Before I was one of We The Citizens

When I was enrolled in primary school, one of the first things taught was the National Pledge. It was like any other song/poem/story/dance taught at that young age, and I took to learning the words with gusto.

It was only when I was in Primary Four that I learned I had not been a citizen of Singapore. That year (1979), my parents took my brother and I down to Empress Place, I think it was, and I don’t remember if we swore an oath of allegiance or said the pledge, but I was given a Certificate of Citizenship then. I felt slightly guilty but mostly confused that I had been wrongfully saying the pledge all those years, calling myself one of Singapore’s citizens, disregarding race, language and religion and helping to build a democratic society in primary school.

I know I’m not alone in saying that back in those days, we were a bunch that mixed around a lot more. I know a smattering of Malay, Tamil, Mandarin and dialect, and have school friends across every race, color and religion. We knew some words of the pledge because we lived it. We didn’t need one day of the year to promote racial harmony, or a few minutes at NDP to take a moment to reflect on the pledge.

But I guess now we might – so they’ve put in giant Helvetica/Arial letters across the Marina Bay/Bras Basah area, the words of our pledge. The words that resonate with me are still “Regardless of race, language or religion”, because that’s the bedrock of what this country ought to be. Find yours at the various installations around Marina Bay, and check out instagram photos tagged with #pledgesg. Shoot yours on Instagram and add the tag #pledgesg and share it with everyone.

And if you have a story or a reflection to share about the national pledge, visit the Pledge.sg site to submit it.

(c) Aik Beng Chia

UOB Mobile App lets you send cash to people

Quite a while ago myself and a bunch of people were treated to a preview of UOB’s mobile banking app. Most banks in Singapore have adopted mobile banking in one way or another. (There are some banks which still haven’t grasped this, or are unable to – and their idea of mobile banking is to make sure you are mobile enough to run from branch to branch).

UOB’s great bell and whistle is to enable users to send cold hard cash to other people, even if they’re not UOB customers, and even if they don’t have an ATM card.

The recipient has to have his/her IC No. registered in your list of transferees on your internet banking first, so you can’t add someone on the fly and send them money. This puts paid to my main concern that loan sharks and other undesirable people might use this to their advantage.

The one scenario where sending cash could be really useful is when you forget your wallet, together with cash and ATM card, and you really really need to buy something before going home. You just have to send yourself money. Problem solved.

The blog Fash-Eccentric has outlined the steps needed to do this, so I won’t go into the details.

What’s quite fun to play with, however, is the app’s augmented reality UOB card promotions finder. If you’re out about town, you simply turn on the feature, use your phone like a scanner to locate eateries with UOB discounts:

As you can see, Li Bai Restaurant is in my cereal box, and The Song Of India is sandwiched next to my bread bin.

UOB Mobile Banking App is available for iOS and Android.