I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw today’s headlines that we are still a shopping paradise (see The Straits Times
, “S’pore still shines as a shopping paradise”, 9 May 2005, p.1). Were they talking about the pasar malam
near my flat? No, it was all about high-end branded goods. They had photos of an Apple iBook, a Christian Dior bag and a Omega watch and compared prices between Singapore and different cities.
Hey, wait a minute….the Omega watch was cheaper in Bangkok by nearly $300, the Christian Dior bag was cheaper in Hong Kong by $50 and the only listed product where we beat the rest was the Apple iBook by….[drumroll]….$5. That’s right, please come to Singapore if you want to save five bucks off your $1300+ laptop!
I called a local shop here to check the price of the iBook and was surprised that the listed price does not match the one in our newspaper? I knew our dear national paper can never make such factual errors, so I decided to actually read the article in full. Lo and behold, the survey on which the article was based was actually commissioned by ….[drumroll]…. Singapore Tourism Board !! No lah, don’t get me wrong….I am NOT suggesting that the study was fixed. I’m just skeptical that the report would have made the front page if we had not been FIRST.
And finally I found what I was looking for…. the survey compared prices when tax refunds were applicable! Since we locals do not get GST refunds, we have to pay more than the richie rich tourists who come to Singapore. Well, if we are prepared to pay an entrance fee of $100 to a casino, anything’s possible.
By the way, I also read that officer cadets now get to use paintball guns (see The Straits Times
, “Officer Cadets take aim with paintball guns”, 9 May 2005, p.H1). Am sure that out of all the colors they use, brown will be excluded coz none of them will want to get browned. For the uninitiated, the phrase ‘to get browned’ comes from a popular local blog mrbrown
after he ran an April Fools joke about transparent laptop screens.
Just when the forum pages of our newspaper is filled with issues of racism (like the recent case of a condo not hiring Indian guards), we have to enlighten Singaporeans that things are not so rosy outside this little red dot island. See for instance, the article on page 3 on why good-looking Pakistani men need not apply for jobs in the country up north (see The Straits Times
, “Handsome Pakistanis need not apply”, 9 May 2005, p.3).
At a time when our kids are struggling with homework that reaches the roof, I am glad to note that the Singapore syllabus is being spread around the region (see The Straits Times
, “More of Asia learning the Singaporean way”. 9 May 2005, p.3). And the reason why our education seems to be so attractive is because our schools have “discipline, good behavior, imaginative and effective programs”. Discipline – maybe. Good behavior? How come we forget about the teen sex report just a couple of days ago? Imagination? I think the less said the better.