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Monday with the Editor: Scratchit! cards a hit with older Singaporeans


Hallo everyone

These days, a new craze has hit town. Scratchit! is so popular that stocks of the game cards run out within days of them reaching the 4D betting outlets. The people who buy them are mostly older Singaporeans - Ah Peks and Ah Sohs. You can see them at these outlets buying strips of such game cards for themselves and their friends.

Just what is Scratchit! and why is it a phenomenon here? Scratchit! is a scratch-n-win product launched by Singapore Pools on 30 Nov 2004. The game is printed on a square card called a ticket. There are S$1 and S$2 scratch game tickets available at the local betting outlets.

What you do is simply use a coin to scratch the surface of a game ticket to reveal the figures, pictures, letters, symbols or words printed beneath. A player wins by matching three of those figures, pictures, letters, symbols or words out of a total of eight.

Prizes vary from S$1 to a top prize of S$10,000 for a S$1 game ticket, and from S$1 to a top prize of S$20,000 for a S$2 game ticket. There is one game for each S$1 ticket and two games for each S$2 ticket so theoretically, you could win twice for a S$2 ticket.

Each series of game tickets has a theme such as Go For Goals!, Wildlife Treasures, and Jewels of the Rainforest. The proceeds of the game series go to beneficiaries such as Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and Jurong Birdpark.

While it is difficult to win the top prizes, it is quite easy to win amounts such as S$2, S$4, S$5 and S$10. So, if you buy a strip of, say 3 S$2 cards, it is quite possible for you to win, say S$5. So, in this case, for an outlay of S$6, you get S$5 back. This means your net donation to the funding programme is S$1.

Just what is it about Scratchit! that fascinates the older Singaporeans? I guess it's fun and a chance to win big money. I mean, who can resist surprises? Here you have a game that instantly surprises you with cash prizes.

Those born in the 50's and 60's will surely remember a popular game for children then - the ang pow game tickets stuck to a long rectangular cardboard. For 5 cents, a child could peel off a ticket and unfold it to reveal hidden money prizes. One could win 20 cents, 50 cents or even a whole dollar! If you have played such a game before, you will remember the times you spent pondering over which of the 100 tickets on the board would hide the biggest prizes.

Well, kids nowadays don't have such fun anymore. Now, I am not encouraging gambling. I am for the occasional things that bring fun and excitement, with the possibility of pleasant surprises, to the individual. You have all these things on TV today - eg. buy some provisions, get a lucky draw ticket and if your ticket is picked by a presenter, you win a prize. Sure, the games are in different forms, but they do provide fun and excitement, and occasionally a reward.

I don't deny it. I am a fan of the Scratchit! game too. But, I don't go crazy over it. I spend a few dollars a week, get some nostalgic fun scratching the panels on the tickets, collect the S$5 or S$10 that I win, and go off thinking that as I am having my fun, I am also contributing to the programmes run by the FAS, Wildlife Reserves Singapore or the Jurong Birdpark.

Hey! This is life that we are living. Why go complicated over such a simple fun-raising idea that benefits both the fun-raiser and the contributor? If the idea is wrong, then those raffle tickets, in whatever form, that are sold to raise funds for community groups shouldn't be sold, for they too provide fun and excitement, with an occasional reward, too.

Have a good day!

Source: Singapore Pools


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31 January 2005