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Payment discrepancies, delayed transactions: Hawkers explain why they insist on cash payments

SINGAPORE: After two months of finding discrepancies between the earnings reported by his stall assistants and received in his bank account, hawker Anthony Low decided to go back to cash-only transactions.

Mr Low is among the hawkers who tried digital payments but were put off by the challenges of incorporating the technology into a trade that typically transacts in cash.

The 55-year-old hawker, who owns three stalls selling ngoh hiang prawn crackers, said his assistants would monitor and record the e-payments received from customers. But the amount they reported at the end of the day did not tally with the numbers in Mr Low’s bank account.
CNA visited one of the stalls in Mr Cheng’s post, a beverage stall at China Square Food Centre. A sign had been put up at the stall stating that as of May 9, 2022, all transactions had to be made in cash and that PayNow would no longer be accepted.

At hawker stalls, e-payments are typically made by scanning a QR code displayed at the stall front with a payment app such as PayNow, a real-time funds transfer service.

A worker at the stall told CNA that some customers refused to show the transaction page as evidence of their e-payment.

During busy hours, it is also more efficient to collect cash rather than wait and confirm that an e-payment was successful, the worker said.

Cash-only food stalls make up the minority in Singapore’s push for hawkers to go digital. Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said in Parliament on Mar 2 that more than 70 per cent of cooked food stall holders in hawker centres accepted e-payments.

Support is available at 37 hawker centres to help hawkers adopt technology, Dr Khor said.

The move towards cashless transactions for hawkers began years ago.

In 2020, a Hawkers Go Digital programme was launched to encourage the adoption of e-payments. The government initiative included cash bonuses for hawkers who achieve a certain number of digital transactions.

At Amoy Street Food Centre, in the heart of the central business district, signs on the walls proclaim that it is a cashless food centre. While most stalls there had QR codes displayed visibly, CNA found a handful that only accept cash.

One such stall holder, Madam Tuan Ngap Eng, said she has heard of e-payments but did not want the trouble of dealing with potential technical issues.

The 84-year-old, who has been a hawker most of her life, said that she would not know what to do or who to turn to should problems arise.

“I heard from other people that some people cheat and don’t actually pay,” said the Hainanese chicken rice stall owner, referring to incidents where customers flash screenshots of past payments to deceive stalls into thinking they have paid.

Another stall owner in the food centre, Mr Quek Siak Kang, said he only uses his mobile phone for calls and was not familiar with digital payments technology.

He would have continued using a basic Nokia phone had his child not bought him a smartphone, said the 61-year-old, who operates a Teochew kway chap stall.

Both hawkers said they handled stall operations by themselves and had no one to help with digital transactions.
Apart from inconsistencies, other hawkers that CNA spoke to also cited the need for immediate cash and their lack of understanding of technology as reasons for restricting transactions to cash.

The issue of cash-only payments among hawkers, while not new, was thrust into the spotlight recently by former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng in a Facebook post last month. Mr Cheng criticised stalls at a coffee shop within the central business district for only accepting cash.

What’s the Number 28 Reason You Can’t Find Love?

People say relationships are all about give and take. You even hear about the need to compromise. I assume you compromise by giving in so you can get back later.

The number 28 reason you can’t find love is because you go into a relationship with your hand out and nothing in it. In other words, you are the taker. While taking, you offer as little as possible. In fact, you may tell the person they should just be lucky you are in their life. With that mindset, you believe there is no need for you to offer anything. Your presence alone is enough to make the relationship work.

What’s funny is many women will say that is how they feel in relationships. They say they give, give, give. They pour their heart and souls out into a man and get nothing in return.

Yet, the only reason the relationship exists is because the man made it happen. It was his commitment that made it happen.

On the other hand, many men will say they give, give, give. Men go out and receive hard earned money in exchange for their mental or physical labor. After receiving their money, women expect men invest that money into her. Since money is for investing, what is his return for his investment? In exchange, he gets something she received for free. In most cases, the man’s human needs go unnoticed. How is that possible? How can 2 people claim they are doing all the giving and receiving very little?

