The Singapore Double Take


IT’S been quiet out there. 

There are dinosaurs roaming parts of Singapore. Near Changi. Where the planes are lined up like patient pteranodon. 

And many are even boarding dusted off Singapore Airline Airbus A380 planes just to eat an overpriced meal. And they are flocking to Jewel, but unable to proceed any further, let alone take to the sky.

So, let’s look inland for solutions. Re-see things we’ve been taking for granted; experiences we’ve grown numb to; new things we’ve always wanted to do….

We zoom in to Associate Prof Nitin Pangarkar’s room for a chat about our journey of self-discovery. There are birds chirping and I sautéed this exchange between myself and the Academic Director of the MBA and NUS-HEC Paris MBA Programmes: Department of Strategy & Policy, NUS Business School. 

Whoa. That designation alone would need a few business cards.

Our banter touches on the SingapoRediscovers vouchers and I very much took to Prof’s not merely intellectual lightness but his benevolent gentlemanly ways.

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Is there an even better solution aside from the digital vouchers?

Prof Nitin: The negative effect if you’d call it that. 

If cash were given instead of the SingapoRediscovers vouchers, people would just keep it. The digital voucher is a good idea because it makes people spend and helps businesses. 

It’s a good thing. 

They could even spend extra cash on top of the vouchers. 

The normal tendency is not to just buy a ticket. You spend a little bit more on food, souvenirs. 

It could be a bigger effect than S$320million, which is the total value of the vouchers. 

But realistically you can’t get to Singapore’s projected GDP pre COVID-19 of about S$500billion in 2020. 

The government is doing all it can with these vouchers at a right time when community cases are close to zero.

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What economic effect would the vouchers have on the economy?

Prof Nitin: It’s not going to make up for the lost revenue in tourism. 

It’s a little bit of help to some, to pay families and to some businesses. 

That S$100million will be spread across three hundred partners. But you’re giving people choices. One would choose A another one B third one C. It will get fragmented. The government is doing whatever it can which is good. 

It might pay salaries for the tourism industry, something is better than nothing.

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