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Sunday, August 08, 2010

A suggestion on reducing the wastage of cookhouse food

"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'" - Theodore Roosevelt


"To Whom It May Concern,

1. Recently, I have read about wastages in public funds amounting to $22,000 due to excess meal orders being covered up. I would like to propose a USMS suggestion to deal with this issue.

2. I believe this has been happening at many camps, and not just a few out of many. In fact, this has happened during the time I served my NS, and I wrote a small USMS suggestion regarding what to do with excess food, but it was rejected. I have modified what I have written, and added in new improvements.

3. The system I believe, is this. Every week, the CQMS or RQ or QM, or a specialist arrowed by either of them, compiles a list of people who will be in camp. This list is then submitted to the cookhouse personnel so they can prepare the exact amount of food. From what I recall, there is no opt-out system. This will not be so bad, except there are a numerous amount of canteens in camp, serving food at far cheaper prices. Here, I use the estimate from what I recall in my NSF days - lunch and dinner cost about $5.00 each. If I am not mistaken, canteen food is cheaper.

4. What I propose is this:
a. The allowance for NSFs per month will increase by the amount of current breakfast/lunch/dinner prices. This should pose no financial burden on MINDEF, since that sum is already deducted, albeit invisibly.

b. i) Any NSF (or regular) of rank CPL and above can choose to indent food for the upcoming month, and submit the time period where he will be in camp (to consume food) to the respective personnel. This is subject to unit constraints, or
ii) Any NSF (or regular) who is primarily in Service, and not in Combat, can also choose to indent food for the upcoming month regardless of rank, and submit the time period where he will be in camp (to consume food) to the respective personnel.

with the understanding that the cost of the food consumed at the cookhouse will be deducted from his allowance. If this NSF (or regular) wants to consume food solely from the cookhouse for the entire month, then after deduction from his allowance, his allowance should be what an NSF (or regular) of similar rank gets currently.

5. If an NSF (or regular) prefers to eat at the canteen everyday in this case, let him. He is saving the SAF money, because he is not indenting food which will be wasted.

6. There may be worries that this may spike a trend of all NSFs (or regulars) going to eat at the canteen instead. But then that means canteen food is preferable to cookhouse food, and SFI should either lower the cost (now visible) of its food, or make the food more palatable. This is what I have learnt from Economics studied in JC.

7. There may also be fewer cases of over-indenting occuring. Seeing the true cost reflected in one's allowance will give one pause to think. To give an example, the cost of water in India in different provinces is either free to farmers, or supplied at below its true price. This leads to many farmers overabusing this supply of water, and not using it efficiently. Of course, India also suffers from a water crisis now. Similarly, if an NSF (or regular) does not know the true price of SFI food, and thinks it comes free, you cannot expect them to eat at the cookhouse each day. It is interesting to note that the cost of food is not reflected to servicemen (at least not during my time) - I only found out by asking people. I do not believe many NSFs will be like me and actively try to find out more while serving the nation. Ignorance, after all, is bliss, and it is easier to pretend the cost of food is negligible and continue to waste it, instead of actively doing something.

8. 4b i) will also encourage combat personnel to pass their IPPT (to get CPL promotion), so they can decide whether they want to eat at the cookhouse.

9. Since there will still be excess food, though perhaps not as much, I also suggest giving these foods to the following groups of people: a) Hungry NSFs who want to eat more, b) Construction workers, Maintenance personnel, or Domestic Cleaners working on any projects within the unit or camp. There can be a centralized area with the understanding: If there is any excess food, come to this area at a set time to eat. There can also be a form to sign, similar to those given by the civil service / other private organizations which disclaims all liability like food poisoning, etc from the food. This can help spread goodwill about the SAF as well.

10. Lastly, if this solution seems too complicated, a variant would be to increase the NSF (or regular)'s allowance to include the food cost, but then it will be deducted anyway. While this seems like a waste of time - it is what is happening now, just that it is not explicitly shown in the allowance, knowing the true cost of food may let some servicemen reconsider their actions of not eating. Point 7 comes to play.

11. I hope this suggestion is of help.

Best Regards,


This is a good suggestion (not from me, of course).

Which is why the SAF will never adopt it.

As we all know, the SAF's Core Values are Stupidity, Sadism and Senselessness.
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