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Are users getting as smart as smartphones?

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By: Tan Suat Ying

1

Picture from pocketpcfaq.com Sagem WA3050, launched in 2000, one of the first smartphones.

Almost a decade ago, Tan revelled in the fact that having a Microsoft Pocket PC smartphone conferred an almost intellectual air upon him. But things are different today: “Anyone can look tech-savvy nowadays with an iPhone”, he said with a tinge of dismay.

Tan’s first smartphone was a Sagem WA3050, which he used for four years. He recalls fondly, “It was merely a PDA with phone functions, and it would often fail to receive SMS messages. But I loved reading email and e-books online.”

Smartphones are phones that offer advanced capabilities, such as a PC-like operating system and Internet access, and their growth shows no sign of stopping. Research firm Gartner reports that the sales of smartphones grew 27% in the second quarter of 2009.

Behind this growth is the easy availability of smartphone applications, or “apps”. Productivity tools, games and multimedia are offered conveniently via online “app stores” such as Apple’s iTunes App Store and Blackberry App World.

And users seem to be having fun, in particular Apple’s App Store, that has over 100,000 applications and a staggering two billion downloads last year. Developers, who create these applications, keep the apps coming.

Cyph Ho Ming Shun, a 25-year-old Java developer, is selective about the type of apps that he writes. He believes that only the top iPhone developers get most of the money.

He said, “For me, I’d rather try out the Android platform as it is a new and growing market.” Android is the latest mobile phone operating system by Google. Other mobile operating systems include Windows Mobile and Symbian. The latter comes preloaded in most Nokia phones.

But with that much technology at our disposal, some smartphone users are not using their devices as productivity tools. A recent article in The Sunday Times headlined “We’re the iPhonatics” features several iPhone users, who call it as a status symbol above all of its capabilities. The article is also peppered with mentions of games with no mention of e-mail, Internet browsing or corporate messaging capabilities in sight.

Josef Foo, a technical manager, swears by his iPhone for social reasons.

2“Pull out an iPhone and you have instant social currency, even with strangers”, said Foo, an ex-Nokia smartphone convert. “Not even Nokia phones had this kind of effect. Owning one was only like being a member of a club, just that. With the iPhone, you’re talking about apps, things that express your individuality.”

Simon Sim, a 29-year-old sales executive, is another one of those who joined the crowd, having purchased his iPhone 3G for free with a $80-per-month plan that includes unlimited Internet access. Sim says that it helps him stay connected on Facebook, and in particular, having games in his phone helps him kill time when he is bored.

He does not use the navigation capabilities or read e-books on his phone either, and judging by the numbers, he is hardly alone in just wanting to use his phone as a fun tool.

Handango, a popular online app store, reports that game sales grew from 6% to 25%, while a quick search of metrics for Apple’s App Store reveals that games and entertainment apps are tops for popularity.

On the other hand, some refuse to jump on the smartphone bandwagon for practical reasons. Tan Yin Loo, a 22-year-old university student who does not own a smartphone, confesses to being “clumsy”.

She said, “I drop my phones all the time so it would cause me a lot of heartache to drop a smartphone”.

However, it could well be that these non-smartphone users would have to join in the game eventually.  According to PEWinternet, the mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020.

23-year-old Kristine Aquino, a student and a non-smartphone user, echoes a familiar sentiment when she said this about smartphones.

“Smartphones are complicated to use, but eventually I will have to get a smartphone. I will need it to stay connected, even if it means having to deal with the hassle of learning to adapt.”

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Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:37 am

Preparation for PSLE 2010 starts now

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By Cassandra Ho
October 21, 2009

Cheryl Tan is a pupil in Primary 5, but she is already preparing for her Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) . She has completed the Primary 6 Mathematics syllabus will be starting on practice papers from past yearsPSLE.

This is not unusual for primary school pupils . Their parents are anxious to get their children ready for the big examination in  Primary 6, especially after the furor that happened this year.

The Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB) came under fire once again as the recent PSLE in October sparked off many comments from parents of primary 6 pupils . Most commented that the Mathematics paper, in particular, was too hard.

A parent, who did not want to be named, said, “My son told me that he was stuck at some questions which were really difficult and that he felt unconfident about the rest of his  papers after sitting for the Math paper.”

