Shift towards mechanised society should be gradual

I support Mr Chan Kar Heng's point ("Don't be so quick to go cashless"; Nov 9) that Singapore is heading too quickly towards a cashless culture and implementing policies without addressing the concerns of the masses.

I had a terrible experience dealing with this issue a few months ago.

Being an international student, I needed to take care of several administrative matters, such as applying for my student pass.

The process of getting the pass was very troublesome.

An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority staff member informed me of a machine through which I could make payment.

To my inconvenience, the machine accepted only debit and credit cards. However, these were not items I possessed at the time.

I had to scurry about, and eventually borrowed a card from a generous stranger.

Not everything should be automated.

Procedures which are sensitive and need analytical responses should be handled by people.

Furthermore, in a society such as Singapore, not everyone - the elderly, for instance - can use machines effectively.

My hope is that policymakers and government bodies will start considering the drawbacks of being a fully mechanised society.

The Government needs to weigh the pros and cons and hear the people's voices before implementing policies.

If necessary, the move towards a mechanised society should be introduced gradually, so that the masses have time to adapt and get acquainted with the technology.

Mario Bernardi