Singapore’s GDP for 2014 Q3 was reported as 2.8%. This news came with much disappointment, as it was lower than what analysts expected. Granted, Singapore, being a small country, must abide by the rules of the global economy. And thus must improve productivity to achieve sustainable economic growth that will fund an improving quality of life (as PM Lee mentioned in his 2015 New Year Message).
But, imagine for a moment if we could rewrite the rules of the global economy. And we were able to question our most basic assumptions. We might ask does it still make sense to have growth every year? Does it really measure a nation’s prosperity? Does that “prosperity” really trickle down to everyone equally? Or does it make us more unequal? And is GDP even the right way to measure how well we’re doing as a nation or as a society? (more…)
Many people think if you don’t spend much, you are frugal. But being frugal does not mean being cheap, or having a specific spending limit. For example, my parents had very little discretionary income, so they spent very little. This was not because they wanted to be frugal. Rather, it was by necessity, because we were poor. Frugality, is a choice that involves being more conscious and mindful of the value of a purchase, and the associated tradeoffs. It is when a person, who has the necessary means, chooses to optimise value, purpose and resources. These resources can include money, time, effort, hidden costs, and other things. (more…)
While recently researching Singapore’s history in water management, I came upon an interesting fact. In the 1960s, Singapore was ranked 170th out of 190 countries in terms of water security. At that time, there was a population of 1.6 million and zero natural aquifers. Much of Singapore’s rivers and waterways were unfit for drinking, as the sewage system was inadequate. In addition, floods were very common. For a steady and safe supply of potable water, Singapore was heavily dependent on Malaysia. (more…)
In the last few years, co-working spaces have become very popular. The rise of entrepreneurship in Singapore, coupled with the rising cost of office rentals, make co-working spaces more attractive than traditional offices. And they provide a great place to network, learn from other start-ups, and hold meetings, workshops, and seminars. Instead of being locked into a typical year-long office lease, co-working spaces have daily, weekly, or monthly rates. Coffeemin, a relatively new kid on the block, is the only co-working space in Singapore (that I know of) with hourly and minute rates. (more…)
I was recently invited to attend the Singapore Blog Awards Ceremony. This is where the nation’s most popular and most followed bloggers gathered to celebrate and honour each other’s achievements. The awards categories included “Best Food Blog”, “Best Beauty Blog”, “Best Family Blog”, “Best Travel Blog”, and “Best Fashion Blog”, among others. As I’ve been blogging for only 6 months, my blog did not qualify for any of the categories. But I still felt very honoured to have been invited to such a prestigious event. And it reminded why I started blogging in the first place. (more…)
Today, Buddhists will celebrate Vesak Day. Gratitude, mindfulness, humility, and frugality are all virtues of Buddhism. One could even argue that these virtues exist in some form in nearly all religions. On this Vesak Day, I am reminded that being frugal is not just for the sole purpose of saving money. A deeper, and somewhat more profound reason to be frugal is spiritual, ecological, and maybe even ethical. (more…)
Earth Day (22nd April) is almost upon us. And being frugal aligns nicely with being environmentally conscious and ecologically friendly. We’ve all heard the usual advice on recycling, turning off lights/taps when not in use, taking shorter showers, using cloth grocery bags, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient lighting. But there are a few more things (and some are super easy) that I feel would make a huge impact on our collective carbon footprint. (more…)