Rain Dance

Sunny-Side-Up is a weekend column celebrating clear blue skies, fancy bookmarks and the snooze button. In other words, expect book/film reviews, DIY crafts and easy recipes for a lovely weekend.

Weeks back, while the sky was clear and the grass fried to crisp, we did a ceremonious rain dance along Punggol Waterway Park, complete with a pious bread-cutting and jam-spreading ritual.

Sure enough, it has been raining every day since. Those Bensimons were unfortunately caught in the rain. Thank goodness, they are washer safe.

The $5 Challenge

According to the Department of Statistics, 105,000 families in Singapore are earning on average $1,500 or less per month. After paying utilities, schooling, housing rental or loan instalments and medicals, they are left with about $5 a day for food and transport per family member. 

Only $5 a day for food and transport, do you think that’s possible? To find out, I took up the $5 Challenge, an online initiative by Singaporeans Against Poverty. Follow my journey on instagram to see how I fare.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far. (1) To save transport costs, I would need to find a job near where I stay. (2) Eating out is not an option. (3) It’s really hard to eat healthy on a shoestring budget.

My $5 challenge ends tomorrow. Honestly, I feel relieved that it’s ending, and I cannot imagine living like this every day. The cruel truth is it’s impossible to eradicate poverty in any society. But what can we do to minimise poverty, and help the poor gain social mobility?

New Philosopher

Sunny-Side-Up is a weekend column celebrating clear blue skies, fancy bookmarks and the snooze button. In other words, expect book/film reviews, DIY crafts and easy recipes for a lovely weekend.

New Philosopher is an independent quarterly magazine devoted to exploring philosophical ideas from past and present thinkers on ways to live a more fulfilling life.”

Picking this up at a bookstore in Australia, I was instantly reminded of how I’d enjoyed reading philosophy in university, intrigued by the words of Plato, Aristotle and John Locke. (Having a young, suave assistant professor was the cherry on the cake.)

It’s too easy to get caught up with life, chasing momentary happiness blindly like stimulated rats. Reading philosophy helps me to rethink my way of life with logic and purpose. According to Seneca, life is long if you know how to use it. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realise that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.