January 21, 2017

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by Suhaile Md

MY CHINESE friend once told me that a practising Muslim will support ISIS. He hates ISIS with a passion. I consider myself a practising Muslim. I quietly wondered if he hated me.

If I really know my own religion, he continued, I would either support ISIS, or convert. It’s the western education that prevented me from becoming like them. There’s a reason why Muslims don’t get into sensitive roles in the army, or civil service, he said.

I did not know how to respond to that. It hit a sore point.

Muslim loyalty to Singapore has been in question for a long time. For years after National Service (NS) was instituted in 1967, Muslims were not called up for conscription. The policy was eventually reversed. But the feeling of being untrustworthy has remained among some people here.

When I attended my brother’s passing out parade at the Civil Defence Academy in 2015, all I saw was a sea of brown faces. I remember the Chinese uncle sitting with his family in front of me, looking around and noting: “Wah, we are a minority here.” Singapore is 74.3 per cent Chinese.

I guess I was lucky to have served in the Army instead. But while serving, the feeling that I was not trusted because of my religion intensified at times. Sometimes my NS job required me to drive to other military camps that had no halal food catered in the cookhouse because there weren’t any Muslims posted to that unit. In the cookhouse at my camp, the Muslim queue was about as long as the non-Muslim queue, even though less than 15 per cent of Singaporeans are Muslim.

Why? Security reasons, I heard. 

I met national servicemen in the army who were Chinese nationals just a year or two before enlistment. They could not speak a word of English – I always needed a translator. I always wondered if they understood the pledge, the national anthem, or what they were defending? Yet they serve in the army when many of my Muslims friends who grew up here can’t.

Someone once told me Muslims shouldn’t complain. Go online and you’ll see similar sentiments: Look at other countries, they don’t treat their minorities as well as Singapore does, so be grateful.

So I should just shut up about how I feel here, in my own home? Swallow my words? Do they hate my voice? Such comments confound me, frustrate me. I am not from those countries, how is it even relevant here? 

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I am not ISIS

In junior college, my class saw a documentary on violence against women in Pakistan. In a particular scene, a man used Islam to justify burning his wife. I was the only Muslim in the room. A few classmates glanced at me. I don’t think they could help it. Still, it was enough to get me tense.

But I understood their curiosity, and concern even. After all, supposedly non-violent-me based my life on the same Quran (holy book) as the violent man. So I marched into class the next day, notes filled with quotes and arguments, ready to defend myself. I told my classmates context matters. A violent man will find any justification. Hate the man, not my faith. Not me.

Hate the man, not my faith. Not me.

Not much has changed in the years since. Every time there’s a terror attack somewhere, it’s expected that as a Muslim, I take a moral stand against ISIS or its like. 

A tall order, given that there have been at least 140 terrorist attacks by ISIS, or inspired by it, in 29 countries in the 30 months since the group declared its caliphate in June 2014. Most recently, one of its followers shot up a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve.

On average, that’s just over an attack a week. And it does not include other brutal groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al-Shabaab in Somalia. It’s hard to apologise so frequently, publicly, for something I have no hand in and do not believe in.

There were times I got fed up and remained silent, especially on social media. ISIS is evil. It burns people alive and blows out their brains. It should be obvious that like everyone else, I am just as disgusted by these. Why do I have to continually prove my humanity by repeatedly condemning the same acts over and over again? Every time I disassociate myself from them, I am clumped together again the next time they attack, guilty by association. It gets tiring.

Still that does not mean I do not own the problem of extremism (read more here). Many Muslims do so too (here’s a list) because our faith demands that we speak out against oppression, inhumanity and injustice.

Taking a moral stance against extremism also means we speak up against the oppression of Palestinians by the Israelis and the inhumane treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar. 

Which is why we find it hard to quietly accept that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be warmly welcomed in Singapore next month. Or when Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has yet to condemn the atrocities being committed in her country, enjoyed a friendly tour here recently. 

When I speak out on such issues, I’ve had non-Muslim acquaintances dismiss it saying it’s just politics, just business. Funnily enough, these are the same people who ask me why Muslims don’t speak out against violence. As if my conscience can be turned on or off at their convenience.

Sometimes it feels as if Muslim voices only matter when it suits an agenda. Sometimes, it even feels like Muslim suffering overseas does not matter at all.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it, there are economic and security considerations Singapore needs to make. I understand why the G does not officially speak up on these issues, why it has an official policy of non-interference, while quietly allowing non-governmental donations to help Palestinian and Rohingya victims. At times the G donates a small sum too. There are pragmatic, political considerations.

But where does that leave its citizens, who feel slighted? The pragmatic and the political can leave a bitter aftertaste. Extremists capitalise on this, blurring complexities, obliterating nuance, drawing thick lines in the sand between Muslims and the rest of the world.

This divide is made stronger every time someone asks me if I’m a Muslim first or a Singaporean first. The question stops short of asking outright: Where does my loyalty lie?

It’s a ridiculous question, like asking if I’m a son first or a brother. I can’t imagine life outside either role. I don’t know where one relationship ends and where the other begins.

It’s a ridiculous question, like asking if I’m a son first, or a brother. I don’t know where one relationship ends and where the other begins.

Likewise, I don’t know where the Singaporean part of me ends and where the Muslim part begins. Besides, I thought we are Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion.

So why the need to squeeze me into two categories – Singaporean and Muslim? It’s suffocating. I am Muslim Singaporean, Singaporean Muslim. I am both, at once. Don’t break me into two, please.

Thankfully, I have non-Muslim friends who get it.

Like Young-hwi, who in my absence, of his own accord, made sure the restaurant that the group booked was halal. Or the former classmate, Jianwei, who apologised to me for particular nasty racist comments on Facebook. The comments weren’t even directed at me personally and the commenters were online trolls in no way related to him. My friend had no obligation. Yet he apologised, to let me know that my concerns mattered to him, that he cared.

I wish more people around the world stand up for Muslims like my friends did. But the popular support and rise of anti-Islamic right wing figures like Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders from the Netherlands scare me. Most troubling was the recent successful presidential election of Donald Trump in the United States, in spite of his anti-Muslim prejudice.

