“Everyday Come” or “天天来” coffee shop

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Last evening, few of us were at Blk 476 Tampines St 41 “Everyday Come” or “天天来” coffee shop. This is the first time I’ve been there. The lady proprietress, namely Mdm Bee of the Tze Char stall is a good friend of Freddie.

Mdm Bee currently runs three Tze Char outlets in different parts of Singapore. Freddie is one the many regular customers of this coffee shop Tze Char stall.

Since Freddie’s main hobby is to buy freshly caught fish from those fishermen in Changi Village, he would park some of the excess fish in Mdm Bee’s fridge. That’s after having generously distributed those fish, like Santa Claus to his siblings, relatives and friends. Whenever Freddie is in the mood for a drink, he would drop by Mdm Bee’s coffee shop and request that those fish parked inside the fridge to be cooked and consumed in the coffee shop. Of course, Freddie usually pays Mdm Bee for the fish and food preparation.

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Four dishes were immediately whipped out from Mdm Bee’s kitchen – a huge fish brought here earlier by Freddie, a vegetable dish, black sauced pork leg and spring rolls. Freddie ordered half a dozen of beer for all of us.

The whole place is an open food court right in the middle between two blocks of HDB flats. Two big coffee shops – Chinese and Muslim coffee shops anchored at each opposite block of flats at the fringe of the open space facing each other. You could see all kinds of customers dinning there. We all got along fine with our own friends or family members enjoying a meal or beer nestled and hidden between two HDB block of flats. So much vibrancy and hive of activity in such a small compact place. You can’t see it from the main road until you walk into it. It’s so inconspicuous from the outside but so obvious as you walk nearer to that hidden food court.

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In between her brisk business orders, Mdm Bee would drop by to chit chat with us. According to her, there is a famous local blogger – which I shall not mention here, demanded $8,000 to write a detailed blog about her Tze Char business. That blogger promises to write glowingly and promote Mdm Bee’s Tze Char stall if she is willing to pay $8,000. Wow, it’s equivalent to my 3 months pay!

I told Mdm Bee that I should blog full time on food and go around collecting thousands of dollars. No need to work 9 hours a day driving trains! KNN! That local blogger thought money drop from the sky is it? I assured Mdm Bee that I would blog her Tze Char stall for free. No need to pay me. I regretted saying that cuz when I wanted to pay for the food, Mdm Bee refused to accept any payment. Alamak! As friends, I do not wish to take advantage of her generosity. Sometimes, if we patronize friends’ shops, we just want better value for our money and not end up being over-charged, we would be very satisfied.

Later when the crowd thinned out, Mdm Bee sat down on our table to chit chat. It’s here that I learnt about her frustrations and challenges in running more than three Tze Char outlets. She virtually works her ass out sleeping only few hours a day with so much problems and nitty issues facing her. The pressure to bring in the minimum income or she would go bust paying her workers and coping with high rentals would really deter anyone from taking up her line. If she didn’t tell me some of her problems, I would have thought that money is easily made and her life is a bed of roses.

Mdm Bee is a typical Singaporean working very hard for her money. She is against all those new citizens pushing up property prices and causing so much social divide in our country. Of course, PM’s recent declaration of 6 million population and that retard’s statement on national TV widely reported in the local Chinese newspapers that $3,000 can’t find any local dishwasher were hot topics we discussed about.

Mdm Bee says that she would have to employ two locals if she were to get a Malaysian worker. She would need to employ 10 locals to get a PRC worker. On top of the quota, she would have to pay cash $500 (next month it’s $600) per foreign worker to MOM. So many locals and Malaysians are quoting the $3,000 a month dishwasher statement that she is having a hard time gettiing locals or foreigners to work for her. They demand the equivalent but not realising all the attached terms and conditions. That statement by that retard really hurt her business or "害死人"so she says.

Mdm Bee says that if she and other Tze Char stall operators have to pay highly for her workers, the resulting high costs will be passed on to the consumers. Cooked food will not be that cheap anymore. She agrees that the government should allow lots of work permit workers but not approving so much new citizens. When we heard that, we counter Mdm Bee that the government wants her to employ more locals by increasing the foreign worker levy and quota. The government does not want you to employ more foreigners at the expense of locals.

Mdm Bee challenged us to get for her more local workers. But if every local comes to her demanding $3,000 salary, she would have to close shop! She quoted a normal Malaysian worker with work permit working for about 10 hours a day paid $1,300 plus $500 levy. That is about $1,800. Mdm Bee still has to provide housing accommodation which is not cheap due to high property prices and also food for that worker. Total costs are more than $2,000. Mdm Bee does not mind paying about $1,800 to a local – which is higher than the starting pay of train drivers or bus drivers. At least there is no paper work or foreign worker agency involved even though she will still need to pay CPF for that local worker. Foreign workers need not pay CPF.

