There was a blackout around my area last night at around 8.40pm. I was in a meeting of the Residents’ Association in the committee room of my apartment block. The lights flickered for a second and then all was in darkness. We waited for the standby generator to kick in to power the corridor lights. It seemed like a long while. When we heard the elevator emergency bell ringing, we knew that the generator had failed to activate and some people were trapped inside.

There was a slight confusion as all the buildings were shrouded in darkness. The fluorescent lights from the hawkers opposite were the only source of illumination. Some of the neighbours tried to pacify those trapped in the elevators. Somehow, they were able to pry open the elevator doors and those inside were able to climb down from the elevator which was stranded partially between floors. One fire engine later arrived but was unable to enter the driveway as there were cars blocking the path.

The power came back on at approximately 9.30pm. However, the Building Manager, who was repeatedly informed earlier regarding the non-functioning generator still has not shown up. I have filed a complaint to the Suruhanjaya Tenaga regarding this faulty standby generator. Whatever answers the Building Manager is going to furnish will not be sufficient to clear the fact that what was supposed to work during an emergency did not. Complacency and negligence in maintaining essential services like this can be dangerous. They will have a lot of answering to do.