Ballot after queueing 8 hours for childcare spot? No way

Ballot after queueing 8 hours for childcare spot? No way
More than two hundred people queue outside an E-Bridge childcare centre.

She started queuing at 10am yesterday.

Ms Stephy Lim, 26, who wanted to be sure that her 20-month-old daughter would get a place in a new childcare centre opening near her home in Punggol, was soon joined by others in the queue.

By about 6pm, there were almost 50 people in the queue for a place in the E-Bridge Pre-School, which is scheduled to open at Edgefield Plains in July.

So when a representative from EtonHouse International, which runs the E-Bridge Pre-Schools, suggested that they go home and return today for a ballot instead when registration opens at 9am, they were upset.

After being there for so many hours, none of them were keen to give up their spots in the queue and then take their chances in a ballot.

Ms Lim said: "He (the representative) suggested that we do a ballot but we don't agree with him."

Her friend, who was next in the queue and wanted to be known only as Mrs Liu, was also upset.

"I've been here since 10am because the pre-school said registration was on a first-come-first-served basis," said the 31-year-old salesgirl who has a two-year-old daughter.

"I never thought that I would have to queue almost 24 hours for a childcare place for my child."

The row occurred around 6pm when 40 people, who were mainly parents or grandparents, encircled the EtonHouse representative to protest against his balloting suggestion.

The representative explained that he was concerned about them having to wait overnight in the open shelter, especially with the rainy weather.

But faced with their objections, he demurred. The tension in the air was palpable as the crowd returned to their places in the queue.

Many had brought portable chairs, picnic mats, and food and drink. Some even had electric fans and a stack of newspapers to read.

By 7.30pm, there were more than 80 adults in the queue. With them were a number of children, some playing and others eating.

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