SINGAPORE - The South Korean ferry disaster holds lessons for us ("Questions about safety standards, deferential culture"; last Friday).
First, the habit of following instructions has been cultivated in us from a young age.
In the South Korean disaster, it appeared that many students adhered to the instruction to stay put, which possibly reduced their chances of survival.
If I were in a similar situation, would I follow the instruction given? Would I have the courage or wisdom to defy it? How many of us would have the situational awareness to make wise judgments?
Second, overseas school trips are gaining popularity and the teachers involved inevitably shoulder great responsibility, especially if their students are young and unable to fend for themselves in the face of danger.
Would the potential risk undermine the purpose of such trips, especially for children at the primary and lower secondary levels?
Third, in the case of unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters or accidents arising from human error or negligence, is the evacuation of passengers emphasised in the training of public transport staff?
Of course, the onus should not rest solely on public transport operators; passengers ought to take a proactive approach by participating in regular drills, if any, initiated by the operators. This could help reduce fatalities and injuries in the event of disaster. Lim Lih Mei (Ms)
This article was published on April 22 in The Straits Times.
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