This is reminiscent of what happened in 2007, where similar complaints were made to the SEAB about the difficulty of Math and Science papers.

One example of a difficult question in the Math paper was, “Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim’s sweets to chocolates became 1:7 and the ratio of Ken’s sweets to chocolates became 1:4. How many sweets did Ken buy?”

This question was posted on online forums, leaving many adults stumped and asking their fellow forum users for solutions to the question.

Some parents believed that the Math paper was made more difficult this year as this is the first time calculators are allowed to be used in second paper of the PSLE Math examination. This paper consists of 15 to 18 long-answer questions and make up 60 per cent of the total score.

Alison Ngiow, whose daughter attends one of the top primary schools, thinks that examiners set the papers harder as it is the first time calculators are introduced in the exam. She said, “ I don’t think it’s fair as the calculators only help them speed up their calculations and not to solve problems”

However when questioned by MediaCorp News, SEAB said in defense that the paper was a  “judicious balance of easy, average and difficult questions” and they had taken the necessary steps to make sure “the questions are within the respective syllabus and within the pupil’s abilities and experiences”.

In response, The Ministry of Education also added, that the paper was of the same format as previous years’ and that the introduction of calculators into the syllabus did not affect the difficulty of the paper.

However, this affirmation has not eased the parents’ worries.

“Singapore is known for its good education system, that’s why I brought them here. But after hearing all these horror stories, I worry that I have done more harm than good,” said Mrs Rimi Kim, who brought her sons over from South Korea two years ago to  pursue a better education here.

Her two sons, Jae Hwi and Jae Huan, are in Primary 5 and have Math tuition three times a week. However, these sessions are to prepare them for PSLE next year and not to help them with their current syllabus.

Mrs Kim added, “I want them to do well and it is so competitive here, so they need to learn everything earlier and faster.”

This preparation for the PSLE by students like Cheryl, Jae Hwi and Jae Huan, is not uncommon in Singapore’s competition education climate, noted Hanna Wee, a private tutor.

“I tutor three primary school kids who are in Primary 4 or 5, and their parents have asked me to accelerate the tutoring and start on the Primary 6 syllabus,” said Hanna. “The pressure placed on these children to do well is immense.”

Her students receive tuition at least three times a week with a minimum of two hours each session.

Mr Ian Boon worries for his daughter who is in Primary 3. He thinks that the pressure will lead to a loss of self-confidence early in her life.

He said, “All these help may come to naught when they see such hard questions. Is there really such a need to set the standard so high?”

The competitiveness of the parents has inevitably passed on to their children, who now feel the heat of the exams next year.

“I do nothing but PSLE papers now even though I have my exams coming soon. My mother says the PSLE is more important than a school exam so I practice really hard to make sure I will get A* next year,” said Lincoln Fong, a Primary 5 student.

“The Jim and sweets question? It’s so simple and I solved it in minutes. There are way harder questions that I can do,” he added proudly.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:35 am

Posted in Feature Articles, Local

Pirated software? Yes please.

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By: Christine Chua

Click. A dialogue box pops up: “Install program?” Sam clicks “Yes” and runs the illegal download in the background. He then plugs on his iPod and listens to music illegitimately ripped from a banned website while editing his photos for Facebook with the illegally downloaded Photoshop application.

The technological age today has given birth to a whole new generation of cyber pirates whose appetites grow as internet bandwidth increases.

According to Business Software Alliance (BSA), the software industry watchdog, approximately 36 percent of computers locally were running pirated software last year. “Illegal downloads are easily available and convenient,” Tarun Sawney, Senior Director of BSA, said.

Although about 200 people queued for the midnight launch of the new Microsoft Windows 7 at Funan DigitaLife Mall last Wednesday night, thousands of bootleg copies were already available online even before its official release.

This is not new. According to Microsoft’s office in Singapore, the company spokesman said that they have observed users on popular local forums discussing ways to download Microsoft’s operating system since Windows 7’s predecessor, Windows Vista 2007.

However, one should not expect the quality of pirated software to be comparable to the originals’. Those who have downloaded the bootleg copies have complained in online forums that they did not work properly.

“I don’t trust pirated software. They come with all sorts of bugs and worms. Why risk it when the price of the original Windows 7 is slashed by more than half? I think it’s already quite reasonable!” Yong Huang, 47, a customer who queued up for the launch of Windows 7, said.

