SINGAPORE: Snail mail might seem like a thing of the past but for 28-year-old Sean, it’s a hobby he’s had for more than a decade.
The communications executive, who only wanted to be known by his first name, sends at least 150 cards a year, including seasonal cards for Christmas and Chinese New Year as well as special occasions like birthdays and Teachers’ Day.
But he now has to fork out an extra 20 cents to mail out each of his cards.
Postage for standard regular mail increased from 31 cents to 51 cents on Oct 9, after the Singapore Post (SingPost) cited rising costs and declining mail volume.
The last significant increase was in 2014 from 22 cents to 30 cents. On Jan 1 this year, it was raised by 1 cent.
Sean told CNA he was shocked by the latest hike. “I didn’t expect it because normally the price increase comes after a while – not less than a year after that.”
He added that the 20-cent rise was a “huge jump” compared to the 8-cent increase nine years ago.
Singapore's postage rates remain comparable to other countries after price increase, says Tan Kiat How
LETTERS TO PEN PALS
The same can be said for university student Cherlyn Koh, who has been sending letters to her pen pals since 2021.
The 19-year-old, who is in her first year at the National University of Singapore (NUS), told CNA that the price hike was “pretty sudden” and that she was upset when she heard the news.
Ms Koh’s pen pal journey started when she came across Instagram accounts that catered to those looking for other people to correspond with. She currently has pen pals from both Singapore and overseas.
She has sent more than 200 letters over the past two years. The number keeps increasing as she has made more pen pals over the years, said Ms Koh, an English language and linguistics student.
OTHER GROUPS ALSO FEELING THE PINCH
Some charity organisations and real estate agencies also had to adjust their operations after the postage hike.
Hey, You Got Mail! is a ground-up initiative started during the pandemic to alleviate social isolation among the elderly. For S$2, the non-profit group will send a greeting card to your loved ones and, at the same time, send another card to a senior in a nursing home or ageing centre to cheer them up.
But with the postage increase and the rising cost of printing cards, the team plans to increase their fee to S$3 per card, said president Robin Bae.
“With the added mailing cost, we believe a proportional price increase might be necessary to ensure our cards remain affordable, especially for our dedicated youth supporters,” Mr Bae said.
The organisation mails out about 400 cards each year including those to seniors.
“Despite the postage hike, we remain committed to our physical card outreach. However, as we navigate the post-COVID-19 new normal, we are also exploring other engagement models with socially isolated seniors,” said Mr Bae, adding that they are reaching out to the elderly at their homes or community events.