I spoke on “Inflation : Issues and Implications”, at a free public forum, on 24 May 2008, organised jointly by MARUAH (Singapore Working Committee for the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism), TWC2 (Transient Workers Count Too), the Society of Financial Service Professionals, and a group of NTU students.
As I read the Straits Times on the morning of the free public forum (which was in the afternoon), I came across the article “Up : Govt raises inflation forecast for this year – consumer price index at high of 7.5% last month ; full-year outlook now 5% – 6%”. (Straits Times)
In this connection, I was rather amused when I read former Permanent Secretary, Mr Ngiam Tong Dow’s remarks “a committee tasked to look into inflation in the 1980s was “a public relations exercise”. As the Government, we must be seen to be doing something” (“Govts can tackle rising prices using policy tools“, Straits Times, May 23).
The acting Minister for Manpower, Mr Gan Kim Yong said recently, that raising wages was not the solution to cope with rising inflation. (Channel NewsAsia)
Singapore’s economic competitiveness has to be maintained.
The National Wage Council’s (NWC) report also emphasised the importance of productivity gains, with national productivity at -0.9 last year.
It also called for private sector employers to try to pay a once-off bonus to their lower-income employees, to help Singaporeans cope with rising inflation.
There have also been media reports that workers may not get enough wage increases, to cope with rising inflation. Such as – “Pay rises unlikely : Rising business costs affecting employers’ ability to pay more” (Today, May 23), “Salary hike won’t keep pace with inflation : Hay survey – Most S’pore employers plan to maintain only same percentage hike as the previous year” (My Paper, May 20).
I was also struck by NTUC Secretary-General, Minister Lim Swee Say’s recent remarks that we need to educate Singaporeans on how to cope with rising inflation.
So, it got me thinking – what else can an ordinary Singaporean like me do to help Singaporeans cope with rising inflation ?
Well, the first thing that came to my mind was – where can I get free things (kiasu Singaporean – me !) ?
So, I would like to devote my column for this Monday’s Uniquely Singapore on The Online Citizen (TOC) to consolidate a list of free things in Singapore and to call upon my fellow citizens, to contribute to this list.
I hope that TOC will consider and explore the possibility of having this listing as a regular feature on TOC, like its “The relentless rising cost of living”.
Some of the information may be out-of-date, inaccurate, need more details, etc. Please help us to update the information.
Fellow Singaporeans, what do your think ? Your views, suggestions, comments, criticism, would be much appreciated.
Editor’s note: Please do let us know if you know of any free services or products in Singapore. We will include them in the list for everyone’s reference.
Cartoon courtesy of My Sketchbook.
I understand that there are homeless shelters in Singapore
Call the ComCare Hotline 1800 2220000
(Note : This is also the hotline for those needing financial assistance or job search assistance)
Free Legal Help
Community Legal Clinic
4 nights a week
Call 65360650 to sign up for free legal advice
Catholic lawyers free legal clinic for needy
4th Monday each month – Church of the Holy Trinity
2nd Monday each month – Church of the Risen Christ
Free Shuttle Buses
Concourse to City Hall MRT to Millenia/Suntec
20 minutes interval, except Sundays, Public Holidays
7.45am to 5.20pm
Daily free shuttle from Tampines MRT, Bedok MRT, Pasir Ris MRT, to IKEA Tampines
30 minutes interval
9.30am to 11.15pm
Buona Vista MRT/Biopolis/NUH/Holland Village/Ghim Moh Market)