At the end of the day though, do I think the world hates me? No, but sometimes it feels that way.

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Ryan Ong

HARD or soft, how would you like your country’s implosion? That was pretty much the final “vote” Britian was left with since they have decided on Brexit. And with it choosing the former, the pound has taken another, well, pounding of late. It has fallen 19 per cent against the US dollar, largely because the UK needs the EU more than the other way around. But perhaps new British Prime Minister Theresa May hasn’t got much of a choice either way:

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by Vanessa Wu and Glenn Ong

BY THE end of this year, the number of social enterprise hawker centres would have tripled from 4 to 13, which suggests that the model is working and there is sufficient demand.

So, what can hawker food lovers expect at these social enterprise hawker centres? If you are thinking that the food there is cheaper compared to regular hawker centres, it is not necessarily so.

We visited both social enterprise hawker centres managed by NTUC Foodfare: Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre (BIHC) and Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre (BPHC), and found that their management models are not quite the same.

BPHC has fixed price caps on certain dishes at each stall while BIHC follows a general guideline of using the market rate of individual dishes as a price ceiling. In addition, BPHC opens from 6.30am to 10.30pm daily and cooked food stalls are required to operate a minimum of six days a week and 12 hours a day.

Conversely, stalls at BIHC can open as early as 1am in the morning and as late as 12 noon. There are also stalls that operate for 10 hours a day at BIHC. Also, while some stalls at BIHC have shifted over from the old Block 207 hawker centre, every stall at the newly built BPHC are new tenants.

We wanted to know the reasons behind the different management models of the two hawker centres and we contacted the National Environment Agency (NEA) for answers. NEA, however, has been unable to respond to our queries sent two weeks ago.

We did find this on NEA’s website: That “socially-conscious operators” are engaged with “widening the diversity of affordable food options” and “enhancing the vibrancy of our hawker centres”. But that’s not saying very much.

What did the hawkers themselves have to say? Read on.

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Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, run by NTUC Foodfare

Prices at BIHC are not very much cheaper, we realised. For instance, two vegetables and one meat dish at mixed rice stall Ali Shan costs $3.10, while a cup of iced Milo from drink stall Tea Cafe will set you back $1.40 – prices you would find at regular hawker centres.

Though there are stalls that priced their food below regular prices – such as Jit Sing Satay and Gim Chew Fried Hokkien Noodle – these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Below is a comparison with another hawker centre in the vicinity, Bedok North Street 3, Block 511 Market and Food Centre:

DishBedok Interchange Hawker Centre (NTUC Foodfare)Block 511 Market and Food Centre
Chicken rice$3
Pin Xiang
$2.50
Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
Hokkien noodles$3.50
Gim Chew Fried Hokkien Noodle
$4
Foo Xin Kee
Minced pork noodles$4
Handmade Fishball Meat Ball Noodles
$4
Minced Pork Noodle
Chicken chop$6.50
Bedok Western Food
$6
Don & Grill
Satay$0.60
Jit Sing Satay
$0.50 (chicken and pork), $0.60 (mutton)
City Satay

$0.70
Soon Lee Heng
Sugarcane juice$1.30
Jianxing Fruit Juice
$1.50
Hong Kong Mei Mei

However, the fact that prices aren’t significantly lower doesn’t seem to have deterred people. When TMG visited at around 3.30pm on a weekday, the hawker centre was still very busy and had very few unoccupied tables. BIHC has a maximum seating capacity of 1,000 people.

Stallholders we spoke to said that all price increases have to be approved by NTUC. Mr Lim Ju Min, 42, who works at He Li Economical Beehoon, said in Mandarin: “If we want to increase prices, we have to submit a food list to NTUC for approval.”

Mr Lim said that the food list contains the cost of individual ingredients. He added that in the two years he has been at the social enterprise hawker centre, he has not increased prices.

“If we want to increase prices, we have to submit a food list to NTUC for approval.”

hokkien mee

From left to right: Jit Sing Satay and Gim Chew Fried Hokkien Noodle

Another hawker, Mr Allan Ng, 44, who is a third-generation owner of Gim Chew Fried Hokkien Noodle, said in Mandarin that “prices can be set at the market rate, but not above”. He gave the example that a plate of noodles that costs $4.00 in other hawker centres cannot be priced higher in the Foodfare centre. Mr Ng said that the cost of his ingredients has risen by 20 per cent over the past two years, but he has only increased the price once – from $3.00 in 2014 to $3.50 last year.

 

nasi lemak

Ming Hui Nasi Lemak

The owner of Ming Hui Nasi Lemak, Ms Li Sufeng, 47, has increased the price of her nasi lemak set from $2.00 to $2.20 when she shifted from Blk 207 to BIHC. Individual items like luncheon meat and chicken wing have also increased in price by 10 cents. “The price increase of individual items has to be recorded separately in the application,” said Ms Li in Mandarin.

 

carrot cake

Song Zhou Fried Carrot Cake

Furthermore, Mr Kim Leng Chen, 57, who runs Song Zhou Fried Carrot Cake, has also increased prices from $2.50 to $3.00, one year after moving to BIHC. He shared that with a management office just around the corner, staff from NTUC Foodfare are able to conduct regular checks on food prices and cleanliness. He has been seeing NTUC staff walking about the premises almost daily.

 

Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, run by NTUC Foodfare

Things are a little different over at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre (BPHC), where price caps are set for selected food items. For example, the chicken rice at Sakura Congee and Chicken Rice costs $2.80, while a bowl of yong tau foo soup with six ingredients from Beauty World Hakka Handmade Yong Tau Foo costs only $2.70.

Mr Aw Chin Yang, 29, supervisor of BP Braised Meat Rice, told TMG: “Every stall must have an item which is designated as an affordable and healthy option.” For the past year, however, business has been “undesirable and unstable”, said Mr Aw in Mandarin.

“Every stall must have an item which is designated as an affordable and healthy option.”

When asked about how the price caps are enforced, Mr Calvin Lew, 43, who works at Xin Ban Mian, said in Mandarin: “NTUC conducts daily inspections. They will check on hygiene and prices.”