Indeed, there are risks that come along with pirated software. According to John Pozadzies, CEO of iFusion Labs, hackers embed many malwares in popular software then distribute them freely online for people to install. “There is a hidden payload. Your whole digital world can be at risk by downloading from illegitimate sources,” he added.

The Intellectual Property Academy Singapore conducted a research on 1000 adults about illegal downloading in 2005. 61% (of the respondents) felt that authorities are unlikely to take action against them if they download pirated materials, as it would mean having to take action against most Singaporeans.

“It is too easy. All you have to do is just type in the software’s name in Google. Then, install it with a torrent downloader like LimeWire or uTorrent. It’s almost idiot-proof!” Bryan, 21, an undergraduate in a private tertiary institution, said.

For the less technologically inclined, one can always rely on word-of-mouth. According to Jocelyn Tan, a first-year polytechnic student, she would consult her more technologically savvy friends for step-by-step instructions on downloading the software that she wants. Then, she would pass on that knowledge to her other friends.

The government is actively clamping down on the sale of illegal software. In 2006, an interior design firm was convicted under the Copyright Act. Just last year, police raided a company at Orchard Towers for using copyright infringing software. Plain-clothes police officers have also arrested countless illegal software pushcart stallholders.

Still, people find their way around legal enforcement. Illegal products can still be purchased across the Causeway or bought online from syndicates who will deliver these discs via a courier. These couriers then meet up at customers’ convenience with the condition of cash-on-delivery. The process is easy and leaves no trace of customers’ records.

There are also laws to keep piracy at bay. The Copyright Act punishes those who download pirated materials excessively, but this law is rarely enforced. Similarly, copyright owners shun from suing these people due to the high costs of litigation and possible public backlash against the corporate plaintiffs.

“Everyone around me is downloading illegally. The chances of me getting arrested are lower than striking Toto! I cannot bring myself to buy software at around 200 dollars when I know that somewhere on the internet, I can get it absolutely free,” Matthew, 34, a manager of an electronics company, said.

“Not everyone can afford expensive software that can only install up to three times. Pirated software can install for infinite times. Nobody is proud to be a pirate but it’s just too tempting,” he added.

 

 

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:34 am

iPhone fever hits new levels in Singapore

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By: Sidney Wong

Jenny Ng was once proud to be an iPhone 3GS owner, having braved the queues at SingTel’s ComCentre headquarters for nine hours to get her hands on the latest model during the Jul.10 launch event.

Her happiness faded, however, after M1 announced a successful partnership with Apple to offer the iPhone later this year.

“If I knew M1 is going to bring in iPhone, I would not have spent so much time and effort queuing up, thinking that I would be among the exclusive group of people owning the phone in Singapore,” the 35-year-old operations manager said.

SingTel has had a tight hold on the lucrative market since securing the exclusive rights from Apple in August 2008. But when M1 and StarHub’s discussions with Apple continued to show promise late last year, some iPhone fans decided to sit tight and wait before switching network providers.

“I have always wanted to get an iPhone but I did not want to switch service provider. Fortunately, I waited and my patience paid off now,” 20-year-old M1 customer Adeline Yeong said.

Yeong added that she contemplated long and hard about switching to SingTel, having been a loyal M1 customer for four years. She was relieved that M1’s successful partnership with Apple finally dissolved her two-year excruciating dilemma.

M1’s partnership with Apple certainly ended the agony of many Singaporeans like Yeong, who have waited anxiously for M1 or StarHub to break SingTel’s monopoly over the iPhone market in Singapore.

M1 stated in an Oct. 13 press release that the company looked forward to offering iPhones, along with a range of tailored service plans to customers. While information on pricing and availability dates are still unavailable, the smart phone’s fans foresee pricing competition between M1 and SingTel.

“I think there is going to be cut-throat competition between M1 and SingTel. I think M1 will be embarking on an aggressive marketing campaign. Customers like me stand to benefit,” 16-year-old iPhone fanatic Lin Jiamin said.

Anticipating potential competition from M1, SingTel has assured customers in an Oct. 16 press release that it will review price plans on a regular basis to ensure they get the best value.

M1’s announcement also drew attention to StarHub, the only telecommunication company in Singapore left negotiating with Apple. The iPhone mania has reached fever pitch for StarHub customers, who feel that the company is  not doing enough to close the deal.

