A Happy Bird in Singapore

Written on 27 November 2011
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Of late, there is a lot of buzz about happiness level in Singapore. Especially in the social media, the air of unhappiness about Singapore seem to be on the high side.

We even have a certain politician, Mr GG, of a certain “Non-Sense Party”, proclaimed in his FB page that “Singapore sucks!”.

(That, was a shocker to me, having come from a politician who could have been my MP had his party won in my GRC in GE11. My GRC, after all, happens to be in Singapore)

Well, for the record, I am a happy born and bred Singaporean. Yes, you can say I’m a happy bird 😉

I am happy that my husband and I are able to provide our children with a roof, 3 simple meals and clothes to wear. They attend neighbourhood schools, and are just average students.

Am I rich? Let’s just say, I am not poor by my own standard. But by other Singaporeans’ standard, I may well be a poor soul. So, why is it I am happy in / with Singapore?

Singapore is natural disaster free, we can roam in the dark not having to worry much about being mugged; we are one of the least corrupted countries in the world; our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world; despite our colourful racial fabric, we do not have racial riots since decades ago; we do not even have to make a trip down to Orchard Road for our retail therapy anymore.

There are so many good stuff in Singapore, so why are there still Singaporeans who are not happy with Singapore?

Take a stroll down Orchard Road. Chances are you will see a Ferrari or a Lambo parked at one of the front entrance of a 5 star hotel. We used to have only a handful of high end malls like Paragon where most of the patrons are the rich tai tais. But now we have ION, Marina Bay Sand etc. Even students are carrying bags that may be more expensive than my T.V.

Singapore has one of the highest percentage of millionaires in the world and the number is increasing (from current 183,000 to probably 408,000 in 2016). On the other end of the scale, however, our median income per resident is about $2,710 (as at 2010).

You see, we human beings can be quite an envious lot. When we see what others have, it is natural that we may want to have the same thing too.

Everyone is queuing for Iphone, I must have one too. Ipad- yes, I want one too. 3D Smart TV, high end camera, Prada and yes, cars, big cars, fast cars, Korea tour, Europe.…the list just go on and on.

But while others who may still have balance even after satisfying all their luxurious wants, some of us will have to struggle to lay our hand on just one. And when we get too consumed into the mentality of ” what others have, I must have too” it may then be developed into unhappiness and worse, resentment.

I got my mobile at $0 with the cheapest plan. My family takes the public transport & we get around our neighbourhood on our bicycles. Our annual vacation is at the chalet.

A recent report stated that Singaporeans are mostly unhappy with insufficient savings.

Savings = Income – Expenditure.

So to increase savings, we either increase our income by working doubly hard & smart or we reduce our expenditure.
(note:- if our economy does not do well, we may lose our job = $0 income, & we will definitely not be happy refer –> Money ≠ Happiness? )

My simplistic view has always been to take care of our basics first and only when we have excess, we go for an occasional ‘want’

Do I have ‘wants’?

Of course.

But I will remain a happy bird as long as my ‘wants’ remain as ‘wants’ and not turn into ‘needs’

Perhaps in 5 years time, I may be one of the 408,000, sipping my “kopi luwak’ at the front porch of a unit in Sentosa Cove.

Till my fanciest dream come true, I am absolutely happy surfing the net at the slowest speed of 6mbps in the comfort of my cozy 4 room HDB flat with my 3-in-1 by my side, knowing that my 11 year-old will reach home safely by himself when the dismissal bell rings.

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