SINGAPORE - A daily highlight for Tampines resident Linda Wong, 64, is to spend about two to three hours at the coffee shop in the early morning, chatting with friends and neighbours over a cup of coffee, before picking her grandchildren from daycare.
But the rising cost of the beverage over the years has deterred some of her friends from the morning get-togethers, as they would rather stay at home alone than to burn a hole in their pockets, said Mrs Wong.
A new initiative in the Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will now allow Mrs Wong to meet her friends more often and enjoy her morning cup of coffee for 50 cents.
"Since (a cup of coffee) is quite cheap, I don't mind treating my neighbours and friends to some refreshments," said Mrs Wong, who has been living in Tampines for 32 years.
"I think this will also encourage them to come out of their homes to grab a cup of Kopi O and chit-chat with the neighbours."
Known as Project 215, the initiative has been extended GRC-wide after a successful pilot, which ran from last November to April this year and saw an average of 1,500 cups being redeemed each month.
The project is named after Tuesday (2), one cup of coffee (1) and 50 cents (5).
Starting on Tuesday and running till end-October, senior citizens can enjoy hot drinks such as Kopi, Kopi O, Teh, and Teh O and ranging from 90 cents to $1.20, at a special price of 50 cents, simply by flashing their senior citizen concession cards.
They can enjoy this discounted rate at 26 participating coffee shops and markets in Tampines GRC, including Tampines Round Market and Food Centre and Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant, between 7am and 11am every Tuesday.
The project was launched by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, together with fellow grassroots advisers to Tampines GRC, Mr Baey Yam Keng, Mr Desmond Choo, Ms Cheng Li Hui, and Mr Sin Boon Ann, at Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre on Tuesday morning (May 2).
Mr Sin, a former Tampines GRC MP, was appointed deputy chairman of the People's Action Party branch in Tampines Central after Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat suffered a stroke in May last year.
Mr Masagos pointed out that the businesses are not subsidised and their support is purely on a voluntary basis. He said: "I hope this is one way to show our kindness to our seniors, in acknowledgement of their contributions to Singapore."
Kimly Limited is one the businesses that have come on board. Three of the coffee shops it manages are part of this initiative.
Kimly director Sunny Peh, 40, said that having this offer once a week is reasonable, though the company is unsure how the 30 per cent water price hike, which will be implemented in two phases in July this year and July next year, might affect its costs in the future.
"We are not opportunists, so we have not increased our prices. We just hope to give back to society as part of our corporate social responsibility and that these little incentives for the senior citizens will be well-received," Mr Peh added.
Part of the Tampines Kindness Movement, the initiative hopes to motivate business owners to contribute to the community and encourage seniors to unwind and mingle with family, neighbours and friends, said Mr Choo, who chairs the movement.
"It is good that businesses can come in and be a part of the kindness movement, which shows that (the Tampines community) is a community that cares," he added.