“It is time for StarHub to wake up its idea. It has already lost the EPL broadcast rights. What is next? Mobile phone subscribers? I am going to switch service provider when my contract ends in November,” 35-year-old restaurant manager Marcus Pang said.

He added that he has been waiting since last year for a ray of hope that StarHub will clinch the deal with Apple. Pang has rejected numerous mobile phone upgrade promotions from StarHub, thinking that he will one day re-contract his line to get the iPhone.

Despite customers’ outcry and dissatisfaction, StarHub remains firm that it values customers’ feedback and they are important to the company.

“We are still interested in the iPhone and are working out a deal with Apple. There is no time line set as to when we are going to secure the deal. Meanwhile, StarHub will continue to provide attractive smartphone prices and plans for our customers,” marketing executive Adrian Wong said.

StarHub’s sales seem to be unaffected by the iPhone saga, as evidenced by the huge crowd of customers queueing up for phone promotions in the provider’s main outlet at Vivocity.

Seven out of 10 customers interviewed said that they were nonchalant about the iPhone fever and did not buy into the hype as they wanted simple phones without the bells and whistles.

“I don’t need the multimedia features of iPhone. I prefer the Nokia E-series mobile phones for their strong business features such as long battery life and user-friendly interface,” 40-year-old assistant manager Raymond Wong said.

M1 hopes to capitalize on the upcoming Christmas festive season as shoppers look to end the year on a good note. M1 Sales representative Lee Fang Mun believes that M1 stores will be flooded with both new and existing customers when iPhone arrives in stores.

“There seems to be no cure for the iPhone fever now. The hype and novelty of owning an iPhone can be too irresistible for some people who may consider jumping on the bandwagon,” Lee added.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:33 am

Young, Fresh and Jobless

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A tough job market takes its toll on Singapore’s recent graduates

By Kristine Paula Aquino

With Singapore just barely out of the recession, the city-state’s most recent batch of fresh university graduates certainly can’t afford to be too choosy when it comes to jobs.

So while he was not particularly passionate about a 6-month internship with an onshore and offshore drilling company, Anand Karapaya thinks it will have to do for the time being.

“I took the internship because I couldn’t find a job after graduation. It’s fine for now, it keeps me occupied while I look for a permanent job,” said Karapaya, an engineering major who graduated in May this year.

The job market, however, seems to be looking up in Singapore. Recruitment consultancy firm Hudson reported last week that 34% of Singapore companies expect to increase their headcount in the remainder of this year, compared with the 26% in the previous quarter. Hudson also reported a fall in staff reductions from 14% in Q3 to a mere 5% this quarter.

Still, jobs remain especially rare for fresh graduates like Karapaya, as their inexperience is often a deterrent for employers.

“We usually advise fresh graduates to go into smaller companies or related industries first. With two to three years experience, it allows them to pursue higher luxury brands such as ours,” said a representative from a leading global cosmetics company, who spoke anonymously as she was not authorized to speak to the media.

“The most expensive part of hiring new employees is training, so get as much experience as you can and stay with it,” she added.

Entry into various industries, however, remains elusive. With the shock of the global financial crisis, some companies are still struggling to keep their current employees, let alone hire new ones.

National University of Singapore student Nigel Lauw, for instance, got an internship offer from public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard, only to have it retracted later on due to the company’s restructuring. With his May 2010 graduation looming, Lauw feels unprepared for employment.

“I feel quite useless now. I have no experience and industry specific knowledge. I can write but I don’t know enough about any particular industry to write about it,” he said.

Fortunately, experience is not the only thing employers are looking for. Eric Leong, Human Resources Officer at Marina Bay Sands, puts a premium on work ethic as well.

“Applicants should have the attitude, the willingness to learn, to pick up new skills. They will undergo training so knowledge about the company can come later,” he said.

It was the same work ethic, after all, that got Ryan Hess a job just two months after graduating in the thick of the financial crisis last year.

“Promise them the world and give them the world. Go in and do jobs that you don’t necessarily know how to do and figure it out. Work as hard as you can,” said Hess, who now works as a Music Technical and Administrative Specialist at the School of the Arts Singapore.

But while job-seeking Singaporean graduates could work on their resumes and learn new skills, the rapidly globalizing job market brings in competition from elsewhere in the region, particularly developing countries such as China and India.

