It all started with long queues at the shopping mall roadshow. It took us some time to realize that people are not queuing for popular food or warehouse sale, but for the trackers of National Steps Challenge Season 4 – an initiative by the Health Promotion Board to encourage Singaporeans to be physically active.

Getting fit or getting freebies?

The first exercise people do was queuing which is no doubt the national sport of Singapore. The new season of the steps challenge has been very successful. With so many shop vouchers and prizes to be won, the programme draws lots of participants through word-of-mouth and peer pressure.

I overheard a woman talking over the phone to boast what she has redeemed so far. Another woman urged her husband to sign up so that he could redeem the NTUC FairPrice vouchers for her.

“Are these people really so health conscious, or are they just going after the vouchers?” …