It has been a year since I received the following letter. My initial reaction was yao mo gao chor ah? Why can’t the library manage its own membership? Why must the PA get involved?
What next? Knowing Singaporeans, they would obediently change their religions if there’s only one that offers goodies. Well, it’s been a year and I’ve almost forgotten all about it. Then, the other day, while borrowing books with the NLB mobile app, I discovered that my quota for library materials had dropped from 24 to 16.
It really happened. I approached the librarian at Tampines Regional Library for assistance. I told her I do not want a PAssion card and she very helpfully “escalated” my enquiry to explore the alternatives. I was hopeful at first, but unfortunately, they made sure guys like me will have no chance at all. Through this “partnership”, they had already made sure that the library’s door to premium membership was completely shut. In other words, there is no way the library can offer you premium membership if you don’t get a PAssion card.
In another country, this would be horrifying. But in Singapore, we are used to being herded and shunted around. The authorities can close the door in one department to force you through the door of another unrelated department also under their control. Yes, everything and anything also can control. What can you do? The typical Singaporean would just suck his thumb and join PA.
I was told it’s free, but it offers no enticement to me simply because the principle is not right. Not being the typical Singaporean and being a member of the ideological minority to boot, I’m troubled thinking that if private companies try to do the same, they get accused of being anti competition. My point of contention can be summed up thus:
What are my plans? Well, my younger son still doesn’t have a library account. I didn’t set it up for him because he could borrow books using my account which used to have a 24 item quota. Once his account is set up, he’ll be able to borrow 16 items and together, we’ll be able to borrow 32 items. As for my elder son, he already has an account and he too can borrow 16 items, only that he had been using my account. I figured that if we borrowed separately, we would have a collective quota of 48 items.
Let’s not celebrate so soon. They may have some other trick up their sleeves to close yet another door. Perhaps by then, we won’t be able to use out ICs or mobile apps to borrow library books. Only the PAssion card works.