Monday, 13 May 2019

Storm in a 50-cent tea cup? Confusion over May deal at NTUC Foodfare

Just half a dollar.

For the whole of this month, when you show your National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) membership card at NTUC Foodfare or Kopitiam, you can buy a cup of hot coffee or tea (or their various c, o, kosong, siew dai, ga dai, po, gau incarnation) for only 50 cents.

I believe it has something to do with May Day, celebrating workers and all that.

At least I don’t have to demean myself by wearing a Liverpool jersey to get the special price.

I was delighted to spot the “$0.50 kopi & teh” sign in my neighbourhood Foodfare coffee shop since I go there to buy a packet of teh for myself and a packet of teh-o for my wife to take home practically every morning.

It usually costs $1 for the teh and 90 cents for the teh-o, but this month, I need to pay only $1 for both. It’s like Thanos snapped half the price away.

That will save me $27.90, which I can spend on watching Avengers: Endgame in Imax 3D again with popcorn.

Or so I thought.

For the first few days of the month, I smiled like I had never smiled before at the drinks auntie as I showed her my NTUC card and paid only $1 for my daily beverages.

Then last week, things suddenly changed.

She told me she could charge me 50 cents for only one drink and I had to pay full price for the other.

Wait, what?

She explained that the rule is actually one cup per card.

So they had been doing it wrong all this time?

I asked, what if I queued up and ordered again? The auntie said, no, no, she still had to charge me full price for the second drink.

But what if I disguised myself such that she couldn’t recognise me? Josh damn it, I left my Thanos mask at home.

If I wanted to pay 50 cents for my wife’s teh-o, it seemed my only options were to go to another NTUC Foodfare or Kopitiam, or get someone else to order for me using my NTUC card (since they didn’t check who the card belonged to), or wait for the drink stall staff to change shift.

Or pay full price, which was, of course, unthinkable.

That’s like 40 cents more!

I looked around the coffee shop and considered asking a stranger to order the teh-o for me, but my skin wasn’t “gau” enough.

I was about to head home teh-o-less, but the fear of disappointing my wife made me turn around and accept the unthinkable – I would pay the full price of 90 cents for her drink.

The drinks auntie sighed when she saw me again. Half exasperated and half taking pity on me, she charged me 50 cents for the teh-o and said she wasn’t supposed to do this.

I smiled at her like I never smiled at anyone before.

Never mind the Avengers – she’s my hero.

But still confounded by the “one cup per card” rule, I looked it up online and found an April 25 Straits Times report that said:
“There is no limit to the number of cups of discounted kopi, kopi-o, kopi-c, teh, teh-o and teh-c - including sugarless varieties – customers can order in one day. They can order one discounted drink for each card presented at the counter and have to queue again to order each subsequent cup.”
Which contradicts what the drinks auntie told me.

Was my hero mistaken or should ST be prosecuted under the new Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act?

But even if ST is right, it seems kind of silly to force people to queue up each time for a 50-cent beverage.

What if there’s no queue? Can I just order multiple 50-cent cups? Or must I go through the motion of ordering one at a time?

And why was it different for the first few days of the month?

It appears NTUC hasn’t quite thought this through.

Oh yah, and do I need to bring my Thanos mask?

The things I do to save 40 cents.

- Published in The New Paper, 13 May 2019

Good morning,

Thanks for the article in The New Paper this morning.

The discount is not applicable in NTUC hawker in Kampung Admiralty. I was really surprised as this location is specially opened by Mr Lee Hsien Loong. Kampung Admiralty, an integrated housing estate for senior citizens, is considered a model for future public housing.

The mixed vegetables rice prices in most NTUC food court has special concessions for senior citizens, student and NTUC union members. But it's also not applicable in Kampung Admiralty. Example: Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital food court and NTUC coffeeshop in Blk 361 Sembawang crescent.

NTUC privilege is not align and it's really confusing to consumers.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,

Hello S Mong

I read with amusement, your article in TNP today. I have not tried purchasing the 50 cents kopi but another deal caught my attention - free ferry ticket to batam (need to pay $20 for fees and surcharges). I am planning to make good use of it this long weekend for my family but now i am not sure if i can buy their tickets too.

Perhaps it's not about the organiser not thinking through all possibilities, but really Singaporeans are always very creative in finding loop holes or getting around the rules. You have pointed out a few in the article. Another good example is the recent HPB QR code incident. Some Singaporeans see the goodwill perks/deals as an entitlement and demanded beyond what is logical, causing happiness and ranting.

I guess if i can get discounted ferry tickets for my family, that would be great but if i can't, then at least i have some savings on my ticket.

