Tuesday, 14 October 2008

From a skirt (or two)

Ok, mf did what she thought was a rather auntie thing - she bought two skirts of the same design in different colours :p

Why?
1) $39 per piece before 10% discount
2) And hey, they are decent-looking - in fact, they hug my butt really well! =p
3) I fit into M instead of L

And, of course, I really want need some new clothes!

These should be considered mid-range in my wardrobe. I have tops ranging from $5 to US$80.. There's a pair of $10 berms - bought in Tomato Town almost ten years ago and $1 cheaper than the exact same pair (three sizes smaller) Na bought in her town! - that I'm still wearing today. Most expensive skirt cost me about US$80 too. I think I have nothing more expensive than that... Am I considered low maintenance? :p

*Update a month later*
I forgot that I also had a $600 pant suit. Outlier? :p

Just thinking that actually we can get very decent stuff in Singapore at very decent prices. I guess I know that all along but I did not fully appreciate this until I heard this from Tok's gf a couple of weeks ago. She is from China, a land perceived to be full of cheap labour and cheap buys.

The cheap labour part is true - AA told me construction workers in China could have only two 馒头 and plain water for lunch while I saw our foreign workers here in coffee shops having 菜饭..

Not sure about the cheap buys though. I did buy a $0.50 phone charm by the road in Shanghai but in the shops, most things cost about the same as any developed country. And, like what Tok's gf said, you can't get decent stuff like Charles & Keith shoes at Charles & Keith prices. (And there are even cheaper shoes of decent quality if you know where to look..)

Digression: Cheap labour and expensive goods don't quite gel - income gap? Foreigners? Well, I leave that to smarter people to think about.. mfism is about things close to mf's heart..

So, yes, I am saying that I really appreciate where I am now, and contented with my lot.

YET, there are people - not sure if they are the majority or minority - who find that Singapore is expensive, that living costs are high. Some time in June or July this year, some forum letters mentioned how it was cheaper to live in Sweden.. I could hardly believe my eyes cos I remembered paying more than 20% in GST when I was there in 2000! Google and you will find that the Swedish can pay more than 50% of their pay in tax!

Yes, you get social benefits in return for your taxes but the high-income are effectively subsidising the low-income. Well, shoot me but I'm not inclined to pay for the low-income. I simply do not believe that all the low-income people are worth helping - have you noticed how some supposedly "low-income" people are burning money away on cigarettes? And I unfortunately know someone like that.. For those who truly need help because they are unable to work for income, help is available but I believe some outreach may be necessary cos they may not be aware of assistance schemes. In any case, I'm certainly not alone: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/05/business/labor.php

I believe that living costs are really really a reflection of the standard of living. In Singapore, it is possible to decide on a standard of living that commensurates with our income, rather than the other way round. If you're rich, anything goes. If you're poor, go wet market instead of supermarkets, eat at hawker centres instead of restaurants, no 40-inch TV, use the same mobile for as long as possible, and you really shouldn't smoke..

Digression (again): I cannot understand why people keep changing phones! Since 2003, my most expensive phone is my current Pinky (dopod) and I'm proud that it is now more than two years old.. Before that, I had $0 phones and a $80 phone.

And since I'm on it, the other oft heard comment is that Singapore is boring. So I'm thinking, outside of working hours, what do I do here in Singapore? Movies, eating, meeting friends, ktv, shopping, web surfing, reading, studying, dancing, excursions to museums/zoo/Sentosa/etc, and all my weeknights and weekends are booked for months! I go travelling too, to the many places well accessible from this little country. So, boring? I don't think so... Unless you crave country life, meadows, snowy mountains, city life doesn't get any better than this.

Wait, I correct myself: some Asian countries are more happening, but they are also more expensive, e.g. more than 10,000 yen to get from Tokyo station to a residential area after metro hours, and nowhere as clean or safe - yes, hygiene factors are important too..

Some time ago, WT commented that he thought of emigrating down under - cheaper, social benefits, get a bigger house, have a car, rolling mountains etc.. I had the chance to speak with some young Singaporeans living in Melbourne the other day. They wanted to come back after their studies. I mentioned how some Singaporeans commented on moving to Australia for a better life, and they said, "They have to live here to compare."

Perhaps they are young and prefer more excitement. Perhaps the older people, those with families, prefer a more relaxed pace. Ultimately, wherever you choose to call home, the key factor should be whether you feel at home there, rather than whether the country provides you with the best benefits.

mf: How does it go now... 外国的月亮比较圆?
Sito: The grass is greener on the other side...
mf: .. You're right..

So, I will settle for Singapore. Not that I am content to stay in Singapore forever. I would like to go experience life elsewhere, but for a while. Ultimately, this is the only place I can go without checking if it is going to hail or freeze, wear my mini-mini skirts in December, find yummy food at 3am, get home safely at night with $15 on a cab, and of course, get a decent wardrobe at a decent price :)

Saturday, 4 October 2008

音乐呢?

星期天刚从墨尔本回来,虽不是第一次出国,却是头一回在走出机场闸门时有一股强烈的回家的感觉。或许是因为那代表一连串的工作终于忙完了吧。又或者是因为他来接我 :)

昨天,半休息半在家里工作,轻松得很。今天,虽因工作迟归,但感觉也很轻松。归途中,哼着轻快的曲子,甚至乐得举起双手在房里乱跳,弄得吊灯猛晃!

情况和三、四个月前差得可远了。

某天,在办公室累了一天,在从地铁站徒步到家的那五分钟里,惊觉音乐竟在不觉中悄然离去。那时,大概有半年没有K歌了,连哼唱也只是含糊两句。别说唱歌了,甚至有几回带上了耳机却忘了扭开音乐;有几次出远门都懒得带musical pinky。

当时想起来,其实还蛮想唱歌的。只是太忙了,忙累了,根本提不起劲儿早起去K Lunch,也不想因为K歌而晚归。六月中,喉咙啊、肺啊都生病了,咳了两个多礼拜,就连哼那含糊的两句也不行。加上可怕的工作侵蚀了我大部分的时间,渐渐的,我也忘了哼哼唱唱。

有一点难过,毕竟音乐陪我走过了多少岁月-无忧的童年,犹豫的青春,挥霍的年少⋯⋯

不过,没有音乐的日子总算过去了!去澳洲前和同事去K歌,算是给自己庆祝完成了一项大工程。更高兴的是今天早上刚到办公室时,忽然不自觉地哼起一首旧曲,唱了几句忘了词,才赫然发现我在唱歌!感觉⋯⋯真棒!接下来,CY,要去K歌喔!:)

In short, I went to Melbourne and back! More later..
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