Job seekers from these countries present qualifications that match, if not surpass, those of their Singaporean counterparts. The difference, however, lies in the cost of wages. And in the midst of the financial meltdown, cost remains the bottom line for a lot of companies.

As Singaporeans compete with other regional candidates for jobs, Kathleen Chew believes that a little humility goes a long way.

“Don’t be high-handed. Candidates have to remember that a lot of people want the same jobs and are willing to come in for lesser pay. They can’t come in and immediately expect salary increases,” said Chew, who is the Assistant Vice President of Executive Search at JCG Search International.

In today’s incredibly tough job market, Chew also offers perhaps the most crucial piece of advice in any job search: patience.

“A lot of fresh graduates job hop all the time, primarily because of better perks or salaries. But careers take time to build and you have to persevere with it. You can’t expect success in a short time.”

Six months into his own job search, Karapaya seems to have learned this lesson. Passing on stop-gap opportunities such as becoming a personal banker or a disc jockey, he looks ahead with an end goal in sight.

“I am looking for something long-term. I want something that I can stay with for a long time. I can be interested in a number of things but ultimately I want a career,” he said.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:32 am

Challenging Trends in PSLE Maths Exam

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By: Goy Soon Ting Elisa

Singapore—He thought that acing the Maths paper will not be a problem, but Lim Hei Weng found this year’s Primary School Leaving Exam Maths paper a tough nut to crack.

A Primary Six pupil from Yumin Primary School, Lim was a high scorer in maths, achieving approximately  80 to 90 marks in most of his tests and exams.

His maths grade dipped during the preliminary exam conducted by the school. However, his teacher assured him that the maths preliminary paper was set intentionally harder than the PSLE paper.

Yeo Hwee Huang, his 50-year-old mother, was concerned about his preliminary grade. “I bought him a pile of preliminary exam papers from top schools and ensured that he worked through them,” she said.

Despite slaving over tons of revision and practice papers given by his mother, Lim found that the PSLE paper was more difficult than ever.

Lim’s experience reflects the sentiments of most Primary Six pupil sitting for this year’s PSLE maths paper.

In 2000, 86.5 per cent of the students taking the PSLE maths exam had passed. However, the percentage had dropped to 83.2 in 2008.

The performance of top schools like Nanyang Primary School was also affected. In 2006, Nanyang Primary School achieved a passing rate of close to 100 per cent for the PSLE maths exam. However, their passing rate fell to approximately 97 per cent in 2008.

These figures show the rising trend of challenging PSLE maths papers for Primary Six students over the years.

Lim said, “The PSLE maths questions are not similar to any of those questions I have encountered in the prelims and past year exam papers from other schools.”

Another Primary Six pupil, Mui Fang from Rosyth School, faced difficulties in solving complex questions. She said, “I can understand the question, but sometimes I can’t solve the problem because it is difficult and I don’t know how to do.”

Private tutor, Samuel Tan, 31, said, “Students are normally taught to do straight forward application of concepts in schools. They may not know the maths concepts well enough to apply them to more complex questions.”

In order to help pupils understand maths concepts better, the model drawing method is one of the popular tools used in Primary school maths to aid students in learning maths concepts, analysing and solving maths problems.

Liu Yueh Mei, Curriculum Planning Officer for Mathematics in the Ministry of Education, said, “The model drawing method is a good tool which allows children to analyse information in the math word problems and translate the information given into the model drawing. This allows children to understand the information given and lead them to devise a method to solving the problem.”

Contrary to Liu’s views, Alan Tan, Principal of Young Prodigy Learning Centre, said, “Models are not a good illustration for maths problems because when the question is complicated, the models don’t make sense. It is not easy for students to understand. This is also the reason why many students solve the maths problems without drawing models.”

Tan Yuan Lin, 12, a pupil from Jing Shan Primary School, scored an average of 40 to 50 marks for her maths tests and exams.

Besides having two maths private tutors, she also attended maths classes at the AIM Tuition Centre.

These tutors had quizzed and coached her on challenging maths questions from top school’s preliminary exam papers.

Despite these intensive coaching, she said, “Sometimes, I don’t know how to use models. I am not sure how to split the model further for difficult questions.”

