Monday, 12 May 2008

The Taiwanese Mochi Merry-go-round

Chinatown Chinese New Year Bazaar

The stall who overcharged their customers

Letter sent to Mayor Heng Chee How when I have exhausted all ways to find the organisers of the bazaar.

01/23/2006 10:08 PM

Dear Mayor Heng Chee How,

I am writing this letter to you because you are the Mayor of Central CDC, it is difficult to locate the organizers of the above event, you were present at its light-up, most importantly, you know the organisers.

I don’t like to go to Chinatown’s annual bazaar to shop as I have been cheated & overcharged a few times. Buy Bak Kwa, 1kg become 700g when I weighed it at home. Cookies were mouldy when opened…..etc. This year, my son requested to go because MM Lee did the light-up for it. It must be good lah!

On 17/1/2006, I bought some Taiwanese Mochi from a stall. 100g for S$1.80. An elderly lady before me was taken aback when the hawker charged her S$21 for her bag of sweets. I was surprised & remarked to my son that it was costly. The hawker heard & pretended to be in shock when he weighed my bag of sweets. He charged me S$10 for it. I didn’t see his weighing scales as it was inside his stall. I noticed most of the stalls either placed the scales facing them or in an obscure corner.

When I got home, I weighed it & found that it weighed only 425g – which should cost S$7.65 – I was overcharged by nearly 31%! I pity the poor old lady.

I tried to locate the organizers to lodge a complaint by calling news hotlines, they refused to give me the contact numbers although their reporters had reported the event extensively. I checked the internet, no result.

I called Kreta Ayer CC. A woman & later a man took my call. They told me, ‘Call CASE lor. We cannot help. We don’t know who is the organizer.’ Hello! The annual event is held right in their constituency for years. MM Lee coming this year, they don’t know the organisers? Usually a grassroot or CCC member would sit in the organizing committee.

The man gave me an email address at my insistence, I sent my complaint & photo of the stall to it. Until now, nothing is heard from anyone.

Every year the hawkers find it so easy to cheat, because it takes humongous effort to make a complaint against them. Where to complain? Who to complain? Who cares even if you complain?

Sir, many tourists go to Chinatown. Many elderly folks go to Chinatown. These are the easy targets. What more this year, MM Lee was brought in to promote the event. The hawkers would sharpen their knives for a good killing.

I don’t know if you are going to take action or not, I am taking action to uncover the dishonest hawkers, to be cheated repeatedly is stupid, but to keep quiet is more stupid.

Best regards,

Jayne Goh

c.c. Dr Lily Neo – MP Jalan Besar GRC


The hardworking Mayor replied that same night.

Monday, January 23, 2006 11:18:53 PM

Dear Ms. Goh,

Thank you for writing to me.

I have sent your feedback on to CASE for their attention, and has requested CASE to get in touch with you with regard to this case of alleged over-charging. I have also copied the referral email to Dr. Lily Neo, the MP overseeing the Kreta Ayer area for her information.

May I wish you and family a Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling New Year.

With best regards.

Heng Chee How


How do these MPs fare when dealing with complaints from the public?

Hear the complaints.

........... to be continued.....