Monday, December 22, 2014

Resurgence of Reputation Economy – Thanks to Social Media

In my previous blogpost on Larkin Pasar Malam(night market),  there are comments about the hygiene of those street hawkers. I have pointed out the dangers of low pay in KSL pasar malam blogpost.

Since people brought up the hygiene issue, i will blog further on why the risk nowadays are much reduced as the customers' voice are louder due to the social media tool.

After the cockroaches infestation in high class food court in Marina Bay Sands, a fatal death had resulted from a food court stall. It shows that these nice looking higher class eating places are not any better compared to street hawkers.

How can the stallholders in these high rent food courts be happy when they are slogging their asses off to pay the rentals before earning a dime?

Those street hawkers are running their own mom & pop businesses. Their mentality is different from those who just want a job & don't give a shit about anything. Those mom & pop have more at stake & more pride at what they do hence i consider them safer than corpse workers.

The hybrid regime is hugely responsible for creating all these corpserations & to think one of their men in white is shameless enough to sing the praises of mom & pop businesses in the peasant heartlands.

Older towns such as Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Redhill, Tiong Bahru & Clementi are designed with neighborhood shops.

The 2 chinese medical shops in my town at Ave 2 are fine examples of mom & pop businesses. They were there since I was a kid. To survive to this day, they need to be trusted by the nearby peasants.

Is like butcher Ah Seng in the village market of our great grandparents time. Our great grandparents weren't so mobile(no cars, no motorbikes) so people tend to do business in their locales.

What happens if butcher Ah Seng cheated a customer a few times? That cheated customer would spread the word & soon the villagers would avoid Ah Seng like the plague. How can Ah Seng stay on to do business in the village?

As a result, close knit relationships are developed when one's livelihood depends on the 'village'. Pretty much every villager knows each other. Not to mention Ah Seng's family also live in same village.

Mom & pop medical hall shops. Kampung feeling unlike those corpse shops in malls.

Netizens reponse to that shameless minister:
All these peasant heartlands & their shops are tourists attractions. Spam so many shopping malls for fuck?

Who gives a shit about Starbucks when there are thousands in America?

Fake setup makes a mockery but at least it shows the heartland attraction to the british royal couple.

Build more shops & do away with some shopping malls?  Someone is also like me – sick of those spam shops staffed with corpse workers wearing pretty much same uniform, speaking scripted salestalk in shopping malls.

The spamming would be curtailed upon voting the white men out. Their mentality has mutated beyond recognition as i've written about in How did the Vietnam War Affect the Psyche of Singapore's Hybrid Regime?
That's the hidden cost the hybrid regime has in building those new towns. Housing prices are cheaper there but peasants are forced to pay higher prices in shopping malls or hawker centres tendered to a big corpseration like Sengkang Kopitiam Sq's Absurb Prices(blogpost) for their necessities.

Back to butcher Ah Seng, back in our great grandparents era, good & bad news don't spread far & fast. Now with Web 2.0 which is social media, businesses are forced to listen to their customers else their reputation would be tarnished.

Butcher Ah Seng would also cut the selected meat in front of you unlike the prepackaged forms in supermarkets. As such, there is transparency in how he handle the meat in front of you like the street hawkers in Msia. If you don't like his way of handling it, you can walk away.

However for supermarkets, due to its prepackaged form, one doesn't know how the meat is handled by low paid workers behind the scenes in closed factories. That's something we have to live with. Machines can do the processing but when it comes to transparency it is lacking. Same thing goes for those food courts with mostly unseen kitchens behind the stallfronts.

Hawker centre stalls or street hawkers are more open since we can see how they prepare & cook.

The sinkie businessman who can take the top honors for his foul reputation in 2014 is the mobile phone shopkeeper in Sim Lim Square. He makes his living conning tourists as locals know the first two levels of Sim Lim are to be avoided.

Do you think he can survive if the bulk of his earnings are from village locals like during our great grandparents era?

It seems his mindset is in the industrial age when our great grandparents moved out of farms/villages to go work in factories in the cities. Back then there is radio & perhaps the start of TV as broadcast medium in which the voice of the men in the street are seldom heard or if it is heard - censored. What can our great grandparents do in those days after buying a defective product or get cheated?

Big companies with the introduction of mass production can thus sell plenty of products to lots of people. Losing customers due to defective products/complaints is a minor issue with the introduction of aeroplanes & container ships giving access to even more customers in foreign lands.

He would become 'mincemeat' in our great grandparents era from the way he do business.

During the Web 2.0 era, authorities are forced to act after netizens expose the bad news else they would still be sleeping. 

Caveat About Reputation
Economist Steven Levitt mentioned a pitfall about reputation though. He use the example of the penalty kick in football. I am not a football fan but his example is easy to understand.

His example is that most penalty kicks are to the right or left of the goalpost as the kicker sought to preserve his own reputation. Hence most goalkeepers leap to the left or right.

If the kicker kick to the center where the keeper stands & the ball is stopped by the keeper, his reputation is damaged. “Why the hell you kick the ball to center where goalkeeper is?”

By kicking to the left/right, the kicker is seen as having made an effort(reputation) instead of sending the ball to where the keeper is standing. It is this preserving one's reputation mindset that made the seldom used kicking to the centre the highest probability of scoring.

Such a scenario is preserving one's own reputation while neglecting the common good which in this example is scoring a goal for the team to win the match.

Be mindful of the selfish act to preserve reputation that neglect the common good which may occur.


  1. But there must be good reasons (for PAP lah) having many shopping malls and big "corpserations" lah , and food, or rather good food at good prices for Sinkies, if need be, may not be a priority or even consideration.

    If you fail to understand this, just think Casinos. Then you will.

    1. The reasons are they are out of economic ideas & have difficulty competing with foreigners so PAP have to suck locals dry through their perverted form of state capitalism. I've written about it in 'can't compete with others...' trilogy of blogposts.