Stories By: RICE (145 Articles Found)

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Forget the TraceTogether data. Can we trust the government to keep their word?

What a start to the year. On Mon, the inaugural Parliament livestream triggered a real-time outcry over the collection and use of TraceTogether data. Contrary to prior assurances that TraceTogether data would only be used for contact tracing,…

Escaping Singapore’s rat race at the most ulu resort in Kranji

I’m standing outside Kranji MRT station, waiting for the 1:00 PM Kranji Express Shuttle. If you’re travelling with young kids or the elderly, I strongly recommend paying the extra gas money to drive, or renting a car for…

Is Canberra the new ghost town of Singapore?

Every neighbourhood in Singapore has a reputation: Bukit Timah is old money, Sentosa Cove is new money, Marine Parade is for the beach lovers, Sengkang is for the young liberal middle-class families, Joo Chiat and Tiong Bahru are…

Forget sentimental value. What’s the real value of Golden Mile Complex?

With the recent announcement that Golden Mile Complex (GMC) was to be gazetted for conservation by URA, Singaporeans reacted with a curious mix of nostalgia, apathy, and resentment. “This ugly building you save, but you tear down the…

How far have we come in tackling homelessness in Singapore?

In 2019, Dr Ng Kok Hoe (currently Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) conducted Singapore’s first-ever nationwide study on homelessness. The study found that there were approximately 1000 homeless people in Singapore,…

Travelling to Little India means seeing it with new eyes

The colours of Deepavali are everywhere, but the mood in Little India feels far from festive. The tourists have disappeared. So have the elderly Indian uncles, who used to linger at cafes and restaurants, reading the paper and…

“it’s a ghost town”: At Lucky Plaza, hollowed out by entry curbs, a community goes into crisis

To a mall, there is no sound more terrifying than silence. Silence means a lack of bodies, which means a lack of business, which means danger. It means restaurants without customers and hair salons without clients; unsold goods…

Can ‘Domestic Tourism’ in Singapore ever be more than just staycations?

When the news that all Singaporeans above 18 were getting $100 in SingapoRediscovers vouchers broke, it seemed everyone I met that day was already planning their next staycation. Contrast this to a month ago, when the S$45 million…

Customers love their furniture shop. So why are these sisters fighting to save it?

We just signed a one-year lease with our landlord. That was in Apr when Covid was widespread. We appealed to him: please, can you reduce the rental by 10%? He said no. He even wanted to increase the…

Under one roof: How the covered walkway conquered Singapore

In Dec last year, I was returning home from Yio Chu Kang swimming pool when I saw something which took my breath away: a brand new covered walkway. Not any regular ol’ covered walkway, but a covered linkway…

The surreal experience of travelling in and out of Singapore during Covid-19

Changi Airport looked like a ghost town. Less than half a year ago, you could barely walk through the airport without bumping into someone you know. The non-stop human traffic was a testament to its reputation as one…

In Phase 2, migrant workers battle financial fears and a mental health crisis

The last time Feroz set foot outside his dormitory was in early Apr. For nearly four months, he has not been to Little India, the shipyard where he works, or even the other end of his dormitory compound.…

There is no ‘work-life balance’ without the office

In the modern workplace, it’s hard enough to achieve the mythical work-life balance (WLB). But without the option of heading into the office, WLB becomes impossible. This is precisely why the office is essential to the physical and…

Is Sengkang all that it’s made out to be? We went for a walk to find out

Since GE2020, and the WP’s victory, Sengkang has turned into something of a meme. Less concrete-and-rebar town. More of a metonym for political change, democracy and all that good stuff. The reality, however, is much more banal. The…

Transforming the hawker industry into a digital one: Is it possible?

At Tian Tian Fatt Rice and Porridge at Toa Payoh Lorong 8, customers don’t stop streaming in even at 3.30pm on a weekday. Mrs Ng and her sole assistant diligently serve up orders, all while collecting money from…

Should Singapore let foreign investors buy permanent residency?