Yet, not everyone is having a tough time running a stall at BPHC. Mr Tay Key Hua, 66, owner of Father & Son Carrot Cake, said his business has grown by about 10 per cent between last month (Dec 2016) and this month. Mr Tay said in Mandarin: “Hawkers who set up shop here must be able to stomach the prospect of selling their food at lower prices.”

A plate of fried kway teow from his stall costs $2.70, while his fried Hokkien noodles starts from $2.80.

When asked about the rent at BPHC, Mr Tay said that his rent, inclusive of GST, costs $2,980 per month. Utilities set him back between $1,200 and $1,500 a month. He said: “I am lucky because I bidded when the rent was lower. It is not surprising to see some forking out $6,000 to $7,000 a month for rent if they really wanted a stall.”

Mr Tay said he signed a three-year agreement with NTUC, which means his rent will remain fixed until the contract expires.

“It’s not surprising to see some forking out $6,000 to $7,000 a month for rent…”

We asked if he obtains his supplies from NTUC Foodfare and whether that reduces his costs. Mr Tay said that he gets his ingredients from a mix of suppliers. He buys oil, salt and beehoon from NTUC, though he said in Mandarin that it’s to “maintain the relationship” and not because the prices are significantly lower.

As for items that NTUC cannot provide – such as the extra large eggs needed for his carrot cake – he buys them from external suppliers.

The hawkers we spoke to said that in the one year they have been at BPHC, they have not raised their prices.

 

What about others?

We also went to Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, which is operated by the social enterprise subsidiary of Fei Siong Food Management. Located at Hougang, each stall has at least one item that is priced at $2.80 and below.

 

bcm

Teochew Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle

For example, a plate of chicken rice at Ah Khoon Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice costs $3.00, but it offers shredded chicken porridge and chicken macaroni at $2.80 each. At Teochew Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle, the cost of a bowl of mushroom minced meat noodle starts from $2.80, while everything else on the menu – such as the mini pot noodles and the teochew handmade fish dumpling noodle – costs $3.80.

 

chicken rice

Ah Khoon Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice

Similar to BIHC, hawkers at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre have to submit an application to the management should they wish to raise their prices. Mr Derrick Lee, 32, owner of Ah Khoon Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice, said that they first have to fill up a form and the management will update the self-payment machine at the stall after giving the approval. The whole process takes about three days.

In all, there will be nine more social enterprise hawker centres from this year on, bringing the total up to 13. Of the total, NTUC will be managing nine. Two other social enterprise hawker centres – at Ci Yuan Community Club and Our Tampines Hub – are run by subsidiaries of Fei Siong Food Management and Kopitiam respectively. Call for tenders have been put up for the other two social enterprise hawker centres at Jurong West Street 61 and opposite Yishun Park.

 

Featured image Maxwell Food Center, Singapore by Flickr user Nate Robert(CC BY 2.0)

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AS USUAL, protests dominated the news.  They include concerns about removing the identity of a community and where the residents will live after being chased out. Here’s what’s happening around the world:

 

1. Melbourne, Australia – crowdfund campaign raises at least A$100,000 

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 5.57.49 PM

Image a screenshot from Google maps.

In light of the upcoming Australia Day (Jan 26), a picture of two Muslim girls in hijab was put up on the Melbourne freeway billboard. But the billboard wasn’t put up for long as members of the public started sending threats to the billboard company. They accused the digital image of being “propaganda” and said that the two girls don’t represent the Australian culture. In response to this, Ms Dee Madigan, creative director at Campaign Edge, started a crowdfunding campaign to show that “most Australians are not horrible racists”. So far the campaign has raised over A$100,000 in donations. This is also done to ensure that images of the two Muslim girls will be up again on the billboard; not just one but “multiple billboards across Australia”.

 

2. Chennai, India – protest against bullfighting ban

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 6.08.47 PM

Image a screenshot from Google maps.

The police in Chennai had to detain hundreds of people, over last week, for allegedly defying a court ban on the practice of a local tradition. The protests have remained peaceful so far but the police is struggling to rein in the political parties, college students and cultural groups that are refusing to leave.

Since Tuesday night (Jan 17), about 4,000 Indian residents have been camping at the Marina beach of Chennai for a protest against a ban on bullfighting. This traditional bull-taming contest, known as Jallikattu, has been popular in the state for centuries. It’s usually celebrated during the winter harvest festival of Pongal in January. Men will go around chasing after bulls to grab prizes that are tied to the bull’s horn. The Supreme Court banned it in 2014 but has only confirmed the ban last year.

According to BBC Tamil, Indian residents have taken the issue to social media, asking others to join in on the protest as well. Even Tamil actors Vijay, GV Prakash Kumar and Suriya support this movement. Mr Suriya said that Peta may have cast Jallikattu as an act of “cruelty to the bulls” but do not understand that by banning the practice, they are aiding in the extinction of a rare cattle breed. Since then, the protest has spread across different states.

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3. Cancun, Mexico – gangsters unhappy about the crackdown on organised crime

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 6.09.56 PM

Image a screenshot from Google maps.

The Quintana Roo state attorney’s office at the Mexico beach resort of Cancun was attacked by gunmen on Tuesday (Jan 17). Police immediately intervened when the gunmen opened fire. This scenario created chaos on the streets and in a shopping centre, where everyone was evacuated by security forces. This gunfire has killed four lives – a policeman and three suspected attackers. A total of five suspects were arrested. Governor Carlos Joaquin said that this could be the gangsters’ reaction towards his crackdown on organised crime.

Another attack in the nearby resort city of Playa del Carmen happened just a day before and it killed five people in a club. It’s still not known if the two attacks are related and how many gunmen were involved in the Quintana Roo’s attack.

 

4. Umm al-Hiran, Israel – clashes over demolition of homes

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 6.10.54 PM

Image a screenshot from Google maps.

In the 1950s, the army moved Bedouins from their original state to Umm al-Hiran a few years after the State of Israel was created. But now they have been told to leave the place and live elsewhere. It’s now mainly a Jewish town but a local Bedouin tribe claimed that this land belonged to them. However, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected this argument. The government was in the process of demolishing illegally built homes and this caused a fight to breakout.

