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Is complaining being Singaporean's favorite pasttime a bad thing?


During my data workshops, I often ask this the same question to my students from Singapore, "What is Singapore's favorite pastime?" More often than not, many will cite complaining as Singapore's favorite pastime. This article from Channel News Asia confirms my suspicions.


But on a serious note, complaining by itself is not a bad thing; it allows us to let off some steam and perhaps even give strangers a way to relate to each other. But with anything else in life, too much or too little may not be healthy. Having a hard rule to stop complaining, may lead to avoidance of issues and maintainingt the status quo and thus no improvements. Complaining too much and it could start to feel like the end of the world is upon us and we are powerless to cope. The sweet spot is, of course, somewhere in the middle.


Some complaining is fine to let off steam; after that just let it go and move on. Fobbing off the complaint to some customer service officer is not letting it go, it could just lead to more complaining if you perceive that they didn't address the issue or address the issue fast enough. If the issue bothers you enough, then do something about it or simply lose the right to complain. 


Oftentimes, when you are lucid enough while complaining, look at and dissect the issue for yourself. Data provides an objective means to understand your respective gripes; and perhaps you might gain a new perspective, find out that it may not be so bad after all or worse than you thought, and/or what you can do about it. 


Some of the more common gripes that Singaporeans have include, 

  • Public housing is not affordable - But did you know that public housing resale prices are relatively consistent as a ratio of annual household income across the last 20 years? See it for yourself here

  • Rising cost of living - did you know that most household's income has risen by 2.5 times over the last 20 years? Sure cost of living has been rising, but with careful planning, I think many households (not all) can manage with some adjustments. That said, adjustments are sometimes painful too. See it for yourself here


What do you think?


If you are interested to build the necessary skills to examine similar issues for yourself, or finidng out more about current affairs in Singapore with data, contact us to see if FYT can help.

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