, MM Lee and his son said there's no free lunch, entrepreneurs say there is no free market and most Singaporeans say there is no freedom. Indeed, there is nothing free when the State itself is the Greatest Entrepreneur known as Singapore Inc. One day the insaned may not be free to be mad.


SHIMURE said...

The idea of parking valets in the area of holland village is a very good idea.

The only thing which is incorrect or has problems is that the parking valets are using HDB lots and parking space.
Hence the HDB has to interfere. Moreover, think in the shoes of the residents. If the parking valets use the HDB lots, the residents have no lots to use. Imagine yourself being a resident of the area and you could not find a lot at your own residential parking area even if you have seasonal parking.

Perhaps, the most viable answer is to set up another parking area which could be used by the valets to do the parking of the vehicles instead of the parking lots near to holland village?

just my 2cents worth.

Anonymous said...

I have lived near Holland V for 20 years, and frequent the place 3-4times / week. Therefore, I'm quite familiar with the current valet situation / fracas. Just adding my views on what I think the problems are.

With the implementation of EPS, gone are the days of anxiously looking out for the fatimahs (who are incidentally the hardest working lot even at 3am) when your parking coupons expire, and ridiculous traffic jams of stationary vehicles waiting in vain for that lucky parking lot to open up.

Carpark lot planning by URA / HDB has been unbelievably stupid and short sighted. A few years ago, massive work was done to erect only a dual level parking structure. Much has been attempted to explain why this has been the case but the fact of the matter is that there is still a severe shortage of parking lots. Add to the fact that these lots can be unilaterally RE-PAINTED at will to demarcate between public and reserved parking, I think it is obvious the shortage has been very poorly addressed.

Valet service has always been a tricky issue in every service establishment with regards to responsibility and accountability, especially when there are accidents involved. Insurers will always disavow all liabilities arising from vehicular theft / damage when valets are responsible, and for good reason.

You can bet your bottom dollar that the Holland V valets are unlicensed and uninsured, and are literally operating out from under a tree. I have personally seen these Holland V valets accidentally losing cars by giving away the wrong key. I have also seen careless parking by valets resulting in bumper scratches / dents. I would much rather pay the summons or be late for my appointments than to let these people touch my car.

I am not against the existence of these valets. In fact, I do think they provide a useful although expensive service much like the setup at St James Power Station at night. Customers who can and want to pay extra should always get better service.

Unfortunately, more public lots are provided, this issue is not going to be properly resolved. It is such a pity because Holland V is indeed quite a happening place to hang out.