During the confrontation between the police and Bedouin villagers, two people were killed. One of the officers Sgt Maj Erez Levi, 34, was killed in a car-ramming attack while the Israeli Arab driver Yaakub Abu al-Qiyan was shot dead by the police. The police alleged that the driver was active in an Islamist group but locals said he just lost control of his car after being shot. More police officers were wounded since the day of the accident as more clashes happened.

 

5. Abruzzo, Italy – four big quakes above magnitude five 

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 6.11.42 PM

Image a screenshot from Google maps.

Central Italy experienced four big quakes above magnitude five struck within a day. The president of the Marche region, Luca Ceriscioli, has described this as a “catastrophe”. In Abruzzo, a 83-year old man was found dead in the debris of his barn which had collapsed. Meanwhile, another man was swept away by an avalanche.

The first big quake happened in the morning at 10:25 with a magnitude of 5.3; the second at 11:14 with 5.4; the third at about 11:25 with 5.3; and the fourth in the afternoon at 14:33 with 5.1.

Due to the earthquake and snow, landslides are caused. Thousands of families suffered from power cuts while some villages were left isolated. Mr Ceriscioli called for “maximum mobilisation” and for the other parts of Italy to send help to clear the roads and restore power. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has pledged EU solidarity with Italy after the quake happened.

 

Featured image Earth by Flickr user Kevin Gill. (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

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Black clock showing 8.30.

WHILE you were sleeping, the United States’ 45th President was sworn in. Did President Donald Trump live up to his campaign promises and style? In rhetoric, more or less. His slogan, besides Make America Great Again, is America First. His economic motto is Hire American, Buy American.

MSM everywhere are describing his inaugural speech as populist with plenty of appeals to patriotism. He shot down the Washington elite, who were in his audience and was scornful of the American political party system. This was said, while past Presidents, Clinton, Bush and Jimmy Carter, were listening to him and with his own Republican party holding both both houses of congress.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.

“Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”

The power, he said, belonged to the people.

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He didn’t refer specifically to the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the North America Free Trade Agreement but he said this:

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.”

He didn’t refer to Russia or China or the Islamic State by name, but he said this:

“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.”

He didn’t talk about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or military alliances but he said this:

“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.”

Oh. The speech was shorter than past inaugurations, the crowd was smaller and First Lady Melania Trump wore a blue Ralph Lauren outfit.

While America ushers in a new President, here, in Singapore, people want to know about the next Prime Minister. But PM Lee Hsien Loong didn’t say anything more than that it is progressing. He has his own choice pick but the decision on who will don the mantle will ultimately be left to the next generation of ministers. And if anyone thought he would start giving out report cards on front-runners like his father did, he told a forum that he wouldn’t do that. Mr Lee has said he would hand over the baton after the next general election due by 2021.

He also dwelt quite a bit on the “settled” mindset in Singapore where comfort and conformity are drags on innovation and initiative. A “maverick mindset” is needed in the public sector. Ministers and permanent secretaries should support officer if they try new things with good judgment and the best of intentions, even if things do not turn out well.

“Very often in such situations, we have an outcry. The officers in question are berated, disciplined, hung, drawn and quartered – I only exaggerate slightly.”

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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by Suhaile Md

CARRYING cash, counting change and a wallet full of jingling coins may not be your thing. Or you might have just forgotten to withdraw money to buy groceries. If so, there are various cashless payment options, like using your EZ-link or credit card, to pay for your groceries the next time you shop at supermarket chains like NTUC FairPrice and Giant.

Here’s a list of those available options at NTUC FairPrice, Giant, Sheng Siong, Cheers and 7-Eleven.

 FairPriceSheng SiongGiantCheers7-Eleven
VisaYesYesYesYesYes
MastercardYesYesYesYesYes
Diners Club InternationalYesYesYesNoNo
Samsung PayYesYesYesYesYes
Android PayYesYesYesYesYes
Apple PayYesYesYesYesYes
Ez-LinkNoNoYesYesYes
MasterCard PayPassYesYesYesYesYes
Visa PayWaveYesYesYesYesYes
Nets FlashPayYesYesYesYesYes
Nets
YesYesYesYesYes

NETS

Most of us are familiar with this. Insert the card into the card reader; type your pin. Money is deducted straight from your account. If you lose your card, a stranger has to know your PIN number to be able to use it. Even if it’s stolen and the thief knows your PIN, your losses are limited to your withdrawal limit.

 

Credit cards

Payment via VISA and Mastercard are still the most widely accepted. Diners International, not so much. As the names suggest, you buy on credit and pay the bank at the end of the month.

Cancel your card immediately if you lose your credit card though. Transactions below $45 (sometimes below $100 depending on the card) don’t require a signature. So if the cashier is not alert, anyone can use your card to make numerous transactions.

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EZ-Link

EZ-link payments are accepted at Giant, Cheers and 7-Eleven only. The stored value card needs to be topped up once you’ve used up its value. Given that most Singaporeans use EZ-link cards for public transport, you’d think that this method of payment would be widely accepted. But nope.

One reason could be because unlike credit cards and Nets, EZ-link cards have no security feature. No PIN number or signature is required for transactions.

Note though, that if you register your EZ-link card online, you can cancel the card if you lose it. The cash value of the card, at the point of cancellation, can be transferred to your new card when you register it.

 

Using your phone

If you see the “NFC” sign and you use a Samsung phone, iPhone or Android phone, chances are you can pay with your mobile phone. All you have to do is tap your phone on the Near Field Communication (NFC) reader.

Image Mobile payment terminal, in Fornebu, Norway. Operated by NFC technology. Telenor. taken from Wikicomm user HLundgaard.
Image Mobile payment terminal, in Fornebu, Norway. Operated by NFC technology. Telenor. from Wikimedia Commons user HLundgaard.

Apple pay, Samsung Pay and Android pay are services rolled out by the tech giants that allow users to input their credit and debit card information into their phones. But it’s not the sensitive 16-digit card number that is stored. Instead, a separate, unique digital code is generated. It’s this code that is used during the transaction. This way, your credit card information is not at risk of being stolen by anyone who has access to your phone.

