Singapore 6th most expensive city: allow small businesses and petty trading

In Singapore, small businesses have practically vanished. They have been ousted by giant supermarkets, chain stores and high rentals.

We used to see Indian “mama” convenience stores at street corners. Occasionally I chance upon a few under HDB void decks but they have largely vanished.

Chinese medicine shops too have diminished greatly in numbers. And Chinese provision shops had gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Making their last stand are the few surviving wet markets.

Perhaps the most missed are the street foodstalls which were ubiquitous 40 to 50 years ago. To enjoy roadside dining under the stars, one now has to go to Malaysia or Thailand.

In such countries roadside foodstalls and petty trading are commonly seen. They enable people to earn a living or to supplement their income.

In Singapore, the closest thing we have to this is the itinerant ice-cream man. But they face all sorts of restrictions on where they can hawk.

In China, again small businesses like roadside foodstalls and petty trading strive. I’m sure there are laws against this but from my observations the authorities generally look the other way. People are just trying to make ends meet that’s all.

For example, whenever it rains some people see a business opportunity. They would gather at commuter train stations (known as the Metro in China) to sell umbrellas. Others hawk tourist maps at tourist spots and train stations.

According to the Economist magazine, Singapore is the 6th most expensive city in the world to live in. Singapore is also the third most expensive in Asia to live in.

To survive, some have resorted to selling facial tissues, busking, collecting cans and cardboards. However, the authorities should also allow petty traders and roadside foodstalls.

Live and let live.

(Life is short, and there’s much to read so it’s my intention to keep my blog
posts about 200 words).

Hawking fruit in China.

Selling kites outside Shanghai Science Museum.

Raining and no umbrella? Fret not. Just buy one from the umbrella ladies.


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