Suggestion to improve BYOB programme

Dear Madam/Sir,

I refer to “Scheme saves 5 to 6 million plastic bags a year” (Oct 31).

As an ardent supporter of the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) programme, I want to applaud NTUC FairPrice for implementing the Green Rewards Scheme.

It is the only existing scheme by supermarkets in Singapore that provides incentives to customers to use their own shopping bags.

I hope a similar scheme can be adopted by all retailers nationwide.

In light of this dream, I would like to suggest the implementation of an Enhanced BYOB Programme to all retailers for their consideration:

  1. FairPrice’s current practice is to provide a flat fee rebate i.e. S$0.10 off the total price of groceries for customers who bring their own bags and spend $10 or more.

    Retailers should consider a percentage pricing rebate instead i.e. 1% off the total price of groceries for customers who bring their own bags and spend $10 or more.

    This is because the amount spent on groceries and the number of bags used will generally rise in the same proportion.

    For example, if I were to spend S$39.90 on groceries, I would receive a S$0.40 rebate if I brought my own shopping bags.

  3. If retailers were to adopt the above suggestion, they can offset any potential financial losses by concurrently implementing the converse i.e. a 1% grocery bill levy on consumers who use plastic bags.

    This will also provide a further incentive for consumers to use their own shopping bags; most consumers will baulk at the thought of subsidising another person’s grocery shopping.

  5. Once we reach a stage where shopping bag usage is more popular than plastic bag usage, we can then revert to the S$0.10 token flat fee rebate.

    This is to continue to reward consumers who use shopping bags.

    However, the 1% grocery bill levy on consumers who use plastic bags must be maintained concurrently in order to sustain the disincentive for consumers to be environmentally unfriendly.

Plastic manufacturers need not be unduly concerned – consumers will still need to purchase plastic bags as bin liners.

Consumers also need not be unduly concerned – we can use the rebates from supermarkets to purchase our bin liners. This will allow us to appreciate the true cost of our activities on the environment.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “A 1% Bring Your Own Bag rebate, instead of 10 cents?” on 5 Nov 2012 in TODAY.)

Place youth on the right path via parental involvemen​t.

Dear Madam/Sir,

I REFER to “Military school, to curb delinquency” (Dec 6).

A military school will not meet the needs of our society, and will only result in us fighting fires as opposed to preventing them.

As part of my full-time National Service in 2002, I served as an instructor in the now-defunct Singapore Armed Forces Education Centre (SAFEC), the successor to the SAF Boys’ School.

SAFEC was an alternative educational pathway for the boys – not an institute to reform delinquent children per se.

The stories which many of the boys told me always had the same root cause: physically- or emotionally-absent parents.

The lack of parental guidance and supervision resulted in the wayward behaviour of the boys and therefore, their inability to focus on their studies.

This led to a vicious cycle of poor academic performance and further waywardness, resulting in them having to choose SAFEC over other less desirable options.

Hence, I agree with Mr Chua that the root cause of poor parenting is due to parental cluelessness and/or irresponsibility and should be dealt with in a commensurate and progressive manner as follows:

  1. First, we as members of our individual communities need to take it upon ourselves to correct inappropriate behaviour, both on the parts of the parents we know, as well as their children.
  2. Next, the ethnic and/or religious communities we belong to must step up to the plate by working with parents to implement parental-training clinics to instill appropriate values and understanding in our parents and parents-to-be.
  3. Last but not least, the government can consider instituting compulsory, co-paid parental-training programmes via the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. While tax-payers need to acknowledge the sacrifice that parents make to contribute to our Total Fertility Rate, parents also need to acknowledge that their children are a responsibility that must not be shirked.

With these measures, youth will be placed on the right path from the onset, thereby removing some part of the present and future burden of having to “steer juvenile delinquents back to the right path”.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Put youth on the right path via parental involvement” on 8 Dec 2011 in TODAY.)

Kudos for considering touch rugby.

Dear Madam/Sir,

I REFER to “No more contact rugby for primary schools?” (Sep 22).

I applaud the move to consider running both mini rugby and touch rugby competitions in primary schools in 2012.

As a sport in Singapore, touch rugby has had to live in contact rugby’s shadow for a long time. I am glad that equal focus is now being given to both sports.

I hope this focus is extended to cater to youths of both genders at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

More opportunities should be provided for our young to explore their interests and learn about their capabilities at different stages of their development.

I also look forward to a future where touch rugby is included in the calendar of the annual Inter-School Sports Competitions.

Touch rugby deserves the recognition and prestige as an established sport in its own right.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Kudos for introducing touch rugby in primary schools” on 29 Sep 2011 in TODAYonline.)