When we show gratitude for the little things in life, we can lead happier lives.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Safety advisory sent to NUS students: Female resident was filmed in bathroom at Raffles Hall

So my daughter, a National University of Singapore student, just received another e-mail from the school:
From: Office of Campus Security
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2019 7:13:48 PM

Dear NUS Student

Safety advisory from NUS Campus Security

This morning, the Office of Campus Security (OCS) was alerted to an incident in which a female resident was filmed in one of the bathrooms at Raffles Hall. The matter has been reported to the police and we are assisting in their investigation.

The University is providing the female student with dedicated support and assistance.

Since April, the University has been enhancing security on our campuses through the introduction of enhanced CCTV coverage, secure shower cubicles, restroom locks and increased patrols by campus security officers.

All of these measures are in the midst of being implemented at Raffles Hall, including the secure shower cubicles which will be installed in the coming weeks. One of the newly installed CCTV cameras at the hall had enabled us to capture footage of the male suspect, who has been apprehended by the police for further investigation.

Your safety is important to us. While NUS accelerates the implementation of these security enhancements, we urge all students and staff to remain vigilant, and to immediately report any suspicious activity to OCS at our 24-hour hotline: 6874 1616 and email:

Let's work together to keep our campuses safe for everyone.

Thank you.

Keith It
Office of Campus Security

This is getting out of hand.

EARLIER: After Monica Baey: My daughter is in NUS, should I be worried?

Monday, 29 April 2019

After Monica Baey: My daughter is in NUS, should I be worried?

My daughter, a first-year National University of Singapore (NUS) student, once told me a joke:

What do NUS and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have in common?

Answer: They all applied to NUS.

I think she read it in NUSWhispers.

After last week, there is another answer: They may be secretly filmed showering on campus.

Singapore Management University doesn’t look so bad now.

Last week, besides Avengers: Endgame spoilers, all anyone could talk about was NUS student Monica Baey.

She posted an Instagram Story about catching another student filming her in the shower, which resulted in Facebook posts by two ministers and a disappointing NUS town hall meeting on Thursday.

We also learnt that 26 sexual offence cases (update: police say 25) had been brought before the NUS disciplinary board over the past three years. That works out to be approximately one sexual offence every six weeks (even if it was 25 cases over three years).

NTU: “Hold my beer.”

Also last week, two cases of an NTU student being filmed in the shower were reported within days of each other.

And all these are just incidents that have been reported. There could be more perpetrators who were not caught.

Who knew local university campuses are such popular locations for illicit amateur voyeur porn production?

I certainly didn’t read about it in the university prospectuses when my daughter and I were deciding which school to apply to after she got her A-level results last year.

There is apparently no global ranking of universities based on the number of perverts matriculating in the school.

By the way, it’s not true that matriculation causes blindness.

In any case, a bigger factor in picking a university is the school’s remoteness from civilisation, which was why NTU wasn’t our first choice.

After all, we chose NUS even though we were aware of the sexualised freshmen orientation games scandal of 2016.

That was when then Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung felt it was necessary to point out on Facebook that “pretending to ejaculate into the face of a fellow student” is a “reprehensible act that cannot be tolerated”.

I’m happy (and relieved) to report that my daughter attended an NUS freshmen orientation camp last year and did not witness anyone pretending to ejaculate into anyone’s face or she would have told me.

However, in the wake of the Monica Baey revelations, my daughter received a series of e-mails from NUS last week that were more concerning than reassuring.

The first was an April 21 e-mail from the NUS Students’ Union Exco, saying that sexual harassment “is a serious community problem” and victims should report such matters to the school. The Exco added that if victims are told not to report, they should report that too.

Later that day, the Dean of Students sent an e-mail about how NUS “does not tolerate sexual misconduct” and that a committee will be convened “to review the current student disciplinary and support frameworks”.

Then on Friday after the town hall, the Students’ Union Exco sent an e-mail to express “extreme” disappointment in how the town hall was run.

Later that day, the NUS Provost sent an e-mail regarding the town hall to “acknowledge that there was some disappointment”, which makes you wonder, if NUS couldn’t even organise a town hall competently, how is it going to do all the things it said it was going to do?

And it isn’t like the university doesn’t have enough problems. Earlier this month, it was reported that NUS and the Singapore Food Agency are investigating after two outbreaks of food poisoning on campus.

So not only does my daughter have to watch out for the perverts in NUS, she has to be careful of the food too?

Academics, schmacademics.

Just three more years to go.




I must make sure she never takes a shower in school.

- Published in The New Paper, 29 April 2019


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