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1/11/2009

Frugality by choice

To live frugally by choice and not by circumstances is a very pleasant concept. It is like people desiring to work for life, by choice and and not by circumstances, and even with the choice of what they want to do, not to become cleaners or dish washers. To live frugally is like being thrifty, to spend on when there is a need to, no extravagance, is an age old virtue. Individually, it is a good value to live by. At the national level, it is too a good policy to preach and to practise, or maybe not. The contradiction between preaching something and doing the reverse is quite obvious to many. While on the one hand people suddenly got enlightened that there is goodness in frugal living, there are people and even the govt, exhorting and extorting the people to spend. Our govt's policies have never been about frugality. Think COE and car scrapping. Even in times like this, Chok Tong is asking people to spend away on little comforts. Boon Wan has just introduced mean testing to make sure that people pay according to how much they have and not what they want. Ask Raymond about ERPs and transport fares and he will tell you it still must go up, but very affordable. Then Mah Bow Tan just whacked the home buyers by $200k increase in the Pinnacles. Who else, or which ministry is going to raise their fees or rentals? Can the people afford to be frugal? Even if they want to, the policies of ever increasing fees will make sure that they don't. The wheel of our economic machinery must go on running and must be fed by the people's money to keep it going. Otherwise it will grind to a halt like the ferry wheel. And a big rescue operation will have to be mounted. The economy is built on a model of growth. Without growth means recession and depression. The rich can romanticise on being frugal and live happily ever after. The poor at best is a way of life. The country cannot exist on a frugal diet. The country demands that the people must spend and spend to keep up the image of growth and prosperity. So, would the people be allowed to be frugal?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

the source of all misery in singapore is the inflated price of hdb housing.

if housing is not so obscenely expensive

-> one of the parents can stay at home & raise the children properly
-> choose a job that gives satisfaction & contribute to society instead of one that pays the rent.
-> not constantly under stress of that losing the job & thus home.

honestly most people don't lust for a car but a home is a neccessity for marriage.

& all they come up with to boost birthrate is cheap tricks like more leave etc.

lower the price of housing drastically & we will become a nation of happy people & high birthrate.

too bad the gahment is greedy & we never manage to unplug their ears during election.

redbean said...

conrad raj is asking why in times like this HDB is still raising its rentals. that speaks for everything.

Anonymous said...

When people are earning more than peanuts they can tell you to spend because, well, they are high up in the sky and they don't know what is happening on the ground.