My family and I find the ongoing Department of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey quite frustrating.
Not much thought seems to have gone into the questions we have to answer.
For example, we are supposed to record how much our MRT rides cost.
The trouble is, the MRT does not show you the actual cost of a ride.
When you tap your ez-link card to enter, what's shown on the validator is the amount remaining in your card. This is usually an odd number, for example, $7.87.
When you tap your card on your way out, the validator again shows the remaining value. Again, this is almost always an odd figure, for example $5.89.
Add transfer rebates and working out how much a train ride costs is not as simple as the Department of Statistics seems to think.
It also wants us to submit our receipts with the journal in which we record our expenses. Surely they must know that some of us need the receipts for accounting and tax purposes.
And even when the journals have been collected, the survey is not over.
We have to sit through interviews to answer questions ranging from how much the house we live in cost - it was bought 20 years ago - to how much our fiveyear- old TV set cost. How can one remember, and what is the point?
Perhaps the Department of Statistics should do a survey on just how unpopular their surveys are and how unprofessional they are seen as.