Next month. the worker levy will go up to $600! Life is hard for her and hard times will be getting harder.

It seems that eking out a decent living in our globalized economy is a daily struggle. Wonder no more why bringing up more children is a challenge few would dare undertake.

PS: Freddie’s good friend, Leonard specially came down to meet me. He’s one of the many loyal followers of this blog. Nice meeting him.

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Mdm Bee with Freddie

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About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Singaporean Chinese living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I also share interesting jokes, stories or anecdotes and observations on my blog. Thanks for visiting.
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28 Responses to “Everyday Come” or “天天来” coffee shop

  1. NUSboy says:

    The irony of the manpower issue. Too many complain social issue, too little, business complain. Either way the government will get shot on both sides.

    • Yes. It’s a dilemma indeed. The govt is caught in-between two groups. But we all agree that that the influx of new citizens is getting out of hand. Didn’t ex-MP Maidin’s open letter say so? He quoted Arab countries with lots of foreign workers but no citizenships for them.

      • NUSboy says:

        Yup, agreed. Perhaps that could be a method.

        But i feel that somehow or another 2 issues are being jumbled up. First is manpower issue, the other is birthrate issue. I feel that there should be enough people to take up jobs singaporeans can’t fill, but the government in the past few years may somehow thought it convenient to ” shun bian” take them in as citizen and hence social problems as got into this whole whack.

        • Singaporeans don’t mind about having more work permit holders amongst us but strongly take issue with new citizens pushing up property and COE prices. Be clear about the facts.

          • NUSboy says:

            Yet these 2 issues are frequently packaged together and discussed about as if there is no distinction isn’t it? How many speak about these 2 issues separately?

            The most common reply to the societal problem of foreign immigrants is that we should restrict number of foreigners entering singapore. How many would say we should reduce the number of PRs and citizenship granted?

            You have read enough from the net to know that somehow or another, people don’t talk about foreigners snapping up property without taking a shot in accusing them of stealing jobs from locals. Or has the opinions on the net shifted so radically so suddenly?

        • Incorporating foreigners as PRs and citizens is not a “shun bian” thing but something done with deliberate planning to quickly fill up our vacant HDB units and create demand for even more BTO projects. Work permit holders generally have little or no chance of ever becoming PRs or citizens.

  2. Expensive price says:

    Gintai
    U r a blessed man with good friends with generosity. Methinks u sud continue blogging but leave out all comments about SMRT or trains – this maybe spruce worth paying as u bring the plight of the little plain folks who occasionally get mangled by insensitive and oppressive little non civil servants who impede rather to help us make the best home.
    Do continue blessing others with the voice that you have been given

  3. Ace says:

    There are quite a fair bit of Singaporeans who are above 55 and are unemployed and may be suitable to do cooking or other jobs at the tze char stalls. If employing Malaysian need to pay more than $2,000 (include salary, levy and accomodation), I think to solve the problem, government remove CPF contribution for this group of people. That way, employers can pay $2,000 to Singaporeans and do away with the hustle face with ICA and MOM and at the same time create jobs for Singaporeans. It is a crazy policy to increase the CPF for this group of people!

    When jobs go to foreigners, a large portion of what they earn is remitted to their home country so only a portion of their income flows back to the economy. The reverse is true for Singaporean workers. Which is better for Singapore?

    • Foreigners on work permit passes do not pay CPF. Only locals and PRs need to pay CPF both sides. Correct me if I’m wrong. But those above 55 yrs will have to pay much lesser CPF – both ways. Aged 55 yrs – Boss pays 10.5% and worker pays 13% CPF. Total is 15%! Why don’t you do all of us a great favor including this govt by proving Mdm Bee wrong if only you could just bring all of them to her Tze Char stall?
      If you can do that, you will make so many ppl happy. Mdm Bee, those unemployed older workers and the govt! Mdm Bee can make more money, older workers get employed and the govt won’t lose votes! Pls do that, will you?

      http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/Members/Gen-Info/Con-Rates/ContriRA

      • Correct. I don’t need to pay CPF for workers on work permit or dependant pass. Bringing Singaporeans into any line of work in the service or F&B industries will be “challenging” and that’s an understatement.

  4. agongkia says:

    At age 55 with a salary of 1 K ,boss pay S$78,(7.8%)employee pay 117(11.7%) Total 195
    1.5K boss pay S$158 (above 10%)employee pay 195. Total 353
    4.5% or 10.5% is misleading.

  5. Claudia Chia says:

    I am generally ok with foreign workers working for us but cant stand so many PRs/new citizens. By the way, I think the PRs are the ones snatching jobs, etc from local Singaporeans and not foreign workers.