Apple Pay and Samsung Pay require either a fingerprint or PIN authentication for every transaction. Android pay only requires it after every third transaction.

 

Contactless card payments

Nets FlashPay, Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass are basically cards that you can just wave over a card reader to pay. No PINs, no signatures required. Read more about the cards here.

If you lose the card, cancel it as soon as possible. Otherwise, anyone can just use it until the credit limit is reached without ever getting caught. Contactless payments tend to be limited to $100 per transaction. Some cards however, do not have limits. Check with your bank for details.

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Iffah Nadhirah Osman, Lim Qiu Ping, Vanessa Wu, Glenn Ong

SELF-CHECKOUT machines at supermarkets are supposed to cut down queuing time for the customers. But there are people who would choose to pay at the cashier. We ask them why and here’s what they said:

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Mr Dhiya Yamin, 23, unemployed

“I find the machine a little bit complicated. If I press wrongly, it gets complicated especially for a first timer. And we don’t really know how to use it. Sometimes there isn’t anyone on standby to help. That’s why I prefer to go to the human cashier.”

Madam Hartini Jamaludin, 40, executive with NEA

“I prefer the human cashier because it’s much easier. The self-checkout machine is for people who are more IT savvy. It’s best to use cash for payment method and having a human cashier at least creates employment.”

Mr Shaful Akram, 18, higher Nitec student

“I choose to use the human cashier instead of the self-checkout machine because it’s become a habit. And on certain days, I just forget to bring my card.”

Ms Nur Syafiqah Musa, 18, Junior College student

“I feel that it’s faster to go to the human cashier. I don’t know how to use the self-checkout machine and it would take some time for me to get used to it.”

Ms Maggalena Kalita, 35, full-time mother

“When we buy too many groceries and have our kids along with us, it’s easier to go to the human cashier. On other days when I’m alone and just buying a few items, I would use the self-checkout machine.”

Mr Royston Liang, 20, polytechnic student

“I go to the human cashier out of habit. Other than that, sometimes I don’t see the self-checkout machine.”

Ms Naimah Masuri, 27, marcomm executive

“It’s faster to go to the human cashier. I don’t really use the self-checkout machine even if I’m just buying one item.”

Madam Nora Ibrahim, 43, business owner

“I prefer personal touch. Even if I’m just buying one stuff, I prefer cash than my card getting swiped in a machine.”

Ms Ghazzali Ramos, 32, Filipino tourist

“Because there is no one queuing.”

Ms Nur Aqilla, 15, Secondary school student

“Because it’s more convenient and faster.”

Ms Nurul Ain, 25, housewife

“Based on my experience, when you pay at the self-checkout machine, certain things cannot be scanned, like [those] on offer, or things that I want to void. Meaning that, after the total [cost counted], I cannot afford another item or I took [too many], I still have to call one of the staff to assist, because they need to insert the key to void or cancel the item.

If I go to the cashier straight, everything can be done there with the cashier, although there is sometimes a long queue and is a bit troublesome. But I prefer the cashier; at least I can settle everything there without any need to call any staff.”

 

Mrs Gracy Patti, 32, nurse

“There’s nobody at the cashier. Otherwise I would like to pay at the self-checkout machines because that is very easy [to use].”

Mr Freddy Yip, 70, technician

Speaking in Mandarin: “It is easier to pay at the cashier. It is more convenient; don’t have to scan the items one by one by myself.”

Mr Pang Tee Meng, 70, retired engineer

“The space is available. If the queue is too long, I will use the self-checkout machines.”

 

Madam Law Yoke Ching, 49, housewife

Speaking in Mandarin: “It’s a habit. I’ve always pay this way.

Using the machine is convenient if I buy one or two item. If I buy too many items, like 20 to 30 items, it takes too long so I would use the cashier.

There is pressure if there is a long queue behind [at the machines]. Everyone is looking at you.”

Madam Zulaiha Zainal, 43, part-time cleaner

“Because I got cash only in my hand. I don’t have Nets.”

Mrs Padma Raja, 42, housewife

“Because I have a trolley full of things, so I prefer to pay at the cashier. I’m not allowed to pay at the self-checkout. Only a basket full of things can be paid there.”

 

Mr Jason Goh, 52, graphic designer

“It is more convenient. You just put your items there; the cashier calculates for you. You don’t have to do the scanning; then you just pay the money.

Maybe you have to queue a bit longer, lah.

But sometimes you, let’s say, self-checkout. Maybe sometimes you get stuck; probably the [scanning] procedure is wrong.”

Mrs Yaw Hui Ching, 28, credit officer

“Because I want to use the vouchers.”

Madam Siti Patimah, 45, healthcare assistant

“If there is a long queue [at the cashier], I’ll use the machine. If there’s one, two people at the cashier, I’ll use the cashier.”

 

Madam Lim Bao Jiao, 70, housewife

Speaking in Mandarin: “Because I don’t know how to use [the self-checkout machine].”

Miss Choo Wan Luoh, 18, Junior College student

“Because it’s much faster. And it’s easier. We don’t have to check the price ourselves.”

Mr John Chan, 76, retiree

“Because when I see whichever side is available, then I go. For convenience’s sake. When the counter is empty, then I pay there.”

Madam Wong Yek Liang, 55 factory worker

Speaking in Mandarin: “I use the vouchers. Like $2 deduction if I spend $5. Like the $10 or $20 vouchers. I don’t really know how to use the machines. If I buy a little, I’ll use the self-checkout. If I buy a lot, I use the cashier.”

Miss Goh Si Kei, 48, warehouse assistant

Speaking in Mandarin: “Using machine is more troublesome. There are two types of machine. I don’t know to scan the member card or Nets card on which type. I don’t know which icon to press.”

Ms Anuja Wararas, 34, teacher

“It’s a habit. I guess I prefer human touch than the machine. Also, it’s faster with the human cashier and you can just check out how many people there are in the queue.”

Mr Sufyan Razali, 20, ITE student

“I don’t own a card. But if I do own one, I would use the machine because it’s more convenient.”