Singapore is currently debating our migrant worker policy, but the other end of migration—investment migration by HNWIs, has received far less scrutiny. Most might not even be familiar with what “investment migration” means, or aware that Singapore has…

They launched their businesses smack in the middle of COVID-19. Crazy or unlucky, you decide

Even when the first case of Covid-19 hit in Jan, the business climate in Singapore still looked promising. MNCs were shifting operations from the politically-entangled Hong Kong to Singapore, and growth opportunities seemed to be concentrated in Southeast…

The jobs may be essential, but the people doing them are not

The recent ST survey on the public’s perception of “essential” work caused quite a lot of buzz. I am glad that people are finally recognizing the importance of our essential workers, but even before the pandemic, we have…

Are our fears about the TraceTogether token justified? We asked a data privacy expert

The government’s recent announcement that it will be rolling out wearable TraceTogether tokens has sparked furious debate and opposition. At the time of writing, a petition against the tokens has already gathered over 42,000 signatures, with many Singaporeans…

The Sultan and his sisters: How 2,300 corals travelled to Sisters’ Islands Marine Park

In the coastal waters of Singapore, life finds a way. Upon the seawalls of Sisters’ Island Marine Park, for example, thousands of coral colonies in different colours and shapes manage to thrive under increasingly difficult conditions. And their…

Essential but underpaid: reflecting on work during and beyond COVID-19

Most Singaporeans hardly think about our waste after disposing of it at public litter bins or down the HDB rubbish chute. Yet even during the current pandemic, waste mgmt services have miraculously continued to function. Real people continue…

The school gardener who gave us the Botanic Gardens and Speakers’ Corner

Upon my arrival at Yu Neng Pri school, Grant Pereira beckons to me. I walk towards him, eager to finally meet this gardener who manages to be lean, tanned, and yet so Santa Claus-like in his figure. With…

A dormitory operator speaks: Anecdotes from ground zero

I run a factory-converted dormitory (FCD) housing about 500 men, mostly from Bangladesh and India. It was converted from an existing factory in an industrial estate in 2014, and was built solely to house our workers. I began…

No good or bad eggs in F&B, only short- and long-term thinkers

Last week when I interviewed Shanmei Lim, owner of Penang Kitchen via video conference, I sensed both resignation and a renewed urgency in her voice. “There’s fire under everyone’s ass,” she stated matter-of-factly. “Can’t give up now.” It’s…

Celebrating Mustafa: 24-hour supermarket and a migrant’s dream come true

Forget the Hawker Centre. If you want to observe what some might call Singaporean integration—others inequality—visit Mustafa. In between Mustafa is lit by the rainbows of our time, people from the Himalayas to the far-flung islands of eastern…

How do you move a cinema online? For the projector, it starts with community

“How do you translate community during a shutdown?” Karen, one of the co-founders of The Projector, echoes my question, more to herself than to me. There’s a long pause. Nearly three weeks have gone by since the entertainment…

Is food delivery in Singapore too cheap?

For the past week, you’ve probably been reading about struggling F&B operators highlighting the “high” commission fees charged by food delivery app platforms like GrabFood, Foodpanda, and Deliveroo. In this pandemic, restaurants have become reliant on food deliveries…

These millennials bought a house, then COVID-19 hit. How are they coping?

It’s a process every Singaporean knows by heart: meet someone, date for a few years, apply for a flat, save up, get married, move in, settle down, and gradually pay off the mortgage. Jokes about will-you-BTO-with-me marriage proposals…

How we can help flatten the curve amongst the migrant worker community

The government has been taking active and urgent steps to respond to the migrant worker dormitory crisis, and has committed to safeguarding the welfare of Singapore’s migrant worker community. Just yesterday, the government announced that migrant workers and…

Singapore’s landlords need a mindset change, or the F&B industry is over

Historically, the landlord-tenant relationship has always been a tenuous, one-sided affair. Rentals and other costs are usually paid monthly via GIRO, and if a tenant fails to make payment, landlords charge interest and penalty fees, up to the…

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