It’s really interesting to contrast the two. As a parent, Chee talks about being there for his kids, he talks about spending time together, they play music together, read, go for walks, go swimming. Lots of frugal fun. Very inspiring.
Switch to the rally, where he talks about the rising cost of living, and how 50% of Singaporeans are living paycheck to paycheck, with the looming threat of financial ruin should anybody be hit by emergency. He talks about the need to go to Parliament to lower the cost of living.
And all I find myself thinking is… sure, he’s right, but– if those Singaporeans learned to live simply, like the Chees do, they’d be way better off.
That’s the most important part of the equation, I think. And hardly anybody discusses it. As a politican, CSJ talks about how life is getting harder for Singaporeans, and the crowd cheers in approval. As a private individual, he talks about how him and his family are GRATEFUL for hardship, because of how it brought them together.
If you spend less on your wedding, on your home, on your renovations, on your furnishings, on your transportation… you can start accumulating savings, and you’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck.
And you no longer have to worry so much that some Govt policy or another is going to dramatically affect your life. I think that should be the goal of any private individual who is reasonably able.
In my case, I had a really budget wedding, and spent really little on furniture (mostly secondhand or IKEA), practically nothing on renovation. So I have emergency funds that I don’t look at, after starting from nothing.
This provides me the peace of mind that CSJ says 50% of SIngaporeans don’t have, and insists that Govt needs to provide.
I don’t have an informed opinion about what Govt should or should not provide, but I do believe that it is our obligation to ourselves, as individuals, to look out for our own interests.
I could easily have spent $10k on my wedding and $20-$30k on renovations and maybe bought a car on a credit installment plan. That would instantly put me in the 50% of people living paycheck to paycheck, terrified of a financial emergency.
“Be frugal*, you fuckers” is my campaign slogan (with * caveat for people in genuine hardship).