Ms Noele Ng, 23, research assistant

“I go to the human cashier because there aren’t [many] people in the queue and it’s faster for people to scan my items for me.”

Madam Iris Tahn, 62, administrator

“I seldom use the self-checkout machine. I also don’t always buy groceries. The self-checkout machine has a lot of people. If I use the machine I need to train how to use it. There aren’t a lot of people at the human cashier.”

Mr Jeff Pastwick, 34, US Navy

“I don’t like the machine. It always gives me issues such as not scanning the items properly or can’t read my card.”

Ms Christine Teo, 23, university student

“The human cashier doesn’t have a queue at the moment. But I usually go to the self-checkout machine. I only go to the human cashier depending on how short the queue is.”

Madam Jessica Yeo, 46, homemaker

“For cashier, I can pay cash, they will pack for me and it is easier. For the self-checkout machine, I have to use Nets, pack things myself.”

Ms Hazel Loh, 33, optometrist

“Usually I will use the self-checkout machine but today I’m trying to use up my LinkPoints. I find the self-checkout faster. I will use the cashier when I have vouchers to use up as well.”

Madam Esther Lee, 61, housewife

“It is easier for me. I may key wrongly and there are many cards to insert. When I use the self-checkout machine, I insert the cards in the wrong direction.”

Madam Irene Lee, 60, counsellor

“It is fast and quick as the queue is short today. I have tried the self-checkout before but I am unsure of the process. Simply lazy, out of habit and refuse to change.”

Madam Evelyn Chua, 65, retiree

“It is more simple. Just pay and walk out. Don’t have to press it myself. Today, the queue is short. If the queue is long, I will go there.”

Ms Singdha Ayarwal, 29, homemaker

“I have too many stuff that need to be properly packed and arranged today. So I prefer this line. If the queues are long I will use the self-checkout machine.”

Ms Milly Sin, 42, homemaker

“The self-checkouts are not set up in a user friendly way. Not enough space for goods and in the packing area. The discounted items barcodes often do not match up. I have been to Europe and Australia as well and the set up is better there. They can consider fitting the self-checkout machines with weighing scales. The technology is already there, they just have to incorporate it in.”

Mr Wandi Hashim, 33, restaurant manager

“We only carry cash. I think the self-checkout machine is convenient and fast but I am with my mum today and we want to pay cash.”

Ms Jaya Nthi, 37, private tutor

“I forgot that there is a self-checkout. I use it at Woodlands Cold Storage. I am comfortable with the cashier. When I scan my items at the self-checkout, it doesn’t quite catch. Some discounted items require assistance and I have to wait. There are 10 self-checkout counters and there are 10 people in front of me. I have to think of it that way.

There are also too many instructions on the screen at one go as there are many cards being used here.”

Miss Michelle Kang, 22, student

“I use both but the queue [for the cashier] seems short today. If one is not accustomed to the machine, it can get overwhelming. When it was first introduced, my mum struggled with it.”

Madam Cao Wan Lin, 38, homemaker

Speaking in Mandarin: “I feel that the self-checkout machine is not easy to use. It can be time wasting when the assistance of the supermarket staff is needed. Customers needs to put all of their purchases in the bagging area before packing them. I think that packing your purchases as they are scanned, like they do at the human cashiers, is more efficient.

Additionally, I am unsure of how to use my LinkPoints at the self-checkout machine as I am not strong in English. I can ask the cashier to check my points balance and decide whether to use my rebates on the spot. Hence if the queues at the cashiers are not too long, I am willing to queue to make payment. However, my nine-year old son loves to use the self-checkout machines. When he is at the supermarket with me, I always use it. He likes to play with the machine as he finds it very interesting.”

Ms Crystal Hong Wei, 25, youth worker

“The queue for the self-checkout is long. I am only buying two bottles of water, weird to use Nets. I didn’t know I can use cash at the machine. I would have gone there if I knew there was cash.”

Mr Anthony Man, 40, business development manager

“While I’m queuing, I can send messages and use my phone. It is more convenient and humans are creatures of habit. They can consider having discounts or more points at the self-checkout. Maybe that will attract more people to queue there.”

Ms Charmaine Loh, 29, IT professional

“Right now the queue appears shorter [at the cashier]. I weighed my options and decided to queue here. Sometimes technology screws up and it may end up taking longer than expected.”

Mr Archie Rodil, 36, software engineer

“Right now, I am too lazy to do it myself. I am feeling a bit tired from work. On weekends, I will gladly use the self-checkout. I can read my phone while waiting in the [cashier] queue since it moves slower.”

.

Ms Mary Joy Yladia, 32. interior designer

“I am just used to paying with the cashier. I tried the self-checkout a few times but I just come back to the cashier. It is more convenient and I don’t have to worry about checking the price. I just put everything there.”

Miss Jasmine Wong, 25, media professional

“I didn’t thought of that. Usually I will go to the self-checkout at Chinatown NTUC but today I just stood at the cashier. I didn’t see the self-checkout and went straight to the cashier.”

Miss Ashley How, 14, student

“It is more convenient at the cashier. At the self-checkout, you have to scan each item. They have improved the system but when you do something wrong, it will still stop completely.”

Mr Miko Gino, 23, student

“The self-checkout is more tedious. If you don’t have your credit card, it is easier to use the cashier. If you are carrying many things, it is hard to do the scanning at the self-checkout. I was talking to my friend and were not in a rush, so we chose to use the cashier although we have one item each.”

Featured image a collation by Sean Chong.

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by Wan Ting Koh

HOW much will it cost you to drive in and out of Singapore through Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints? Do you know what exactly you’re paying for?

The answer: It depends. Are you driving a foreign-registered car or Singapore-registered car? Are you entering between 5pm and 2am when there are no Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) charges?

According to our calculations, if you’re driving a Singapore-registered car into Malaysia, you’ll need to cough out up to $13.30 just to get across the border. And this is just one-way. This was calculated by adding the RM20 (S$6.37) road charge imposed by Malaysia, and tolls from both Singapore and Malaysia checkpoints.

