SINGAPORE: Yet another individual took to social media to complain about the high cost of a simple beverage on Tuesday (Oct 10) after being charged S$3 for a cup of coffee. He even posted a picture of his receipt as proof.

A netizen who goes by the name Paul Anthony MusicHaven Soh on Facebook wrote on the COMPLAINT SINGAPORE page, “Can someone explain to me, why a simple cup of kopi o kosong costs 3 bucks?! (receipt on right),” adding that he had the beverage at Heavenly Wang cafe.

Kopi o kosong is the simplest of coffee beverages, a no-frills cup of black coffee with no sugar. Interestingly, Alliance Coffee said in September last year that as of December 2021, Kopi o kosong cost about S$1.08 per cup. In 2016, however, Kopi o kosong sold for an average of just 70 cents a cup. Inflation (which has finally begun to level off) notwithstanding, it’s not a surprise that Mr Paul was shocked at the cost of a simple cup of black coffee.

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Mr Paul’s post has been shared a number of times and has also been widely commented on, with many netizens expressing their opinion that food and drinks nowadays have become much more expensive, sometimes even prohibitively so, even in places where one can normally buy affordable food, such as coffee shops and hawker stalls. But some were shocked that a cup of black coffee now costs S$3, while others joked about Heavenly Wang cafe’s “heavenly” prices, saying the cafe is now pricier than Kaya Toast or Ya Sun.

Kopi o kosong, along with Kopi C, teh tarik, and kaya toast, are part and parcel of the traditional kopitiam culture in Singapore, where everyday people could have these for breakfast and then simple meals later in the day, all at an affordable price. Hopefully, prices won’t skyrocket too much due to inflation, high rental prices and other factors, crowding out an important part of life in Singapore.

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As popular blogger and doctor Leslie Tay once said, “In Western countries, they have pubs; in Singapore, we have kopitiams. The kopitiam is the center of life for many Singapore neighbourhoods. You can sit at the kopitiam and watch the old men sitting around for hours, drinking beer and talking, playing a game of checkers.”

The Independent Singapore has reached out to Mr Paul, as well as to Heavenly Wang cafe, for comment. /TISG

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