Is it possible both are getting back an exact reflection of what they give? Or do people have such fantasies about relationships that their expectations have nothing to do with a relationship? Or is it that they have no clue what they have to give in order to receive the fantasy expectations they have?

Appointments – Manage Your Time Better At Home to Be Effective

What would happen to you if your home life was more organized than it is right now? Can work-life balance be achieved? What are the tools at our disposal? Could scheduling appointments and keeping them at home help us save time and prioritize?

What is the challenge we face? I sometimes find that time spent at home can be the busiest time, especially in the times we live in. Imagine someone working from home, home-schooling children, and sometimes even doing a side hustle. Imagine also the full-time home-based entrepreneur. How do they manage to do all they need to do in a day?. We are living in a time when many entrepreneurs and even company employees have adopted work- at – home culture. This comes with its challenges as the lines become blurred between home and work. These blurred lines and constraints on the limited resource called time result in over-worked, under-rested, burnt-out individuals. Whilst good time management has been encouraged and indeed, embraced in the workplace, I believe more needs to be done in changing the mindset for the elusive work-life balance to be achieved.

What are the tools at our disposal? To manage time effectively at home, there are many interventions one can employ including setting goals for the day, prioritizing wisely, setting a time limit for every task, organizing oneself, and instituting the discipline of appointments. Yes, an appointment at home! We can spend time pontificating on the pros and cons of each intervention, however, I believe we need to focus on appointments and see how this can powerfully change the course of one’s day regardless of whether it’s a workday or weekend. Life is busy as it is without any intrusions. The question is how do you handle the one who announces that they are at the gate. These can be friends, neighbors, a salesman of some product you do not even need. I am not promoting regimentation here but rather a culture of filling your day with what’s important. Everything that we succeed at is because we carefully plan and execute it. I am a firm believer that you cannot manage time if you do not manage yourself thus I implore you to incorporate planning and appointments into your repertoire. I am not talking about something I do not do. I have to achieve many things in a day therefore I set appointments with my work, others, and myself.

Could scheduling appointments and keeping them on the home front help us save time and prioritize? Whereas we have established that it is a normal business practice to set appointments and keep them, we need to abandon the liberal open-door policy of allowing all and sundry to have access to us as and when they please on the home front. Please understand where I am coming from. We each have greatness within us but for us to achieve it we need to culture great habits. Employing the use of appointments at home and seeing only those people you had agreed to see removes non-essential encounters especially during the most productive hours. I know this will vary with culture, geographical region, or even level of affluence, whether you live in a low density or high-density residential area, but doesn’t negate the need to be organized and effective. Controlling access determines how organized you are and how well you will work and rest when the time for scheduled rest comes.

What do we need to do differently? We need to be disciplined and diligent, learn to say no, now is not a good time, let’s make an appointment for next week. What are the benefits of this approach? You are not always fire-fighting to meet deadlines, You are not always tired because you have not taken time out to rest. You have set aside enough time to spend with your loved ones or a loved one. If you are a busy person, I am sure you appreciate what I am saying. Whether it’s time to work uninterrupted, family time, or “me-time”, it takes some kind of order to enjoy it.

I am not saying that those that come unannounced are bad people. No, not at all, they probably are people you enjoy spending time with. Nevertheless, there must be prior communication so that you can attend to your visitor(s) when it is convenient for both you and them. It can be quite disrupting and a whole day can just pass by without achieving anything that you had planned to do.

As we grow older we begin to appreciate that rest and recovery need to be scheduled. The fact that I am relaxing doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything to do. One therefore cannot assume that just because you are at home you are available. Maybe you have scheduled that time to rest. That is important. You need to make an appointment with yourself, spouses need to also set aside time for each other. Parents need to schedule a time to spend with their children. When you have some sort of order in your life you determine who sees you and who you see. It also means that your relationships will be healthy and that makes you a happier person.

In conclusion, I believe that the work-life balance can be achieved. There are many tools at our disposal just like it is in the workplace.I believe we could do more and be happier if we are disciplined enough to make only the commitments we can keep.I am certain that setting appointments and keeping them at home help us save time and prioritize.