Saturday, August 02, 2008

Aren't libraries supposed to be free?

In the words of Chow Yuen-Fatt in Pirates, "Welcome to Singapore." This is f-king ridiculous. You would think that PUBLIC libraries are meant to be free, right? Well - it is, if you're Singaporean or a permanent resident. If you're an international student or a foreigner working in Singapore - it's not!! It costs $42.80 per year + $10.50 registration fee just to borrow books!

Strangely, there's this clause that says that the library will charge an additional $10.50 if the membership expires for 6 months (see clause below). Huh? So does this mean that if I renew my annual membership within 6 months, I don't have to pay the additional $10.50? I'm assuming that they enforce the $10.50 charge in case us foreigners skip out of the country with their precious books.'s the kicker: If I left Singapore with the books, how in the world are they planning to levy the $10.50 on me? Hmm.

The registration fee of $10.50 will again be charged when a membership has expired for more than 6 months or when a member changes his status to PR before the expiration of his foreign membership. All fees paid are non-refundable.

I just did a quick check on finances and I'm soooo freakin poor. So here's the question - do I fork out $53.30 to borrow books or should I continue to buy books that I want to read when I see them? Hmm. And the library is literally one block from my workplace - I guess I can try. And Zhuang and I can always share the membership under my name :)

So to the library I will go...even though I still believe that the right to education and literature should be free, regardless of nationality.



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