High prices mar festive atmosphere

Recently, I visited various stalls in Chinatown and was shocked by the exorbitant prices of the merchandise.

For instance, a simple decorative gadget of a cat with a waving hand was priced at $16.80.

At the River Hongbao, an outdoor meal of laksa and a stick of five curry fishballs sold at a makeshift stall cost $10 in all.

Such high prices mar the festive atmosphere and mood.

Why were things so expensive? Were the vendors aiming to make a handsome profit, or did they need to recoup huge expenses incurred by rental costs?

Ultimately, consumers were the ones who bore the brunt of it.

I hope organisers of future Chinese New Year events will reform the system so as to benefit the public.

They should put a cap on the prices of all merchandise and food sold.

Stalls should also be allotted by balloting rather than being awarded to the highest bidder.

Teo Kok Seah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'High prices mar festive atmosphere'. Print Edition | Subscribe