Singapore has one of the highest mobile internet penetration rates in the world. That means to say that almost everybody here on this tiny little island is on a smartphone, connected to the Internet. On top of that, we are treated to a smorgasbord of apps doing everything from the most mundane or bizarre, to the most confidential and functional.
It seems a little surprising though, that despite the buffet of apps we are treated to upon entering the app stores, our lives are still miserable when it comes to certain things.
Can apps really solve problems and make our lives easier?
Well, in my spare time, I decided to explore and compile a list of apps that I feel could potentially be game changers. Some of them are absurd. Some of them are potentially revolutionary and innovative. Some of them are disruptive. They all have one thing in common. I conceived them. Well that, and also one other thing. They aim to solve problems here and there and hopefully make your life easier.
1. Whole Day Complain – Where you get paid to do what you do best.
Singaporeans love to complain. While it may be that there actually was a completely legit reason to complain in the first place, who is actually out there hearing them out? Bus breakdowns. Train breakdowns. All sorts of breakdowns. Prata not cooked properly. Customer service did not say “Please”. Anything and everything.
Sadly, the truth of the matter is that there are only a limited number of outlets for complaining. You have platforms like The Real Singapore and The Online Citizen but these require you to write a full article. That is however, admittedly time consuming and we just don’t have the energy to outlast such an endeavor these days. For those a little lazier, you could tweet about it. But who would actually care that your coffee was too sweet?
Introducing Whole Day Complain, an app that aggregates all the complains and notifies you if it thinks you are interested to hear it out. Votes can be cast to decide the severity of a complain and conversation can be started around such trending topics.
In a profit sharing model with the developers, popular complainants with the most highly voted complains get paid via advertising money. These highly skilled complainants will also start to have their voices turned up louder while random non-legit complainants well, will remain just mere complainants.
As a viewer, you can choose to sympathize, empathize, sponsor the poor fellow, or turn a deaf ear. There is no button to do something because then we might not have anything else to complain about and needless to say, the app runs out of business.
The app follows a ranking system: Amateur complainant, Pro complainant, and the coveted King of Complain. King of Complains get paid handsomely to do the things they do best. Needless to say, the rest can only complain till they get promoted.
2. SAAIOP – Singapore All Apps Into One Portal
There are so many apps out there in the public service. The National Library Board has MobileRead. LTA probably has mytransport.sg. Our favourite NEA seems to have hired a whole team of app developers what with the number of apps they have out there. HDB has mobile@hdb. The list goes on.
The problems with the current situation include having to remember a litany of passwords, and download all the necessary apps, one at a time among many others. In fact, there are so many that we do not even know what exists.
As with so many other things in Singapore, we just can’t get rid of our obsession with acronyms when naming something. So, here’s one more. Plus, it rolls off the tongue perfectly. Try it.
So, kind of like how a Nintendo cartridge holds 76 games in one, SAAIOP is like a mothership app that houses all these apps. Want to make a BBQ booking? Go to SAAIOP. Want to check when Singapore will flood next? Go to SAAIOP. Want to pay a fine for littering? Go to SAAIOP. Want to apply for a BTO? Yep you guessed it. SAAIOP.
Load the app and be directed to the respective apps. It’s kind of like a browser of its own for the public service.
3. How About Lunch? – Meet dates, for real.
Our dating generation is getting more and more choosy. That is not the problem though. It seems pretty natural that our standards increase as we become a more progressive society.
The problem is the countless dating apps that exist to promote making hasty dating decisions based on unjust premises when it comes to even talking to someone.
What do I mean?
Open up a dating app now. You’re expected to decide if you wish to chat someone up purely based on at most, three things. A few pictures, the person’s job, and a date suggestion.
These apps have perpetuated a Swipe-left-to-reject-Swipe-right-to-agree generation and I blame these apps for all the babies that we’re not having anymore.
By the way, the above does not really apply if you are really a boring person hiding behind those glamorous facade on that online profile.
Now with How About Lunch, here’s the deal. You get to go out and date as many people as you want and if you have met 100 potential dates and still not found someone suitable, then well, I’m afraid that the problem we’re looking at, my dear, is you.
This app rocks because it’s no-frills. There’s only three steps to it.
1. Verify yourself not to be a psycho killer or serial rapist.
2. Start getting dates to meet for lunch.
3. Well date him or her, duh.
While there is a random factor to it, the idea is quantity over quality. Math is a science after all for a reason, right?
4. Desktop Navigator – Stop waiting around, finally.
According to a recent research report that is admittedly not all that credible, the ratio of tables with power points available at coffee houses and school libraries to the number of people who actually need them lies somewhere around the range of 1: 1 000. No. You know what, let’s just throw in a couple more zeroes since it’s not going to make all that much of a difference… 1: 1 000 000. There you go.
A common scene in Singapore is one where we see dejected kids standing on the outskirts of any overcrowded study area or Starbucks outlet wondering frantically what they would do next.
Given that three out of every four Singaporeans seem to be pouring over their books and staring at their computer screens at any one point in time, it seems surprising how such a jarring problem has not been addressed.
It seems to have become a problem we’re all content to accept as “the way of things”.
AirBnB allows you to make cash out of renting your apartment, while AirPnP allows you to rent out your toilet. Now, Desktop Navigator allows you to rent out your study room. It even connects you to tuition centres and study rooms that are being underutilized. Say goodbye to waiting around at coffeehouses and libraries for the coveted seats that are near plug points. All you need to do is go on this app and search for available study spots.
5. Chope Chope – Who says the homeless can’t help?
In land-scarced Singapore, there is just not enough seats to cater to patrons at hawker centres and food courts during lunch time peak hours. As a result, we often see office workers having to resort to sitting at public benches or extending their working hours because they returned to work late after lunch.
People who are jobless nearby can sit down and chope seats for you while you arrive. You come with your gang of colleagues and for a small price, you are guaranteed up to eight seats. There will be no more fights resulting from dubious tissue packets lying around waiting for anyone to claim as theirs.
Now you may say, but the jobless don’t have smartphones to begin with and even if they do, they may not be technologically savvy enough to use the app. And here’s where I say: They don’t use the app. You do. The app contacts the jobless via SMS.
If you are offended by this column in some way, please understand that I am merely jesting, really.
If, however, you love the ideas and you wish to contact me to co-develop the app and then we continue to make buck loads of money from it, then no, I’m not jesting at all. Not. At. All.
Also read: 7 Awesome Apps We Wish Existed