Sunday, March 29, 2009

To Live more Simply is to...Waste not, Want not.

I have written this posting for another forum thread but I thought it is appropriate for me to copy and paste this in my blog. Living simply has always being a personal quest and I hope to live my life as sustainably as possible and in the meantime, share with others to do the same.

Since my last balek kampong trip to Singapore in January this year, I have often wondered whether the younger Singaporeans have lost their sense of frugality. I don’t think we have, we have simply forgotten what it takes to make it a necessity again. With time being tough for many out there in this economy downturn, buying luxury goods and expensive shopping isn't a top priority but still, it is in our national psyche to focus on building material wealth and remain in the top league of consumerism. Perhaps it is a reaction to the Great Depression or the Second World War or the post war syndrome that our parents and grandparents went through. Whatever the reasons, it has definitely become a value system that has infiltrated every facet of our daily lives back home.
Living simply has become a thing of the past, and now individuals long for more and more material possessions. We are indeed consumed by consumerism. Our newly acquired standard HDB flat or private condos are no longer acceptable. We need to gut it inside out and have it renovated from the floor to the ceiling. The kitchen needs to have the latest fittings and electrical appliances but sadly never have the opportunity to be utilised and cook the family meals. Our kids demanded their one year old mobile phones to be upgraded to a slimmer model with extra features. Clever advertisements have honed in on our internalised and erroneous belief that our children will be happier if they have every material wish fulfilled. What are we telling ourselves that new is better than old, material possession is happiness?
Sadly, we are all sucked into the marketing ploy that no matter how happy we are now, we will be so much happier if we buy the product advertised.As a recession looms over us, many will be asking "Do we need to slash our food bills?"

Of course, the imminent recession is a worry for the young ones, my wife and I have been there more than once. Casting our minds back to where we have to trace every cent and experiment with cheap cuts of meat and living frugally. We had to use up leftover with something like fried rice and chicken carcasses. (after the fleshy parts had been consumed, we had them thrown back into the stock for making soup.) As a result, we are old hands (haha) and without a doubt we"ll be able to tide over this recession with our simple living and frugality again.


  1. :) i do the same too: all leftovers get thrown into fried rice/noodles or whatever i am cooking next. i have had spinach with mee siam, that didn't turn out very well:)

    it also helps that i don't have fussy eaters around.

  2. For those who are retired and not working anymore, a recession is actually a blessing in disguise. Things get cheaper and service standards better as retailers scramble to attract more customers. This translates to getting better service and paying less than what we have to under boom time conditions. This is the time for us to spend to get better service and more for our money and at the same time contribute to the economy.


  3. Hi Ange,
    Glad to know I have another "kaki" (member)in France, who also believes in Simplicity living and please continue to share your thoughts in this journey. Btw, I think the plant in the photo of your blog comes under the botanical family of Crassulaceae. Please Google to find out more.


  4. Hi Everyone,
    I have just recieved this well written email from another kaki in Singapore and given the permission to share it with you. Here it is:

    Hello Philip,

    We shared the same sentiments of living a simple life of balance. Many beings suffer in life because
    they lose the balance.
    In regards to charity, there are so much farcical and dishonest practice, it makes a mockery of charity
    at large. True to its saying: "charity begins at home" is an appropriate dictum.

    With charity becomes
    big time money spinners pulling at the heartstrings of the general public, the millions collected is to enrich
    the CEOs and their cronies. The most infamous NKF debacle and the Ren Ci episode, exposed the indignity
    of weakness in humans with a "noble" cause to do otherwise. A serious sad failings of
    life's greed and cravings.

    Australia has a place in my heart. My honeymoon in 1975 was Sydney and Canberra. Since then I have
    returned to various cities, including Tasmania, about fifteen times. Like Perth very much, visited 3 times.
    Last visited again in 2005 and stayed at my friend's home in the valleys of Araleun in Amardyale for three
    weeks. Only Cairns, Darwin and Alice Springs escaped my itinerary. Did quite a bite of self-drive to really
    enjoy the sights then.

    Graciousness brings out the best in human demeanour. Singapore, with its campaign on courtesy has
    failed miserably in this respect. It is so tough for one to utter 'please' and ' thank you' to each other.
    Majority are caught in the rat race of living that the finess of life's manners and attitude took a back seat.
    A sad truth of social decadence.

    Have read your blog briefly and am impressed with it. Your sausage making and meat presevation are
    commendable. Philip, are you in the restaurant business? Will contribute at the opportune time to your blog.
    And I have long wanted to create my own blog. Hope I can take a leaf or two from you as to how
    to go about. I am computer illiterate lah !

    Myself, I retired gracefully two years ago. Have been involved in helping the poor and less-fortunate
    in society since my early years. At 64 now, life journey is into a new perspective and dimension.
    We look into life now with greater awareness of people in relation to ourselves.

    The world will never in a million years be a balance entity. Human atrocities overstep the serene cosmic
    peace of existence.

    A turbulent world of war and terror weighing against a world of compassion, benevolent and longing peace.

    The other side of darkness is light.

    Patrick Lee S J