In contrast, Lim found that drawing models was  a valuable tool in solving his maths problems. He said, “I know how to use models and it helps me to understand concepts like algebra. The models help to illustrate how many units a person has in the question.”

The command of English language also plays an important part in understanding the maths problems.

Tan Yuan Lin said, “I don’t understand some of the questions in the PSLE maths paper as I do not know what they want.”

Ngoi M.L., 62, a former primary school teacher with 35 years of teaching experience, said, “The mastery of the English Language is very necessary to help solve mathematical problems. If a child does not understand the language well, he or she will not be able to understand the problems involved in the maths question.”

Pupils should not avoid difficult questions but instead tackle them head on. Alan Tan has this piece of advice for budding A scorers. He said, “As practice makes perfect, students should practise more challenging maths problems frequently to sharpen their analytical skills and intellectual ability to breeze through the PSLE Maths paper.”

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:31 am

Posted in Feature Articles, Local

The Dying Trade

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By:  Dawn Quek

Darren Tan stands out from the rest of the stallholders and workers at the Block 85 Bedok North St 4 wet market, despite being barely 1.5m tall.

As a woman looks through some packets of food, he eagerly provides her with a quick description of the product. She walks away without making a purchase and Tan sheepishly sits down. But upon seeing another customer approaching, he hops up again and gladly entertains her.

Tan is a 13-year-old student, and helps out regularly at the market over the weekends at his mother’s stall with his sister and brother, aged 14 and 12 respectively.

But while Tan’s mother took over running the processed and frozen food stall from her father about three years ago, it is unlikely that Tan will take over the store from his mother when he grows older.

With the prospect of not having anyone in Tan’s generation to take over the business, some stall owners at wet markets are not optimistic about the future of the wet market in Singapore.

The future of wet markets has come into prominence with the sale of five privately owned wet markets to supermarket operator Sheng Siong Property Pte Ltd.

The Straits Times reported the furor in the possibility of the conversion of wet markets to supermarkets, with residents and wet market stall owners bemoaning the loss of people relations and a sense of belonging to the estate.

Teo, a shoe stall owner at the Bedok North St 4 market is quick to point out that the outcry over the conversion of wet markets to supermarkets is unnecessary.

The 60-year-old confidently points out that Housing Development Board-owned markets would not be bought over so easily by private companies.

“It’s a general misunderstanding”, Teo said. “Why would the government give up these markets when they can make money from it? People are thinking that all markets will become supermarkets now, but it is not the case.”

Previously at Kampong Bedok, the 60-year-old was given a stall at the Bedok North market after being relocated and has been there for the past 30 years.

He has been paying the same amount of rent since he was allocated the stall.
Teo’s optimism about the wet markets being around for a long time because of the convenient location and affordable prices of the wet markets in housing estates.
He explains, “There will always be people who will buy things from the market. The government will not close down the markets as long as they see a demand for it.” He also wants to continue running his shoe stall till the day he dies

Despite Teo’s attachment to his stall, he is not disheartened about the uncertain future of his business, which he hopes to pass on to his children. He gave a resigned smile and remarked, “It’s entirely up to them, if they don’t want to take over, it’s okay, we’ll get the compensation.”

Contrary to Teo, Quek Puay Kee, 55, is less optimistic about the future of the wet market business. The 40-year seafood stall her father had passed on to her and her elder brother allowed her to raise her three daughters and fund their education.

“My father’s generation passed it on to my brother and I, the second generation. After us, it is not feasible for the next generation to do such a job because of the progressing society,” she said.

Koh Shinuan, Quek’s daughter, agreed with her mother. The conveyance secretary at a law firm surmised, “I believe the stall owners will give up the stall after they retire, because there are certain jobs you won’t get Singaporeans to do.”

Mohammed Farouk is a former mutton stall owner who was visiting his friend at the wet market. The 57-year old used to own a stall at the Bedok South market for more than twenty years.

When asked about the next generation taking over wet market stalls, his smile fades. The silver-haired burly man is insistent about his children doing something else instead of the wet market business.

He said with a furrowed brow, “I’ve suffered the setbacks and the pay is barely enough for survival. Ten years down the road, perhaps the wet market business won’t be around anymore, or at least it won’t be run by Singaporeans. It will only be beneficial to the consumers because of the lower prices, but for us, it is quite a thankless business.”

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 8:30 am

Posted in Feature Articles, Local