Frugal Living

Call me stingy or call me prudent; I am always in for resource saving and optimization.
Be it to find out the best value-for-money place to stay, or "researching" online for sales of household stuff or waiting for flight deals. I proudly acknowledge it! Once I know about an amazing deal, I have this irresistible urge to spread the word. The idea is, the more people who need the stuff, makes use of the sale; the more we save! Right ? I can't help those people who accumulate unwanted stuff just because it is one sale. For their own good, I don't inform them ;)

What triggered all these thoughts about my character ?
I have a sprained neck today and damn, all those pain relievers are at home. I rummaged around my desk and found this teeny tiny tube of muscle relaxant which came in the last year's Stan Chart Marathon goodie bag. Since it wasn't heavy, I had carried it around in my purse and was quite handy when my colleague needed it (even though she was perplexed why I had it with me). I had left it in my cabinet when I felt that there might be more to squeeze out of the tube. Today, when I was desperate for it and was lazy to walk out, I decided to put that tiny tube of medicine to maximum use. 

Mission Accomplished!
(PS : I can't wait to get home to be lectured by Manu on how stingy I have become :O )

It got me thinking about the resources we waste due to packaging constraints. Other than the tubular packs, I could come up with one another important resource - Last drops of perfume.
When I pay about 50$ for a 100ml bottle of CK, how much do I waste when I let go of the last few drops when they insist not to spurt out! I googled a bit and found that people have found a way to exctract it as well ;)

I want to write down a few domestic tips I learned, mainly from family, which has made my life easier:
  • When closing the lid on the instant coffee, make sure it is air-tight, so the coffee remains usable. Using a tissue paper around the rim helps.
  • Well, if you really messed it up once and the coffee powder became a lump, don't throw away. Add hot-water to the bottle and let it sit and absorb the caffiene. Once it cools down, store it in the fridge! Applicable to health drinks like Horlicks ;)
  • Don't throw away zip locks if you are packing jam sandwich or croissants for breakfast. They can serve you on a few more morning meals.
  • Make your own yogurt. (Apparently milk is cheaper)
  • Manu's favourite - Make a list! (for everything)
  • Multi-task while cooking. Saves the most precious - TIME. Pack separately and freeze those dishes which you plan to use in 3-4 days. If you insist of freshly cooked food everyday, make a funny face and move to next point.
  • Ferrero rocher boxes are excellent for keeping small jewellery.
  • Invest in a pair of good slippers for in-home use. I never agreed on it until I realized the difference.
  • Always utilize the point system in airlines, hotels, credit cards. You will eventually amass free nights or free flights! True story!!
  • And the most important one! Luckily, it came true for me. Find a guy obsessed with cleanliness (slight traces of OCD desirable) & marry him.

Comment with more tips, if you have any! Waiting .. !!


I have a DREAM

Everyone knows about the legendary Martin Luther King Jr. Almost everyone knows about the tough times people had to go through during those days of intense racism. Now situation has mellowed down a lot.

Still, as humans, we get flustered and confused, feel wronged and are angered at the slightest hints of racism - whether it be a snigger in the face or a gesture or the body language with which 'the other guy' uttered something in a completely foreign language. I did not realize or experience this until I started living in Singapore, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic nation where the so-called subtle racism is very prevalent. The media is frequently flooded with real-time stories of how silly racist remarks posted in social media, have cost people their career and life. There was an instance where a Singaporean lady finally immigrated to another country and had to change her name, to escape the bad publicity she bought upon herself with the racist remarks!
Earlier in August, when I was staying in a hostel in the Gili Islands, I came across these beautiful lines, painted on the bathroom walls. (Good idea there! everybody is forced to read it ;) )

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring! "

Back home I found that it was an extract from his courageous speech and was awed by it! 
Listen to the crowd agreeing with him and embracing his words for completely understanding their feelings. Listen and understand the way the hope of the entire crowd is lifted! Listen to how the people in the background hang on to each word he uttered. Listen to how he became a Legend!


Even after 50 years, the speech is still so powerful and relevant in our world! It moves, motivates, conforts and gives hope to thousands of people across the globe. The crowd that gathered at Lincoln memorial on 08/28, the efforts by various media to stream the speech and enormous number of views in Youtube proves it true.


