Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has been appointed Acting Minister for Transport. The news comes after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan fractured his arm during a fall last week.
Citizens expressed deep concern for Minister Khaw. “It’s one thing to shatter Singaporeans’ confidence in the public transport system, but another thing entirely to break your humerus,” said Justina Goh, a daily commuter on the North-South line. “He should take the MRT more. Once you can maintain your balance while the train stops eight times pulling into Jurong East, nothing is ever going to knock you over.”
Reports indicated that Khaw had neglected basic maintenance over many years. “Once the fall began, there was almost nothing he could do,” said Michelle Kwok, an orthopedics professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. “He’s been using that arm for decades, and the Minister has never been a big milk drinker. Imagine the wear and tear on the bones – without constant calcium replenishment, carrying such heavy loads each day will definitely wear them down. Now that there’s been a break, I’m sure he’ll try to keep the bones strong, but it’s always hard when you’re playing catch-up. This is really a failure in foresight.”
She suggested that Khaw might have underestimated how much weight would be on his shoulders. “I’m sure that forty-five years ago, when first starting his career, Khaw would never have imagined having to carry such heavy loads. He probably didn’t update his maintenance schedules to account for the increase, and in the end the repeated stress contributed to the fracture we see today.”
Khaw’s colleague, former SAF scholar and current Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, said the episode was a learning experience. “This just highlights the importance of lifelong exercise,” he said. “This wouldn’t have happened if Boon Wan were a general, like me. In OCS, we learnt the importance of always keeping fit – that’s why I advocate building simple arm exercises into our daily routines. Everybody, keechiu!”
At press time, experts reported that Minister Khaw is receiving full treatment and should make a full recovery. They were unable to say the same about the MRT system.
[serious note: Minister Khaw has been a great public servant for Singapore, and we wish him nothing but the best in his recovery]