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3 Things Adults in Singapore Pay For Due to Peer Pressure

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Joanne Poh

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When most people think of peer pressure, scenes of teenagers surreptitiously passing cigarettes around at HDB playgrounds flash through their minds. Actually, many kids these days seem a lot wiser than their parents. If you’re an adult who thinks those days of peer pressure are over, think again. Here are five ways peer pressure might be making you poorer, even at this ripe old age.

1. Kids’ tuition classes

Kids in Singapore wearing inch-thick glasses and spending all their waking hours after school slogging it out at tuition centres is a common sight, yet many parents don’t even want to do this to them. Seeing your kids tired and stressed out all the time and having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month for costly tuition sessions is tough, especially when many parents aren’t even sure if all that tuition is actually helping the kid.

If their child were the only one in Singapore, you can bet that apart from the odd music or sports session, most parents would be happy to let their kids, gasp, play from time to time.

But everyone else sending their kids for classes that are guaranteed to have them doing university-level math by the age of 8, kiasu parents all over Singapore feel the pressure to make their offspring go through the same drill. In fact, 46% of Singaporean parents who send their kids for tuition do so out of the fear that they won’t be able to compete with their peers.

2. Food and drink with unpronounceable names

While most Singaporeans proclaim that they’re foodies and have no problem driving halfway across the island to queue up for carrot cake recommended by some Channel 8 actress, many of us have simpler palates than we’d like to admit. A plate of char kuay teow is enough to satisfy the stomachs of most.

When all your friends are raving about that restaurant that serves $300 slabs of wagyu beef, admitting that you like McDonald’s beef patties makes you look like a peasant, which is the worst fear of many people in status-conscious Singapore.

Have you ever noticed how when a bunch of friends tries to decide where to go for dinner and someone suggests a restaurant with an unpronounceable French name, nobody wants to be the one to ask if it’s expensive? Or else there’s just one defiant guy who always has to keep the rest in check. More often than you think, people end up spending amounts that are out of their comfort zones at expensive restaurants and bars just because they don’t want to look cheap.

3. Lavish weddings

Several of my friends are getting married next year. And it might surprise you to hear this, but almost all of them have lamented that they’re trying to find a way to get out of hosting an expensive wedding dinner.

To some of them, a big wedding is a meaningless and costly affair, but their spouses-to-be have their hearts set on a fairytale event. For others, their parents, friends and relatives expect nothing less, forget about the fact that they aren’t the ones getting married.

Still others have attended so many lavish wedding dinners that not having their own match up would be an embarrassment. Let’s conveniently ignore the fact that getting into debt over a ridiculously overpriced wedding is actually infinitely more embarrassing.

What other things do Singaporeans spend on due to peer pressure? Let us know in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.