Recently the powers that are have initiated moves that are, IMHO, daft at the minimum.
I refer first to the revelation that the Ministry of Environment is toying with the idea to get volunteers to book litter bugs.
While this is still a twinkle in the MOE’s eye, I hope it won’t be made flesh.
First, those who take on the volunteer job with “gusto” are likely to be those who, having nowhere else to throw their weight, will see this as a heaven sent opportunity to tell someone off. Hardly the best motive for being a rubbishy volunteer!
Second, those who take on the task out of truly good heartedness and love of a clean environment are likely to be no match for the hard core litter bug. And could end up being beaten up.
So from a rubbish problem, we could trigger needless and pointless crimes and keep our law enforcers more busy than ever 😥
The Ministry of Environment may do better to start a scheme to encourage the growth of volunteer beach and other public precinct combers.
Like offering incentives! Bring in XX kilos of rubbish per week from designated locations over one year and you will stand to get one/two/three extra chances of ballotting for school/HDB/whatever. Perhaps throw in a free Cat E COE.
This could grow into one big national bonding exercise. Friends and family members may even rally round to help the person who needs the extra “go-s” at balloting or the free Cat E COE.
This way, Singapore will stand a better chance of remaining litter free in public places than creating an army of volunteer enforcers or enhancing corrective work order punishments.
I turn now to the other daft idea of 2012.
Instead of just food vouchers, the North-East Community Development Council (CDC) will give needy residents vouchers, which they can use to pay for haircuts, fresh fruit from markets or even a mobile phone.
The reason is to give beneficiaries more choices in using the vouchers and also benefit mom-and-pop shops in the heartland that participate in the scheme. These community vouchers, as they are called, will come in denominations of $2, $5 and $10.
I think it’s really daft to expand the use of such vouchers beyond food. Yes to fresh fruit because that would surely come under the “food” label, but no to haircuts and mobile phones!
If the recipients are so strapped that they need vouchers funded by the community, then the vouchers must be spent on food, not frittered on non-essentials like haircuts and mobiles! Especially haircuts!
If even a celebrity like Jennie Chua (I think it’s Jennie Chua) can say in an interview that she cuts her own hair, I don’t see why folks on community vouchers must use them to get a hair cut!