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Cai png expensive, then how?

Are you shying away from ordering cai png at your favourite hawker centre or kopitiam?

Since the GST hike at the start of the year, Singaporeans have been posting horror stories of how their lunchtime mixed rice meals have gone up from the usual $3 or $4.

How can, like that? GST go up 1% only leh, how come cai png can go up $1 (or more)?

I was recently shocked to find out that my heartland neighbourhood hawker stall charged me $6 for a plate of two veg, one meat and an egg. I know it’s not MBS, but still, it was a rude awakening to see how prices have crept up without us noticing it.

Well, the grass is always greener, as a Singaporean in Sydney recently found out. He posted a clip on TikTok of how his meal of two meat and 1 veg cost him “about $20”.

@gilbertzhuo #caifan #sg #food ♬ original sound  – Gilbert Zhuo

To be fair, the portions there are much bigger than in Singapore, and he broke the cardinal rule – never order more than one meat!

Jokes aside, I understand how it feels when it seems like everything is going up in price (while our salaries remain stagnant). Our hawker centres and kopitiams are our last bastion of affordability and it feels almost like a betrayal when even our comfort food makes us uncomfortable.

But think about it this way, hawkers need to make ends meet too. A recent CNA article noted that hawkers are reluctantly raising prices only because they are being squeezed by raw material costs.

The author argued that if we want to protect our hawker culture, we shouldn’t complain so much when prices go up. Especially when our hawker heritage is now a globally recognised cultural icon.

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She wrote: “While our hawkers are UNESCO-recognised cultural symbols, they struggle to run viable businesses. As consumers, it can feel like we are caught between a rock and a hard place. But despite the initial flinch that comes from years of being used to artificially low prices for food, I’d much rather pay more as an investment in what I believe is such a big part of Singaporean culture.”

Cai png expensive, then how?
Long queues at a popular kopi stall. Image source: Solomon Lim

I wholeheartedly agree. I was buying a kopi recently and the stall owner apologised that he had to increase it by 10 cents because “really cannot already, coffee powder more expensive”.

I smiled and thanked him, drawing a surprised look. I told him: “It’s okay, uncle, we all have to survive.”

Finding kindness on the roads

On public transport, there have been some recent things to smile about – and I’m not talking about train delays that give you an excuse to be late for work.

Like this post on Instagram that showed how commuters and MRT staff got together to help an immobile passenger on the last train at Lakeside.

Another commuter wrote to Mustsharenews about a bus captain who helped a visually impaired elderly couple alight after the bus stopped at Bukit Panjang Interchange. He not only parked closer to the kerb but also held their hands to help them off the bus.

We’ve all had long days and most of us would understand that often we just want to get home to rest; time on the bus or train is our chill time, where we zone out, not really paying attention to our surroundings.

These commuters and transport workers didn’t have to do what they did. That’s why going the extra mile makes their actions so commendable.

If you see or know of any such caring commuters, you can do more than just give them a shoutout on social media.

The nominations of this year’s Caring Commuter Award starts on Saturday (April 1).

Launched by the Public Transport Council and the Singapore Kindness Movement in 2019 as part of the Transport Gold Award, the Caring Commuter Award recognises public transport commuters who have demonstrated acts of care to others on their daily commute. It aims to inspire other commuters to step forward to help fellow commuters in need.

You can find out more at its online portal or on Facebook.

Happenings in the neighbourhoods

Imagine having to put up with noise late into the night, with no end in sight? One Telok Blangah resident had to do just that when he had to call the police three times on a group of rowdy people who were drinking, talking and playing music past 1am.

He told Stomp: “This is a very, very common occurrence here. I was so frustrated until I could not tahan and finally called the police that night.”

It’s one of the perils of living on a low floor near common areas like kopitiams and eateries. Even then, let’s practise some consideration for our neighbours and observe the quiet hours from 10.30pm to 7am.

But it’s not all negativity in the heartlands. Last Sunday, residents at Hong Kah North got together to put the final touches on a 50m Walk Cycle and Ride mural. It’s part of SKM’s Project heARTlands, which looks to bring art and kindness into the heartlands of Singapore.

Ramadan related news


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A post shared by Gallop Stable (@gallopstableofficial)

Hari Raya Puasa falls on April 22 this year so we’ve been seeing a lot of Ramadan-related buzz.

Talking about buzz, the annual Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar has been in the news as usual. This year, amid complaints that rental costs for stalls have gone up, pushing prices for food and drinks, one of the operators seems to be in particularly hot water.

Animal welfare groups received several complaints that the pony ride, provided by local horse-riding centre Gallop Stable, has been stressful for the animals involved.

While Acres and SPCA are investigating, Gallop Stable told Mothership that care has been taken to ensure that the ponies are not overworked.

The annual Geylang Serai bazaar is something many Singaporeans look forward to. Most of the time, it’s the usual makan and merchandise, so a pony ride is an interesting addition to the festivities. That being said, let’s make sure that all participants (humans and animals!) have a positive experience.

Oh, if you think the food at the bazaar is too expensive, there is a cheaper option to break fast during Ramadan this year! NTUC is giving out free iftar packages – with drinks, dates or snacks – at 60 of its outlets for Ramadan.

You can see the full list of locations here.

Ramadan related news
Image source: Singapore Kindness Movement

And if you’re thinking of decorating your home and its surrounding areas for Ramadan, check out the Hoodchamps Hari Raya “Kelap Kelip” Corridor Decoration Competition 2023!

Register online from April 1 to get free Hari Raya cut-outs to decorate your corridor or homes. It may be for Hari Raya, but it’s a competition open to all races, with attractive prizes like shopping vouchers, limited edition Singa plushie and other premiums!

Yishun gets some love


I usually spend ramadan with just my mum so it’s really nice to feel the warmness from more people this year 🥺 #ramadan2023 #iftar #sharingfood #neighbours #yishun

♬ Kawaii Aesthetic – LoES

Could it be, finally do we have some good news coming out of Yishun?

Local content creator Pamela Lee Nur Shuhadah posted a TikTok loving on how her neighbours would always share food for her to break fast with her husband at their Yishun flat.

“Every day we get food from different neighbours,” she said, adding that she has got fried laksa and roti kirai. She shared her mum’s bubur lambuk (a Ramadan porridge) with her neighbours, who promptly gave her some jemput jemput (banana fritters) and putri salat.

“The kampung spirit is still alive, and I’m very proud to live in Yishun” she gushed, then deadpanned, “(but) there’s something wrong with Yishun, that one I still agree.”

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