Minimum Income Standard and me

I remember I only started going to the cinema when Bruce Lee’s show titled “The Big Boss” was screened. It was in 1971. I was 14 years old and in Secondary Two then. I queued for a ticket and it was such a long queue. Then there was “Towering Inferno” in 1974 that left a deep impression in me when I was in JC1. “Saturday Night Fever” starring John Travolta in 1977 was memorable too. I was already in the National Service (NS).

I can count few movies I had seen when I was a teenager. I did not have much money on me. I only started saving money when I was paid during my NS days. (SAF Officers were paid better than other ranks.) These savings helped me partially through my education in NUS.

My parents were not rich and we rented our 2-bedroom flat from the Singapore Improvement Trusts (SIT) flats. Seven persons lived under one roof. My father was a trishaw rider and provided for the family in the initial years when we were growing up.

Under this condition, I did not have much money to go out with friends. I was a social misfit and shy with meeting new friends. I had a small circle of friends who were my classmates. National Junior College was worst for me. Cliques were formed based on secondary schools they were together. I did not belong since I studied at Gan Eng Seng School.

I grew up ignorant of the ways of the world. I knew little other than studying for major examinations.

I look at my daughter. She has a better standard of living growing up. She has more than sufficient financially. She could afford to go on study trips and some overseas vacations with friends. This was the difference between her and me. Money has helped.

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