I did something I haven’t done so for a long time today as I was riding my motorcycle home from work – Instead of taking the CTE highway, I took the “scenic” route with the most number of traffic lights in heavy peak hour traffic.
To my surprise, I didn’t feel irritated or tired when I arrived at my house. It was actually a rather relaxing ride where I was going at a slow speed of 50kmh most of the time and was at peace with other car drivers on the road as I kept running into red stop lights.
That is the Ducati Monster 1200S experience in the congested city – it can be really easy-going even when other temperatures are flaring up around you.
This was not really possible on my older Monster 1100 Evo, where the engine would jerk and shudder violently below 70kmh and always insist on either going fast or engage the half-clutch constantly to rein in the unruly beast within.
In recent years, I’ve been hearing this line “Control what you can control” more and more often. I think it’s a very useful line for time management and job prioritization but it is increasingly used when people are handed a lousy situation not of their own doing, and asked to “just deal with it”.
That thought came to mind when I read this news story in Today where our Defence Minister insists our cost of living here has become more expensive because of our personal aspirations in life:
SINGAPORE — Having higher aspirations in life is a reason why Singaporeans find the cost of living here expensive, despite real wages having gone up, said Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen yesterday (May 10).
But Singapore has to ensure that opportunities to get out of poverty must not be priced out and remain abundant to fulfil the dreams of younger Singaporeans, said Dr Ng.
The Defence Minister was speaking at a Singapore Medical Association dinner and responding to a question from the audience concerned over the rising cost of living in Singapore.“If you look at household goods, per household, what people have – handphone, TV – has actually gone up,” said Dr Ng. Unlike the past, mobile phones are almost an essential item for children, he added.
That Singaporeans find costs of living expensive due to higher aspirations is a reason that will not please people, including himself, said Dr Ng, as the reason is “objective” and does not address “issues of the heart.”
Dr Ng added that while the Government makes sure that nobody should have their potential stunted just because their family cannot afford it, this is “difficult argument” to sell as some parents pay large sums of money to provide tuition for their children.
Before writing this post, I’ve actually spent the past three days mulling frequently on the story and on my personal situation.
I’ve asked myself – so is this true? Have my aspirations led to the increasing costs that we’re all experiencing around us? I’ve always respected Minister Ng (hey, he’s an old ACS boy, so he can’t be that clueless right?) so I kept asking myself if it was me and not him. Continue reading Higher aspirations, higher cost of living?
Losing weight is a science, but maintaining your weight is an art.
I coined this phrase on Facebook a few months ago as I realized that it was actually more challenging to keep one’s weight constant than to lose weight.
You see, as I’ve found out and written in my book Anyone Can Lose Weight, as long as you stick to some simple calorie counting, you will lose a predictable amount of weight.
The science is rock-solid reliable as long as you don’t give up - every 7700 kcal that you remove from your food intake over time, will result in approximately 1kg of weight loss. (Read my book to better understand this simple science that nobody teaches in schools)
But when you’ve finally reached your desired weight, it gets very tiring to keep counting calories, and your body is telling you that it deserves better than the minimal calories it has been enduring for weeks or months.
The risk of lapsing back into one’s old eating habits is extremely high.
There is also no fixed diet anymore to follow, as I have to eat just my daily requirement of calories to maintain weight. So what dishes should I eat today?
At the same time, your weight can never remain absolutely constant like a non-living object – your body’s fluid and mass is constantly in flux daily as it goes through hormonal changes, water retention, illness, responses to weather conditions and so on. That’s why some diet plans advise you not to weigh yourself daily, but perhaps once a week.
That’s why I believe maintaining weight is an art – it requires a lot of flexibility and there is no hard and fast rule to follow. There are some general guidelines to remember though. Here are some of my personal findings and opinions after maintaining my weight for the past six months. I’m still figuring this out every day, but here goes: Continue reading The art of weight maintenance
For a couple of years now, I’ve been increasingly annoyed by the poor use of taxpayer dollars by the Singapore government for frivolous or impractical things, while cost of living continues to shoot up and everyone is unhappier than ever with the state of things.
In recent months, I’ve seen more people considering taking up motorcycle riding lessons in response to the dismal Certificate of Entitlement (COE) situation for cars.
It’s a natural outcome, given that riding is always going to be a cheaper transport solution than cars, even though the motorcycle COE premium is now hitting new highs of over $4,000 (nearly three times of what it was last year).
But I’ve also heard many people express doubt and uncertainty, because motorcycling is seen as an undesirable and dangerous form of transport. I’m writing this to help shed light on some important things before you make the decision to go on two wheels.
You might think that my immediate answer to the question “Should I ride a motorcycle in Singapore?” would be “Yes”. Actually, serious bikers focus so much on safety, that you should be asking “Am I able to commit to being safe on the roads if I want to ride a motorcycle?”. Many inexperienced bikers think that the Traffic Police is too preachy when it comes to road safety – well, you wouldn’t think that way if you know more about road riding. Continue reading Should I Ride A Motorcycle In Singapore?
Most people may not know that between 2003 and 2013, the car population jumped from 405,328 vehicles to 621,345 vehicles, a staggering 53% increase, according to official Land Transport Authority data.
In the same period, the motorcycle population only increased from 134,767 vehicles to 144,307 vehicles, a 7% increase.
Private cars now form 64% of the total vehicle population, while motorcycles make up 15%.
Despite the minimal impact of motorcycles on road congestion and pollution, in the past four months, the Certificate of Entitlement premium for two-wheelers has increased 240% to $4,289 as the LTA has applied its one-size-fits-all formula to capping vehicle population growth in Singapore.
While the LTA is doing the right thing in correcting the over-supply of COE in the past decade, it may not realize how its myopic approach in severely restricting the release of motorcycle COEs is hurting the motorcycling population and intensifying a growing social equity problem. Continue reading The COE system is now hurting motorcyclists too
There is one common thing that I’ve frequently observed among people who find it difficult to lose weight and those who wonder why they don’t seem to be able to save much money – they’re simply not very self-aware of their own habits, and they often complain that it’s hard to lose weight or save money.
This post is more on our drinking habits, so I won’t talk much about how to save money because it’s different for everyone. Some people have big necessary bills to pay, some have big unnecessary bills, and some people find it tough to get a good job. (What I do each month is to simply carve out my forced savings the minute my pay cheque gets deposited into my bank and transfer it into another account.)
Now to jump to my conclusion about healthy, economical drinking – just drink plain water all the time (duh).
People know that plain water is beneficial to the body, but you need to look at the economics of commercialized water – you may not be aware of how much money you are literally pissing into into the urinal and helping to fund the huge advertising campaigns of beverage makers to get you to drink even more sugared water. Continue reading How to drink to lose weight and save money
I recently started using a Fitbit Zip activity tracker because I was intrigued by this whole idea of doing 10,000 steps a day to keep fit. At S$78 (before the Challenger member 10% discount), it’s not cheap but it’s not expensive either for a tiny pedometer that comes with Bluetooth wireless capabilities and built-in user account.
To be clear, it’s not like I need a pedometer, because I already jog regularly two to three times a week and I watch what I eat most of the time. I weigh myself daily now with a Fitbit Aria scale that logs my weight to my personal account and I can always study my weight variations anytime on my phone or PC.