Basic standard of living in Singapore

This week, I wanted to share a tweet thread breaking down a study that says it costs S$6,426 (approx USD$5k) for a family of 4 (husband, wife, 2 kids) to live a basic life in Singapore.

On first glance, $6k for a family to live a basic life sounds waaaay too high. But the tweet author really breaks it down and shows that this is indeed what living (as compared to existing) costs:

Lastly, on what it means to be living. The profs repeatedly emphasize that their definition of the “basic standard of living” is “more than just housing, food and clothing.” It is about “having opportunities to education, employment, and work-life balance, as well as access to healthcare” and “includes choices to participate in social activities, and the freedom to engage in one’s cultural and religious practices (note both the tangible and intangible aspect of one’s needs).” These “enables a sense of belonging, respect, security, and independence.”

The corollary is this: If you take away all the social aspects of life, and only focus on housing, food, and clothing (as many people say they should because “basic mah”), then you are stripping away a person’s dignity and humanity.

Your own parents will look down on you because you don’t bring anything when you visit them. God will not receive your prayers and donation. Children won’t be loved. Teenagers will be discriminated or left out by their friends. Is such a life worth living at all?


The highest I’ve ever been paid as an employee was $3.6k (incidentally, this is why I decided to start working for myself), so the idea that I wasn’t even making a humane wage really hits home for me.

Seeya next Monday,


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