(various times depending on route)
7.30 am to 7.30 pm Monday to Friday
7.30am am to 1.30 am Saturday
IMM to Jurong East, Clementi and Boon Lay
Daily 10.30 am to 9 pm (half hourly)
Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic
($ 1 per person each visit – waived for Buddhist monks and nuns, elderly age 60 and above, persons who are receiving welfare or financial aid, or granted waiver by SBFC)
Head Office Address
48 Lorong 23 Geylang
8 am – 112 noon
1.30 pm – 4.30 pm,
7 pm – 9 pm
Tanjong Pagar Address
44 Craig Road S 089682
8 am – 10 am
1 pm – 3 pm
Redhill Branch Address
Blk 131 Clarence Lane
#01-20, S 140131
8 am – 10 am
7 pm – 9 pm
Ang Mo Kio Branch Address
Blk 348 Ang Mo Kio St 31
#01-2096 S 560348
8 am – 10 am, 7 pm – 9 pm
Jurong Branch Address
Blk 320 Jurong East Ave 1
Str 31, #01-74, S 600320
8 am – 10 am
7 pm – 9 pm
Rehabilitation Centre Address
Blk 77 Indus Rd, #01-519
8 am – 11.30 am
1 pm – 4 pm
Chung Hwa Free Clinc ($ 2 per visit)
Lor 4 Toa Payoh,
Blk 215, Yishun Street 21
#01-301, S 760215
Blk 679 Woodlands Ave 6,
2 Simei St 3
#L1 – 01
(Days/times vary 9 am to as late as 9 pm
Moral Free Clinc
Jalan Bilai (every Sunday)
Kwan-In Welfare Free Clinic
Jalan Eunos, S 419496
Realm of Tranquility
Mobile Free Clinic Service at Sembawang GRC
7 pm to 9 pm
Admiralty – Ace the place CC (every 1st Sat)
Canberra – Jeluntung CC (every 1st Wed)
Marsiling – Fuchun CC (every 2nd Wed)
Woodlands – Woodlands CC (every 3rd Wed)
Sembawang – (every 3rd Sat)
Kheng Chin Loke Tin Kee Home for the Aged
(every last Sun, 10 am to 1 pm)
Note : registration fee $ 2, medicine additional charge – free for 60
years and above, physically disabled, public assistance recipients.
The Public Free Clinic
Blk 245 Tampines Str 21
Monday to Saturday: 8 am – 11.30 am, 1 pm – 5 pm, 7.30 pm – 9 pm
Mobile Clinic at Blk 105: 7 pm to 9 pm, every Friday
Centre of Integrated Medicine
(CIMed Community Service)
Free Clinics on Thursdays
(quote from web site www.cimed.com.sg, “if for any reason you cannot afford any therapeutical help, we will offer our professional Naturopathic consultation for free”)
Food from the Heart
Provides food for needy individuals and families.
(Quote from their web site www.foodheart.org, “Beneficiaries are chosen through the school and Resident Committee networks that were requested to provide details of families who needed support ….. the average per capita income in the households participating is between $ 0 – $ 200”).
Central Sikh Gurdwara
Jalan Bukit Merah
Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society Meal Centres
Blk 31 #01-663 Lor 5
Toa Payoh, S 310031
Blk 3, #01-504
Telok Blangah Cres, S 090003
Blk 90, #01-103
Pipit Road, S 370090
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Everyday 12.30 pm to 6.30 pm
South Bridge Road
(Note : I have seen people packing food to bring home)
Everyday-Singapore Buddhist Lodge
Kim Yam Road (Temple)
The Care Corner Seniors Activity Centre
Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, for elderly citizens
Blk 5, Toa Payoh Lor 7
#01-131, S 310005
Nativity Church (Catholic)
Everyday breakfast and lunch
Hougang, end of Upper Serangoon Road
Free musical performance
Esplanade – normally on every Friday and Saturday evening (from around 7.30 pm), and last Tuesday of every month at 12.45 pm – 1.15 pm (Esplanade Concert Hall)
Free Every Monday for senior citizens above 60
Asian Civilisations Museum
Memories at Old Ford Factory
Singapore Art Museum
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Fu Tak Chi Museum
Open: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Haw Par Villa
Open: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ;
Sunday and public holidays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Marina City Park, East Coast Park
Open: 24 hours