Must the Gah’men intervene on everything?

January 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Being Me | 1 Comment

There was a letter sent to Today on today (yeah I know… funny) requesting the government cap prices on essentials, and bak kwa. I hope the writer is not suggesting that we have a bak kwa price regulatory authority, along with a bak kwa police.

Personally, I don’t eat bak kwa (despite my mother’s best efforts to hoist the bak kwa on me). I also, personally, do not think there should be a price cap on bak kwa. It isn’t an essential item. I am sure our ancestors made do without bak kwa during Chinese New Year.

The writer also mentioned poultry, fish and cabbage, but I am sure other food stuff will also go up. What I would like to know, is if NTUC also raises prices.

If the big supermarket chain don’t change their prices, then I see no reason to introduce a price cap. It is up to the consumer to decide for themselves what price they want to pay for food. The local wet market sellers may be keen on turning a quick profit during this festive season, but you have the choice to go for a substitute good in the local NTUC. I know people like to point out the difference between “fresh” and “refridgerated” meats, but honestly it makes no difference. Meat is meat. And let’s be honest, you will have to refridgerate the “fresh” meats you buy from the wet market anyway, because you need to have it last past the 2 day public holiday.

I would also like to suggest to the writer to go to JB to buy food if the prices are really capped there. It is a viable option for many Singaporeans, as can be seen by the long jams at the Causeway every weekend.

I know that there are poorer members of our community that will need help during this period. I am sure the various welfare organisations, as well as the Comcare committees of all constituencies, will be distributing food to needy families during this festive period.

A cap is not a good idea because it depresses the actual value of the goods sold, and distorts market forces. It also imposes a financial burden on the goverment. Subsidies are hard to remove once given, and people will expect prices to remain at that level forever, even as real costs escalate. It also mean added bureaucracy for the monitoring of prices, and the implementation of price caps. That is money wasted. I am not a big fan of bureaucrats, and the less of them out there the better.

A better idea is to exercise your spending power, head to the cheapest seller and send a message to those who are price gouging that you will not be taken for a fool. And please, no bak kwa police.

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  1. In Singapore, everything you do needs a law and license. Lol. nnn. F”"” those big food court corporations corporatising and upping cost of our most basic need…. Food! Now even normal hawker centers ae upping their prices.. eg, hokkien mee cost avg of $2.50 before 2000, now can cost avg of $4 ~ 4.50 (2010)

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