Higher cost of living now than 20 years ago?

I can't think of many things that cost the same as 20 years ago. But there are things that have been free and even though they're free, they've improved. E.g. the parks, free public music performances, free entry to museums. (Ok... taxpayers pay for it. Btw, Singaporeans and PRs get free entry to 7 museums in August as part of our national day celebrations.)

As for things that we have to pay for, we have to understand that people's expected standard of living has risen therefore causing the cost of living to rise.

Past: the whole family uses one bar of soap.
Now: at least 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 facial wash, 1 bath gel per person

Past: Tuition? What for? If fail exams, just cane the child!
Now: Tuition lessons, music lessons, speech and drama classes, enrichment classes and whatever classes for lil' precious.

Past: Entertainment? Go play with your friends, your barbie doll and toys.
Now: Family entertainment is going out for a movie. For a family of 4, that's at least $40 for a 2-hour movie. Add in parking and food, that's a $100. $100 takes me to work and back home for 3 weeks in today's dollars. Families are willing to blow that amount in a day.

Past: Take a bus 2 hours from one end of the island to another daily to work.
Now: So far? I don't want the job! Or buy a car to drive to work.

Past: Wait 3 years for HDB flat to be completed.
Now: 3 years is so long! Cannot wait! Want to buy resale flat but no money. Complain to MP!

So, if we want to compare today's cost of living with that 20 years ago, we should also look at the difference in the standard of living.

I recall having $2 fishball noodles at old hawker centres with boney cats waiting cleaners to wipe scraps off the table onto the filthy floor for them to eat. Now the hawker centres and air-conditioned food courts are mostly clean and pleasant with no scraps of food on the floor while the fluffy cats don't need to wait for scraps because they are fed daily with freshly-opened $3 cans of Friskies. Is it reasonable to pay $3 for the same bowl of fishball noodles? I think Yes because we also have seat reservation self-service!


Anonymous said...

Past: Can't see old citizens collecting empty cans.

Past: Can't see families setting up tents by the beach because cant afford to buy house.

Yu-Kym said...

That's because we used glass bottles, not metal cans.

Anonymous said...

Past: You won't see so many vagrants sleeping downstairs.

Now: Old people & Poor People sleep at void decks.

Anonymous said...

Past: 1960s HDB flats were for the not-well-off.

Now: HDB flats are for the executives e.g. "executive HDB flats"

Past: Casinos are at the road side e.g. crab games. It was free.

Now: You pay $100 to enter.

Past: Cinemas were packed. They were licence to print money.

Now: They go broke.

Past: chow qui teo 50 cents.

Now: $3