Who pays for tourists to go?

July 3, 2009

My post on the sign on the door of a Singapore loo has generated comments  about who should pay for public loos.

This is one thing I don’t mind being rated for. Like a lot of country people, I use public loos in town when I’m at home. People who live in town might not need them in their own town but if they travel at all they must use them in other places paid for by other people.

The alternative to ratepayer funding is for someone to run it as a business.  The one in Singapore was a pay-to-go loo and I’ve encountered ones where you not only pay to go, you also pay per sheet of paper.

But I suspect that only works where there’s a high volume of users and no minimum wage.

The other option is for businesses to provide them for customers, as many do.

That may help attract custom, but not all travellers want to eat, drink  or buy everytime they need a loo.

The other point to consider when wondering who should fund loos, is what people would do if they couldn’t find a loo and the consequences of that justify public funding for me. It’s enough of a problem in the coutnry or bush, I don’t want to think about what might happen if their were no easily accessible public loos in towns.


Few signs of recession in Singapore

July 2, 2009

Singapore  in 1982 was an eye opener for me on my first overseas trip.

My brother was based here with the New Zealand army and showed me not just the tourist attractions but some of the local sights too.

In those days New Zealand was highly regulated with lots of tariffs and import controls so the tour also included some retail therapy.

Nearly 30 years later, shopping isn’t such an attraction, but there were a lot of sales, the only sign we noticed that the recession has hit this country. 

Apart from that, the thing which struck us was how clean the streets are. High fines, imprisonment and even the lash are very steep punishments for minor crimes but the streets not only looked pristine, they felt very safe.


If you need a haircut in Singapore . . .

July 2, 2009

. . .  I can recommend one.

A much needed haircut was one of the items on my to-do list which didn’t get done before leaving home.

With a couple of hours to kill before meeting friends for dinner I went in search of a hair salon in Singapore. I had the luck to find one which gave me the best hair wash I’ve ever had.

It took more than 15 minutes, involved a lot of scalp massage and finished with a hot towel round the neck.

Bliss.

The stylist then took over and spent the best part of 45 minutes trimming, drying and trimming some more. It cost only $S50 which is less than I’ve paid for a haircut and wash which takes half the time at home.

If you have a spare hour in Singapore and your hair needs attention I can recommend Jessie at the Jiwon Hair Salon, 501 Orchard Road.


They’re eating our cheese here

July 2, 2009

The breafast buffet at the Regent Hotel in Singapore had a delicious array of food from just about every corner of the world, inclduing New Zealand.

There was kiwifruit which wasn’t unexpected and among the cheeses from Europe was a Whitesone aged Airdale.


Intermittent transmission

June 30, 2009

My farmer and I are away for a sunshine fix which may result in posts at odd times and a reduction in posting.

It was trying to snow at home yesterday.

We’re expecting it to be a little warmer where we’re going:  a night in Singapore, two in Barcelona then back to Vejer de la Frontera where we spent three months in 2005 before meeting friends for a walking tour which starts in Milan and finishes in Verona.


USA backs out of FTA

March 8, 2009

Remember the excitement which greeted the announcement that the USA was going to enter mulitlateral free trade negotiations with New Zealand?

Well, take the champagne out of the chiller, because TVNZ reports they’re back tracking .

The Obama administration has sought to indefinitely delay the so-called Trans Pacific Partnership talks due to get underway in Singapore later this month.

They were expected to strike a trade deal between the US, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

The postponement is to give time for the US to select a new trade representative.

This is a serious blow not just to New Zealand’s hope for improved access to US markets but to all who’re working towards global free trade.

As Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said when reacting to the anouncement the USA was going to join the Trans pacific Partnership:

“Moves to negotiate multilateral agreements with likeminded countries by the United States, sends a clear signal to the WTO to get Doha back on track. 

The indefinite delay shouldn’t derail the Doha negotiations but it could result in much slower progress.

UPDATE: goNZofreakpower asks if this means we can can  section 92A?


ASEAN FTA opens market of 500m

February 28, 2009

Trade Minister Tim Groser has signed a Free Trade Agreement with 10 Asian nations.

They are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia and these 10 members of ASEAN – Association of South East Asian Nations – have a total population of more than 500 million which is a big market for New Zealand produce.

While applauding this I do wonder about the time, effort and expense involved in these sorts of agreements when the greater good would be better served by world-wide free trade.

Given the slow progress of the WTO I realise that it’s important to keep working on these smaller deals which may well be stepping stones to the big goal of full free and fair trade.

That will only come when all the protectionist barriers are dismantled so all countries open their borders to allow trade with all other countries. If there’s a silver lining to the GFC it might just be that more countries find they can no longer afford subsidies and other anti-competitive measures.


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