When I lived in the States, I had a friend whose father was the car repair instructor at a nearby school. Whenever my car had any problems or just needed routine maintenance, he was kind enough to let me bring my car to his school. And his students would work on the car as part of their training. Since he personally inspected all the cars, I had the assurance that the work was acceptable. I also saved an unbelievable amount of money! Similarly, there are many school that are in constant need of “models”, where the work is free/subsidised as part of their training. And you can be one of them. (more…)
Perhaps it’s due to rising food costs, concerns over food security, or the fear of contaminated or pesticide-laden food, that there has been a lot of interest recently among city dwellers in starting small-scale edible gardens. As someone who has spent many years living in a rural countryside, I certainly miss the (literal) fruits of my labor. My edible garden (in the States) once had pineapple guavas, grapefruits, oranges, persimmons, mint, basil, Chinese parsley, ginkgo biloba, almonds, and red amaranth.
It can be quite challenging growing an edible garden here in Singapore with such limited space, particularly if you do not have a balcony, roof, or yard. For those who are completely new to the concept and are unsure whether they have a green thumb, here are some easy, fool-proof, and frugal tips on how to start your very own edible garden. (more…)
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…)