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17 June 2005

Looking In From The Outside

Now that $traits Times is off-limits to the rest of us poor people... I have no choice but to turn to TodayOnline for my daily fix of home news.

Petrol Price War

The first article that caught my eye was about the fierce competition between the petrol companies that is starting to get out of hand. With one company trying to do one up on the other's discount. So much so that they are starting to look a bit foolish. But hey, got discount leh!

Too bad, I am away from Singapore and had sold my car since. Otherwise I would have loads of fun playing Scavenger Car Rally for the bestest petrol deal. Say, how much does a litre of petrol cost these days anyway? S$1.50 for Octane 98? So if the discount is 23% off then it should work out to be around S$1.12. Right?

Forgive me for asking a stupid question here. Why can't they just drop the bladdy price to S$1.12 instead of having to jack up to such a high number and then bringing it down again? Very fun is it? Or is there some kind of a law that prevents them from doing so? If yes, then is it me or do I smell price fixing here?

For a country that prides itself in efficiency. This is certainly quite contradicting, isn't it? How about this for a suggestion. Why don't the petrol companies scrap all these discount schemes and just sell them at whatever the eventual target price was supposed to be? Let's lose the marketing advertisements, signboards and what nots as well, then pass on the savings to the consumers? I bet there is another 10 cents for all of us from there. No? Then lose the marketing people, since we don't need anymore of their hare-brained ideas, then perhaps Yes?

Then again, what do I know? I am just a simple bloke and I don't even own a car.

Sports vs God

It warms my heart to learn that we have discovered not one but a pair of sports prodigies. Young athletes with the potential of greatness in the triathlon event. It's being quite a while since we last had anyone new to fly the Singapore flag proudly in the international sport arena. Yes, I think we have continuity.

Then we learned that there is a snag in the training schedule. No cycling training for them on Sunday coz it's the church day with the family, which may be potentially fatal to their sports careers.

"... It's a shame because both Araunah and Ornan possess the natural talent to be excellent triathletes... It's disheartening when athletes can't sacrifice for their sport..." - Stephen Lee (Honorary Secretary, Triathlon Association of Singapore)

The quotes by Stephen Lee kind of made me sit up and re-read it again. The word "shame" jumped out at me and initially I was up in arms questioning where is the "shame" in putting God and family ahead of everything else? Then it dawned on me that the "shame" refers to Lee's disappointment. Silly me.

Still it is a touchy subject when he said the word "sacrifice". It is kinda hard to make a call here. On the one hand, how do you sacrifice God? On the other hand, is Sunday the only day that we worship God?

I am sure something can be worked out between both parties. TAS has a valid point regarding the traffic condition on Sundays while I also think that church is something that doesn't take up the whole day. Surely, there is a way to fit both schedules into the Sunday? I certainly hope so.


Image credit: http://www.TodayOnline.com
- Voxeros

1. anna left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 1:23 am
The petrol price wage is new to me. Is that really Singapore? And what's the thing with 23% discount?

They expect every Singaporean to carry around a calculator....
2. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 7:24 am ::
Well, we all know that the petrol prices has been shooting up (no thanks to Bush) over the years.

With the war more or less over and life back to normal, pertrol companies, for some strange reasons, just "couldn't" revise the prices down. Instead they started throwing all sorts of discounts to acheive that. Almost like making two wrongs to get that one right.

I believe some petrol stations requires you to go the cashier to pay in order to get the discounts. So if you swipe the credit card at the pump itself, you pay the full price. Really stoopid, if you ask me.
3. kryx left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 4:32 pm
I don't think you know much much about market economics. If things were so simple like you say, we don't need economists and accountants.

The normal price is the optimal price. They can give small discounts to attract customers but at 26% discount, they are losing money. It won't last.

In fact today, many stations have already gone back to the small discounts. I think in a few days times the discount war will end. It happened before but not at such a big discount.

You don't have to cuculate yourself. The computer at the casheir will do it automatically. Don't worry - no cheating, no dishonesty.
4. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 4:55 pm :: 
kyyx: You are certainly very perceptive in your deduction that (a) I know not much of market economics and (b) I am a simple person.

Perhaps I should add an extension to my blog here.

I was thinking out loud why Singapore can't do it like other some other countries e.g. UK and US where the prices are daily rated?

I don't mean to say that there are dishonesty in the calculations in the discounts because I agree with you that it would probably be taken care of by the cashier's machine.

What I thought wrong is why jack up the pricing so high and then advertise a "big discount" machiam they are doing us such a BIG favour?

I rather they (the petrol companies) just give it to us straight i.e. if they want to sell us at $1.20 then just sell it to us at $1.20 instead of going the roundabout way of offering to take $0.30 off the $1.50 price. Then if the next day, they want to sell us at $1.25 then just sell it to us at $1.25. Quit beating the around the bladdy bush!

You follow me?

5. CiN left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 10:26 pm
regarding the athlete thing, seriously i think the association should put the trainings on Saturdays instead. or any other day but Sunday. this isn't the first case of athletes giving up their sports cuz of church. i already heard of a few in my own church, and i felt that they could have been more sensitive lo. this is how it is if they want to preserve the talents right? must it only be Sunday? no other days MEH. hahaha.
6. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 18 June 2005 10:59 pm ::
CiN: It would have been feasible it was some other event that they were training for. In their case, it's cycling. The second leg of the triathlon where it has to be done on the open road.
What not Saturday? Coz it has more traffic that Sunday which in turn poses a danger to the athletes when they are training.

This is the exact reason why I fell short of jumping down Stephen Lee's throat when he made those comments. I could see it from his point of view even though by right (for me, at least), God should come first before everything else. However, if everybody were to put their heads together, I am sure there will be a mutually agreeable solution to this.
7. Meepok left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 2:40 pm
Jay - Greetings from Melbourne. Hey, the petrol industry in S'pore is an oligopoly. All par-kart one. If one offers discount, the rest will do so in 10 min. The reason why they'd offer discounts rather than price reductions is because price reductions are more sticky. Once you give it, harder to take back than discounts. This is in marketing 101.

Re posting prices at entrances of kiosk, I wrote to ST Forum. They published my letter. But NB, none of the oily boys responded. NB.
8. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 3:29 pm :: 
MeePok: Well, yes and no. You may be right about price reduction being more sticky but that is only if the people are not used to seeing prices fluctuating. However, when people eventually get used to the idea of a daily rated pricing, then it won't be sticky anymore. It is all about expectation and perception of the consumers. This is marketing 102.

Monopoly, duopoly, oligopoly if I am not wrong are price fixing of a collusive nature. Aren't they supposed to be illegal?

Isn't that why Bill Gates kena jialat jialat antitrust lawsuit over the bundling of Internet Explorer and the Windows OS?
9. barffie left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 12:11 pm
Damn man. Was trying to go around looking for cheaper petrol. Don't have leh! Borrring!
10. JayWalk left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 1:22 pm :: 
barffie: What? You went on a Cheapest Petrol Scavenger Car Rally?? Bor jio!! But then again hor, I not in Singapore. heh heh.
11. kelawar left...
Tuesday, 28 June 2005 1:43 pm
Its a very strange public remark made by the Hon-Sec. I wonder what was he thinking of when he said those words; trying to put public pressure on the family?
12. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 28 June 2005 6:37 pm ::
kelawar: Then again, I can actually understand where he is coming from with that remark. Problem is that he could have articulated it better.
Perhaps the SSC needs somebody qualified to help with their PR spin?

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