The Big Papa Is Watching

I always knew that there were closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras monitoring all the MRT stations in Singapore but being not a regular passenger on the North East Line (NEL), it was the first time I noticed a CCTV camera on the train, in the cabins itself!

Sure ok, there are posters all over the station that announces most frigidly that there are over 40 cameras watching you, “for your safety”, all over the station but the train itself?

It really wasn’t appropriate to say the Big Brother is watching since the gahmen (read: government) hardly thinks of themselves as our brothers. The well known patriarchal government should be more appropriately described as the Big Papa, watching your every move. Yes yes I understand that in this day and age of terrorism, we can never be too careful. Papa must keep the children safe. But what else are they watching for? Are our every moves being watched? And why is it that only NEL trains, operated by SBS Transit have such CCTV systems? The SMRT trains which I regularly travel on doesn’t have such a feature at all.

Either way children, if you’re naughty doing some hanky panky on the MRT, papa will give you the rotan when you get home tonight!

Update: This seems to be a prevailing topic. Realized that in December 2006, Jer has written about CCTV on SMRT train cabins and Liangcai has written about CCTV on the buses. And now we have a complete roundup of all public transport in Singapore for I can assure you that taxis have CCTVs too but it’s probably more for the drivers safety than yours. Whee hurray.

8 Comments so far

  1. jer (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

    heh, mentioned this a while back too. its kinda creepy huh.

    http://singapore.metblogs.com/archives/2006/12/im_watching_you.phtml


  2. micamonkey (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

    oops! haha i had a feeling that this might have been mentioned before! just saw it this morning and couldn’t resist the urge on griping about it. Granted I wouldn’t have blinked an eye if i saw this overseas but sigh, it’s probably a NIMBY thing. not in my backyard and what not :P


  3. jer (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

    Haha. yeah. I guess. Still, its pretty scary. Though perhaps not as scary as the British. They have tonnes of them CCTV cameras…


  4. micamonkey (unregistered) on June 8th, 2007 @ 8:57 am

    actually i thought the CCTV in UK that comes complete with speakers where the police officer can directly call out the people’s mistake rather good :P like if somebody litter you straightaway call out their mistake and make them correct it lol

    i mean if theres the cctv on mrt, why are people still eating on the train in full view? or at least thats what people seem to be complaining about on STOMP


  5. Darren (unregistered) on June 8th, 2007 @ 9:20 am

    They’ve had the cameras in select SMRT trains and buses for awhile now :)

    (Look for little black domes above your head.)

    One wonders if they’re real, though. I see fake CCTV cameras at Officeworks selling for $15 a piece.


  6. micamonkey (unregistered) on June 8th, 2007 @ 9:46 am

    yea i’ve seen the one on buses and true i know people always wonder if they’re real…

    but honestly, i think that we don’t realize how offensive the cameras can be when you see it used against u.

    we have cctv in our school computer lab and because some students questioned if the cameras are real, the school administration decided to print out still frames from the cctv of offenders (of the lab rules) and put them up for all to see in the lab! I mean if you were the person who’s being publicly pointed out like that, it would be really upsetting. even for people who were not shamed, you would get this instant fear that you could be next and would act properly.

    This climate of fear is very disturbing. I don’t like it.

    still, from the other perspective, people have been using cctv to monitor shops and what not for a long time. Is that double standard on my part to say that is ok because proprietors feel the need to safeguard their property.

    So cameras on trains and buses are FOR OUR SAFETY. when applied to the terrorism context, I can fully understand but does that mean the cam won’t be used for other things?

    it seems like the cams won’t be used until push comes to shove or if there are major incidents that require video evidence but ultimately the children better behave because u never know who might be watching


  7. machone (unregistered) on June 19th, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    99% of them are on and may or may not be recorded. imagine the Gbs of data that will need to be in a single train (unless low res of cos). Don’t need to talk about if it were manned by people, MRTC will need more people to watch the cameras than the number of passengers in the train itself.


  8. micamonkey (unregistered) on June 19th, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

    Good point I totally agree and perhaps some are live cams to monitor the back or upper levels of the buses where the driver can’t see? I do know there are monitors at the driver seat on buses



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