  6. Dave says:

    Gintai, for everyone’s sake you should actually publish who the food blogger really is. There are a few food bloggers out there whom I really enjoy their articles, and seemed that they blog for the passion of Singaporean food. I will feel damm disgusted if it is one of them trying to profit excessively. Exposing this blogger will also vindicate the others rather than doubting the authenticity of all the food bloggers. I do understand that bloggers should be rewarded for their good quality articles, but $8000??? Its obvious that somebody is just in for the money.

  7. The says:

    Is that the same Freddie Tan who likes to play golf at the “Commando” course near Changi Village?

  8. Lohcifer says:

    Some bloggers are nothing but opportunistic scum bags. Because their blogs get read they ask businesses for money so they will put up a favorable post. And they get a free meal too. All looking rather innocent and commercial-free – including many food blogs. So don’t believe everything you read.

  9. aaaaa says:

    At least you get $3+K driving MRT trains. I just get $1.6K gross with 15 yrs working experience and diploma. Working with 70% foreigners in white-collar job category. All the degree holders here are foreigners — mainly india and filipino, some china and burma — and the company only pays them $2K to $2.5K max on S-Pass. No local S’porean degree holder will work for such pay and on min 55 hrs a week and compulsory 5.5 days workweek. Even the foreigner degree holders will job-hop after 6-12 months. Turnover is crazy here. All those talk by ministers and MPs that foreigners are hungrier and more hard-working and more humble etc are all BULLSHIT. All the foreigners I work with whether Work Permit holder or S-Pass or degree holder etc all the same as any S’porean — they just want as much salary as possible, and work as little as possible. They just grab jobs at my company becoz that’s the only way to get into S’pore. Once over here, they almost immediately start to send out resumes to get higher-paying jobs. Many find another job and leave before even the 3-months probation is over. Jobs are being taken away from S’poreans (especially those 35+) by all sorts of people — PRs, Work Permit holder, S-Pass, E-Pass, and yes — younger Sinkies.

    • How you know I’m getting so much? You are welcome to join us since you envy my job. We got hard time retaining staff due to shift work and irregular working hours. I already stated clearly that Mdm Bee is willing to pay Singaporeans $1,800! Bus drivers starting pay is $1,625. If you include shift allowance and OT, easily than than $2,000. Instead of complaining of your $1,600 gross pay, why don’t you join them? The quota and foreign worker levy are there to ensure that locals will get employed. Like what Mdm Bee says, they are also tightening it. (foreign worker levy from $500 increase to $600 next mth) If you feel discriminated either you join Mdm Bee’s offer of $1,800 ( not include OT ) or lodge a complt with MOM. I’m sure they will look into it. I can also blog about your grievances if you dare reveal your name? Let’s do something instead of cursing. Will it help? Will it solve your bitterness and hatred?

      http://www.paycheck.sg/resources/singapore-public-transport-sector-salary/

  10. Bluex Spore says:

    Langgar Gintai! Are you saying we should continue to let businesses like Mdm Bee’s hire cheap foreign workers to keep their costs low? Or should businesses and consumers shoulder the reality that costs ned to do up so that Singaporeans are paid a salary that can sustain their families and leave some savings for retirement? What is it that you are trying to say? Really Langgar!

    • NUSboy says:

      What has cheap foreign worker got to do with singaporean families’ savings? That’s quite a bit of logical leaps made isn’t it.

      • Bluex Spore says:

        Cheap foreign workers mean low salaries for Singaporeans. Low salaries mean low savings.

        • NUSboy says:

          For mdm Bee case, 1800 dollar for singaporean not enough is it?

          • Expensive price says:

            Please volunteer to pay more to likes of Mdm Bee – we are the consumers and what we are willing to pay will ultimately determine our own salaries – unless we get out of whack with our pricing and non competitive. Solving ones own problem creates another problem for our Neighbour eg Shopping in HK is generally 25-35 cheaper for electronics, camera and branded – everybody does dat, no more malls, retail jobs etc….
            market forces are best arbiter of value – govt intervention can really screw things very bad – check low interest caused by QE – pensioners need to work until they drop dead as their nest eggs are not generating anymore cash flows due to low interest payments.

          • Bluex Spore says:

            What are the terms and working conditions? Or is this another case of $3000 sushi dishwasher job? We need to think, and think more deeply.

          • Pls don’t just think or ask with your keyboard. You are given the exact address, detailed descriptions of the coffee shop with pics of it and also pic of Mdm Bee. Make a trip there to find out the details if you are really keen. I clearly stated that you can’t expect $3,000 dishwasher pay on my article. Remember, no one owes you a living. No free lunch. Go out there to look for meal ticket on a square!

          • Bluex Spore says:

            Just using brain to think will tell you that things are not so simple. A hawker centre dishwasher job pays $800-900 a month. Did you just take Mdm Bee’s word for it because she happended to sit beside you and talk to you while you eat at her stall? Do you really think that hawker stalls pay their helpers the same salary as what SMRT pays its bus drivers? Use brain to think, use brain to think. Langgar, really langgar!

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