Opinion

4 Things the Average Singaporean is Lucky Enough to Be Able to Enjoy

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Joanne Poh

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Owning a car or moving out of the family home immediately after graduation may be out of reach for many Singaporeans. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s living an austere life, devoid of pleasure.

The truth is, Singaporeans face do enjoy some advantages that few people elsewhere in the world do. Most of us aren’t exactly spending our weekends collecting cans off the streets or heating up sad cans of beans for meals.

Here are four things Singaporeans are lucky enough to be able to do a whole lot.

 

Going on frequent overseas holidays

Singaporeans are inveterate travellers. A 2015 survey by Visa found that Singaporeans travelled significantly more than their regional and global counterparts, with 95% of the respondents having travelled abroad for leisure.

More recently, another survey found that Singaporeans took an average of 5.2 overseas trips in the last 12 months. That translates to a holiday almost every other month.

What’s more, 2 in 5 Singaporeans book trips at the last minute, less than four weeks before departure. That indicates people are spontaneous about travelling and don’t need to plan for months before confirming their trips.

So no matter how much you might complain about Singapore’s weather or the lack of things to do here, an escape is always close at hand.

 

Eating out a lot

Unlike other expensive cities, a cheap meal can be had for a few bucks in Singapore. Sure, you might no longer recognise your body if you ate at hawker centres and food courts every single day, but it’s oddly comforting to be able to get a decent-tasting meal that’s not McDonald’s or kebab for $4.

That could be why Singaporeans are some of the Asia Pacific’s biggest spenders on dining out. What’s more, only 22% of Singaporean households cook every day, as compared to 49% in London, Paris and Shanghai.

 

Consumption of luxury goods

Chanel might be a French brand, but you see a helluva lot more Chanel handbags in Singapore than in France.

In Singapore, middle income earners are often only too happy to spend money on luxury goods. $4,000 handbags are a common sight, particularly on the arms of office workers as they rush to their workplaces in the CBD.

Shopping is considered entertainment in Singapore and taken very seriously as a leisure activity, and Singapore is considered one of ASEAN’s key hubs for luxury, with Singaporeans being some of the world’s most avid luxury goods purchasers.

And it’s not just rich people who spend on luxury goods, either. Luxury goods retailer Reebonz expects the growth in luxury goods consumption to be propelled by the aspirational middle class.

Conspicuous consumption is not at all frowned upon by mainstream society, so go ahead and max out on all your favourite brands if you must.

 

Frequently buying and upgrading tech gadgets

In Singapore, it is totally acceptable to mock someone else’s phone for being too old or too beat-up. I know, because people have been doing it to me ever since smartphones became commonplace, and I’ve lost count of the number of times somebody asked me why I didn’t just get a new phone.

That’s no surprise, as Singaporeans are some of the world’s biggest consumers of technology products.

Singapore has the world’s highest smartphone penetration, and Singaporeans spend the most per player in the region on computer games.

It’s considered totally normal to change your smartphone every two years when your mobile contract is up for renewal. What’s more, 12-year-olds with $700 iPhones and their very own iPads and MacBooks are a common sight. No wonder Singaporeans are the second most internet-addicted people in the world.

Do you enjoy any of the above? Tell us 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.