If you’re entering Singapore through a foreign-registered vehicle from Feb 15 onwards, you’ll have to pay these:

1. Toll charges at both the Malaysia and Singapore checkpoints

2. VEP charge ($35)

3. A Reciprocal Road Charge (RRC) ($6.40)

And according to our calculations, this could cost up to $46.30 for the foreign-registered vehicle travelling just one-way.

The RRC is the newest charge to be applied to foreign-registered vehicles and is meant to match the RM20 road charge that is levied on Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia through Johor Bahru. Malaysia started charging the RM20 fee on Nov 1 last year.

The VEP charge – currently only levied by Singapore – has been in place since August 1, 2014, and only applies to foreign-registered cars and motorcycles entering Singapore. Foreign-registered cars are charged $35 per day while motorcycles are charged a $4 per day. This includes each day they are kept or used in Singapore.

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Motorists are given 10 days per year where they can enter Singapore VEP-free. There are no charges on the weekends and Singapore public holidays. Vehicles entering between 5pm to 2am on weekdays are also exempt from the VEP fees. Though if you stay beyond an exempted day, you’ll have to pay the daily rate if you have used up your 10 calendar days.

Owners with foreign-registered cars who do not have an In-Vehicle Unit installed will also have to pay a fixed rate of $5 daily when they use ERP-priced roads during ERP operating hours. This will be deducted through the vehicle’s Autopass Card when owners depart from Singapore.

Toll charges apply to both Singapore-registered and foreign-registered vehicles entering and exiting from either Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoint.

Here is a table of Singapore’s toll charges, taken from the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) website.

Screenshot of toll charges taken from LTA's website.
Screenshot of toll charges taken from LTA’s website.

 

Malaysia’s toll charges are as follows:

VehicleSingapore to JohorJohor to Singapore
Private carsRM9.70RM6.80
Small lorriesRM14.70 RM10.20
Heavy lorriesRM19.70 RM13.60
Taxis RM4.80 RM3.40
BusesRM7.80 RM5.50

Motorcyclists are exempted from this toll.

As for Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia, the same table of toll charges apply, together with the RM20 road charge. Malaysia is supposed to have its own version of the VEP in place. Malaysia’s VEP requires Singapore-registered cars to register with Malaysia’s Road Transport Department before entering Malaysia.

But a check with Malaysia’s Road Transport Department website showed that registration has been suspended until further notice, so cars may still enter Malaysia without paying the VEP charge.

Now, here’s why you have to pay and pay – on both sides:

 

1. Reciprocal Road Charge

Malaysia said in October last year that it would start collecting a RM20 road charge from motorists entering through both the Causeway and Second Link from November the same year. Calls for Malaysia to levy a charge on Singaporean cars entering the country had been gaining traction after Singapore raised the VEP from $20 to $35 in 2014.

And that’s how the RRC came about.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan repeated in the January 9 sitting of Parliament that the G had a “long-standing policy of matching any levy, tolls or fees charged by Malaysia for using the road links between Singapore and Malaysia”.

He added: “This is to ensure that Malaysia takes into consideration our response whenever they raise their tolls or introduce a new levy.”

Here are what others have said about the RRC.

Malaysian opposition lawmaker Wong Shu Qi last Friday expressed her opposition to the road charge. She said: “A toll war on both sides of the Causeway essentially creates a toll wall alienating people, families and businesses in Johor and Singapore.”

In a statement, head of Johor Youth Wing of the United Malays National Organisation Hahasrin Hashim described the charge as a “gesture of provocation”. “We unanimously oppose the move to impose a Reciprocal Road Charge, as it affects Malaysians,” he said. He added that Malaysia had not responded to Singapore having a VEP imposed for 44 years.

Said Mr Hahasrin: “The move (RRC) has prompted the (Malaysian) federal government to engage in a dialogue with the Singapore Government to end this ‘victim’ stance adopted by Singapore.”

 

 

2. Vehicle Entry Permit charge

Singapore first introduced the VEP charge in 1973 to balance the cost of owning and using foreign-registered vehicles on Singapore roads with that of Singapore-registered vehicles, since Singapore-registered vehicles have significantly different costs such as the Certificate of Entitlement and vehicle taxes.

However when LTA announced that it was increasing VEP fees from $20 to $35 and the GVP fees from $10 to $40 for foreign-registered vehicles coming into Singapore, in 2014, Malaysia retaliated by saying that it would have its own VEP on non Malaysian-registered cars entering Malaysia via Johor Bahru. The initial fee according to reports was up to RM50. Malaysia aimed to implement the system by end-2014. Well, that has not worked out.

In August 2015, Malaysia said that non Malaysian-registered vehicles entering Malaysia through Johor Bahru would have to be registered for a radio frequency identification tag which costs RM10 and lasts for five years. The Malaysian G said that this was to “improve border controlling and monitoring”.

Till now, cars can still enter JB without paying Malaysia’s VEP fee.

Here are what others have said about the VEP:

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said in The Star article that Malaysia’s VEP will be different from Singapore’s and is not meant to be “reciprocal action” for Singapore’s own VEP. He added that Malaysia was not discriminating against Singapore-registered cars as the same road charges would be implemented at the borders with Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei.

 

3. Toll charges

Singapore first imposed toll charges on the Causeway and Second Link in March 1998. Then, cars, vans and small lorries were charged $1 for crossing the Causeway to Malaysia. For the Second Link, cars were charged $2.50 each way, while vans and small lorries were charged $6. Motorcycles only had to pay 50 cents for using the Second Link and could use the Causeway for free.

Tolls were collected through toll coupons. These were replaced by CashCards for Singapore-registered vehicles and Autopass Cards for foreign-registered vehicles from April 1, 2000. Tolls were paid at toll booths on Malaysia’s end.

Now, drivers pay tolls by inserting a NETS CashCard or a CEPAS compliant stored value card into the card reader installed at the immigration booths. On Malaysia’s end, tolls will be charged via Touch ‘n Go electronic payment card.

Then-Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan said that the toll collection was in line with Singapore’s road pricing policies to prevent and relieve traffic congestion. He said that the inter-government agreement on the construction of the new 1.9 km bridge at the Second Link, which opened early in 1998, allowed both countries to impose a toll on vehicles using it.

