SINGAPORE — Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), Calvin Cheng has incurred the wrath of netizens from a post that he made on Friday, asking for shops in a food court which only accept payment in cash, with hundreds of comments questioning his disgraceful act.

Posting two images of stalls putting up signs stating that they accept cash only, Cheng calls for the food court in the Central Business District to be named and shamed.

Cheng also posted in his comments asking people to boycott all businesses that do not offer alternatives to cash.

“They must not hamper Singapore’s development as a smart nation, ” said Cheng.

“It’s unbelievable and embarrassing that there are people in the comments section here that are defending the use of cash ONLY. I hope this is the minority otherwise Singapore is finished. We will indeed be a village full of backward villagers.”

“I am constantly reminded that 3 generations ago Singapore was still a nation of coolies and peasants. 5 decades can bring economic development , but we will need another 5 for cultural development. Sad. Failure to reach a Swiss standard of living is being held back by the villagers amongst us. I may be tough on us , but it’s out of love. We need to do better and shame those amongst us who think like villagers amidst first world infrastructure.”

On the same day of his post, Cheng made news after his Swiss digital asset firm, Damoon Technologies was granted membership to the country’s Financial Services Standard Association.

Cheng said: “I believe in the future of digital assets, but this has to be done in accordance with traditional finance’s compliance standards. Switzerland is the pre-eminent global financial hub, and is the ideal place to base crypto-fiat-crypto financial services, as well as a trusted custodian.”

Cheng was a former NMP of the Singapore Parliament from 2009 to 2011 and was appointed as Serbia’s honorary consul in Singapore in November last year.

Cannot believe a former NMP can make such comments, say netizens

Andrew Tan, one of the commenters, wrote, “To boycott it is your issue and nobody cares. To shame is a disgraceful act. These biz owners have the autonomy to decide what they want to offer. It is their biz. Just like you have the right to boycott as you are using your own money to make a decision. Why not tell the nets company to reduce their charges?”

Shawn Tan wrote, “It’s a pity but DEFINITELY NOT A SHAME that they do not adopt technology. The only thing shameful I see is a person of your stature saying things like that.”

HL Tan wrote, “Why must you name and shame? Do the stall owner need to pay extra fees to use the electronic payment? If it is free now, can one ensure that the future platform won’t charge a single cent? What I observe is payment platforms usually try to get you into the ecosystem and then they start to charge a fee. Can I say I know finance or blockchain or AI, and you do not know is a shame also? no! Everyone has their level of knowledge to adopt certain skills.”

A netizen, Fiona Lim commented, “You are being obnoxious. There are many reasons why F&B outlets prefer cash transactions. They could have been victims of people who “scammed” them with fake paynow / Paylah transfers; or that the digital payments platforms slows down the process of simply buying 1 drink. Or that the banks are charging transactional fees. These are the main pain points that vendors face which should be reaolved by the payment gateways. Do not blame the business if they prefer the most efficient way to transact.”

In response, Cheng wrote, “paynow is free + printing out a qr code costs next to nothing. Silly excuses by embarrassing backward villagers.”

Another netizen, Anaria Marcella chimed into Lim’s comments, “My thought is the same with you. I’m not sure but do you notice that in some or most of his post, he frequently point the blames on other people side but never really illustrate any tips or helpful guides towards people who could use some help?”

A former cashier wrote,  “As someone with experience as a cashier, I can say that when there is a long queue of people waiting to make payment, cash payment is the fastest mode of payment for anything below $100. Using credit card is second fastest but is most costly for the retailer. This is followed by NETS (because the customer needs to key in their PIN). PayNow is the slowest mode of payment, because very often, the customer fumbles with the app, waiting for the pages to load, point the camera to the QR code, show proof of payment, etc.”

He added, “As a retailer, I want to make the transaction as fast as possible, so that I can process more customers within the same period of time. This is why I will choose cash payment only. Less decisions for the customer, more sales, more revenue.”

Sally Tan criticised, “I can’t believe I am hearing from a former NMP and just shame the stall. My goodness.. I mean u r a public figure, former NMP. Is that how you should behave? I mean if the stall owners who know nothing or find it hard to keep up with the technology because they are the older generations and they need to feed themselves and families because everything in Singapore is so expensive. If u r shameful to be here, then migrate to somewhere else better than Singapore? I’m sure you are rich enough to do that.”

In response to Tan, Cheng wrote, “if there are people in our country who can’t even print out w qr code they shouldn’t be allowed to operate.”

Steven Goh Robo reasoned, “There can be many reasons why an outlet don’t want to go cashless transaction. It could be they are not as tech savvy, or the cost of using tech is too high for them, or they had experienced many dishonest consumers who don’t pay for their meals. Have you attempt to speak to them to understand why? In any case, they are the business owner, they have the right to decide what’s the mode of payment is best for them. Certainly to be named and shamed is not what an inclusive society should be doing.”

In response to Goh, Cheng wrote, “the reason for not being able to print out a simple qr code and turn on notifications for paynow payments, is laziness and close mindedness. Must be shut down,”

Very hard to speak to villagers

Lack of empathy by former NMP

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