Free is said to be one of the most powerful words. In Singapore, if you shout “GIVING FREE” in a rather crowded place you will probably attract a queue in no time.
Even if people don’t know what is supposed to be free.
Though, “free” also happens to mean “to be abused”.
And that’s what happened to Health Promotion Board
Needless to say, when the Health Promotion Board’s Healthy 365 app gives free vouchers for doing healthy things such as eating healthier choices, or walking a certain number of steps, people find ways to abuse it.
And there happened to be a loophole allowing QR codes to be scanned even when shared, leading to the HPB basically giving away free money.
Obviously, that isn’t really the purpose of the app. As much as being charitable feels pretty good, the whole point of the app is to promote a healthy lifestyle.
For instance, the app is actually primarily a daily step counter, diet journal and calories tracker. Redeeming vouchers just happen to be one of the functions and ways to attract people to use the app.
So when HPB found out that some people were not, in fact, adopting a healthy lifestyle, they did the obvious thing and temporarily suspended the service for about 62,000 accounts.
While it is unlikely that all 62,000 accounts are abusers, the netizen reactions are pretty heated after being denied free shit.
Putting blame on HPB
If I read the comments without context, I probably would have thought HPB caused money to be lost from people’s bank accounts.
I mean, people giving free things leh. Maybe can chill a little and see if the issue is really something worth flaming?
One user even admitted to abusing the system and “gladly received” the money.
A lesson learnt indeed.
Healthy 365’s Problems
To be fair, the Healthy365 app isn’t perfect. The implementation of the QR scanning obviously isn’t perfect, and it would appear that vouchers might be a bit too hard to get to be meaningful.
Separate from the current QR code hoo-haa, looking at app reviews on Google Play and Apple App Store reveals that app usability is also clearly an issue.
Not all users are abusers
Of course, there are some reasonable comments as well. The ones with actual issues also seem to have received replies from HPB for more information to solve their problems.
As usual, the ones who play fair seem to be the ones affected the most here.
It would appear that there are still hurdles for the Healthy 365 app. Even if the app doesn’t appear to be popular, hopefully at least the message of staying healthy remains.
Which was, you know, the whole point.
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