“Malaysia has announced its intention to do so,” he said. “We will do likewise.” He added: “To ensure that the collection of tolls at the second link will not divert traffic to the Causeway causing it to be congested, we will also collect tolls for the Causeway.”

Tolls were increased periodically since then. In July 2014, Malaysia announced its decision to raise toll charges for all vehicles, save motorcycles, effective from August 1 the same year.

From then, private cars had to pay RM16.50 in Malaysian tolls for a round trip, up from RM2.90.

 

Featured image Singapore – Johor Causeway (IMG_8582) by Wikicommons user Sengkang. (CC BY 2.0)

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A Casio digital watch showing 8:30 by Shawn Danker
A Casio digital watch showing 8:30

THE Labour Movement has outlined its recommendations for Budget 2017, with a focus on getting workers, employers and the G to adapt more quickly to the changing economy.

For workers:

  • More modular courses (for constant skills upgrading)
  • “Returnship” programmes for women re-entering the workforce (like internships, where workers get to try out the job before deciding to train/retrain)
  • Special Employment Credits for older workers and returning women
  • More legal protection, CPF help for freelancers

For employers:

  • Support hiring that is skills-based instead of academic qualification-based (because that’s what gets the job done)
  • Improved apprenticeship programmes (the best way to learn job-related skills is to do the job)
  • Targeted productivity funding (tailored for each sector’s needs)
  • Funds for SMEs to improve workplace safety and health

For the G:

  • Paid training leave for SkillsFuture courses (because $500 doesn’t buy you time off from work)
  • Skills and salary data from the Jobs Bank (to know what’s in demand and prepare for it)
  • Amend procurement law to allow vendor contract renegotiations (in situations where productivity/technology improves, for example)

Will NTUC’s wishes come true? We’ll find out on Feb 20 when Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivers the Budget speech.

It’ll be a hard Brexit. Another widely-watched list is UK PM Theresa May’s speech that underscored her administration’s “Brexit means Brexit” stance. Markets rallied when she pledged that Parliament will have to agree to the deal.

A hard Brexit means that the UK will not want any half measures like staying partially in the EU single market. It will then negotiate trade, immigration and other international agreements as an independent nation.

She warned her EU counterparts against trying to punish the UK with a raw deal, saying that she would rather Brexit with no agreement from the EU than accept a “bad deal”.

The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest Singapore-China forum, will be held next month, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting is co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

Observers had noted that the annual meeting failed to take place last year and with the Terrex seizure issue straining bilateral ties, speculation was that the missed meeting was another sign of deteriorating relations.

Both foreign ministries are upbeat about relations but mum on what is on the agenda. Everyone is guessing: Taiwan? Terrexes? Territorial disputes?

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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by Suhaile Md

MOST Singaporeans (69 per cent) do, said a report released on Sunday (Jan 15) . Which is more than can be said about Americans (47 per cent), the British (36 per cent), Australians (37 per cent), and Malaysians (37 per cent).

Of the 28 nations surveyed in the report, three out of four governments were not trusted by their people. Actually, only citizens of four other countries besides Singapore had faith in their political leaders: Indonesia, India, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China, where 71 to 76 per cent of citizens believed in the government.

While it’s commendable that the G inspires so much trust compared to its counterparts in the rest of the world, this year’s (2017) figure is a 5 per cent drop from the 74 per cent trust it enjoyed last year, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. In 2015, 70 per cent trusted the G, and in 2014, 75 per cent kept faith. By the way, the People’s Action Party won 69.86 per cent of the vote share in the last general election in 2015.

The Trust Barometer was introduced in 2001 by Edelman, a global public relations company. Initially it measured trust in a handful of European countries and the United States but expanded over the years and eventually included Singapore from 2011 onwards. Surveys are conducted online, asking 1,150 adult citizens per country about the level of trust they had in the various institutions in their own country.

Note that the surveys were done between October and November of the preceding year to gauge the trust level in the new year. For example, the survey for trust levels in 2017 was conducted around October of 2016.

The dip in trust is not unique to Singapore. Last year, China scored 79 per cent and UAE came in at 80 per cent. So they dropped by 3 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Citizen’s trust was even higher for them in 2015: China had 82 per cent trust and UAE had 90 per cent.

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In all, 10 countries bucked the trend of declining trust. The largest gains were in Indonesia and India, which saw an increase of 13 per cent and 10 per cent respectively from last year. 

The trust in the G was not the only institution measured. Three others were considered as well: Businesses in general, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and the media. Singaporeans don’t trust these as much as they do the G.

Compared to last year, trust in businesses this year went down 2 per cent, to 58 per cent. In NGOs, it was down by 1 per cent, to  61 per cent. And the media had the lowest level of trust at 54 per cent, which is a 6 per cent drop from 2016. In fact, Singaporean’s trust in the media has not been this low since the barometer included Singapore in 2011. “Media” refers to both online and offline media.

Singaporeans have a 60 per cent trust level in the system, that is the four institutions in sum. Again, it’s one of only five countries with this level of confidence. India, Indonesia, China, and UAE have 72 per cent, 69 per cent, 67 per cent and 60 per cent trust levels respectively. Two out of three countries’ citizens distrust the systems of their nation.

What do the results mean for the future?

According to Edelman, if trust in the system erodes, it leaves citizens “vulnerable to fears” of job loss, erosion of social values, immigrants damaging local culture and so on. But with no trust in the system to address these issues in the first place, the fears increase, which in turn erode more trust. A vicious cycle ensues. It leaves citizens with a sense that elites gain at their expense, that hard work is not rewarded any more and that leaders are unable to fix things. There will then be a desire for a populist, “forceful reformer” to bring change.

About the survey

Survey participants were asked to respond on a nine-point scale, how much they trusted a particular institution “to do what is right”. On the scale, one meant “do not trust them at all” and nine meant “trust them a great deal”. Unfortunately, it’s unclear exactly how many questions were asked, and what specific institutions within each of the four categories were referenced.

All surveys were conducted online. Respondents are at least 18 years old. There were 1,150 respondents per country. Quotas were set according to age, gender and region.

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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