ST Run 2013 - so much for all the hype!

Disclaimer - I am not trying to be part of the complaining society, but spilling out the facts that need to be out there in the net. My intention of writing this post is not entirely to crib on how bad the event management was, but to direct pointers to the management, and to serve as a caution for ST runners next year.

I was thrilled when I read an advetorial about STRun in the park 2013. I saw it as a training run for the Standard chartered Run at the end of the year. When I called up a few of my friends who are into running, it eventually became an opportunity for us to spend some sporting time together and discover a new park route. We signed up as a bunch and started the prep. Some of us were running 10K and some were doing their first 5K.

#1 Alarm bells started ringing when the race pack collection was set for the National Day/ Hari Raya long weekend! Of all the days, the ST team chose these particular days when most people would be out of the island or busy visiting relatives! Luckily, Kanan and D were in town and they helped all of us with the race pack collection. After all the fuss, the L size marathon Tee resembles an XL and Manu was not able to use it for the run!
Possible solution - Be reasonable and relevant. After all, being the national daily, you should know the crowd behavior and expectations!

#2 When the 10K was gunned off at 7.15 on August 25th 2013, most runners didn't realize that it would be under the balzing sun all the way, with limited water supplies. There were only 3 water stations along the route and very ill prepared. Runners had to queue while the glasses were being filled! At one station, I skipped the hydration to avoid the long queue and it was a mistake which I couldn't foget because of the throbbing headache throughtout the day.
Possible solution - This route might be good for an evening run. But, for the next year, if the management plans to keep the park runs, choose another park with better sun protection OR consider alternate timing.
More resources should be allocated at water stations and increase the number of water points as well, so that runners would take staggered stops.

#3 Obviously, the management had conveniently overlooked the capacity of the punggol waterway and the serangoon reservoir park connector when they decided on the number of runners. I heard from the 5K runners that they were briskly walking or slightly pacing an obstacle course!
Possible solution -  Set the maximum cap on registration based on the park capacity, or if this intends to grow into a big event, find better routes for the event

#4 Unlike other marathons, there were no cheer persons to motivate us to keep going, One volunteer at the 8K mark was sitting there utterly bored and yawning! The only cheer we got from was from a park visitor who was quite happy to see the thousands of blue clad runners :)
Possible solution - Allocate more cheer leaders by the water stations and at kilometers marks. Motivate them enough with goodies or freebies so that they in turn pass on the cheer to participants.

#5 I hated the supposed-to-be motivating captions at the kilometer marks. There were some captions like - "Stop reading this and keep running", which I did not find humurous at the 9K/14K Mark!
The worst one was - "Smile, because you are still ahead of the people behind you!" I couldn't believe that organizers are unaware of the fact that apart for the top 1% of the runners, marathon is not about competing with the rest of the crowd. It is about fighting demons within, runner's block and most importantly achieving the incredible satisfaction at the finish line at the end of months of hard training !
Possible solution - Run a campagin similar to SCM and collect motiavtional quotes from runners and choose positive, relevant and most inspiring quotes.

#6 When the last water station at 10/15K mark ran out of water supplies , I thought that this was the worst part of the run. To get some water we had to walk long way to the carnival area in the still balzing sun, where each runner had to queue for the end-point drinks. Each was alloted only 1 small bottle and a can of 100 plus.
The goodie bags and medal collection were clubbed together. Manu rightly pointed out that, in a country full of queue loving people, this organizer has succesfully mis-managed a queuing system! They were even assembling the contents and magazines of the goodie bag while the finishers were queueing. D said that she spent more time queuing than running !
Possible solution - Find a better event management team who are ready to learn from present mistakes. Don't cut corners lah!

#7 The medal is stamped in big bold letters with Straits Times Appreciates Readers (STAR) branding and sponsors titles! I wonder how this could be a STAR event, when each runner paid 50$ for this terrible experience.
Possible solution - Set the event goal clear! Is it to really to appreciate the readers ? Or just another ad campaign ?

Overall, a very diasppointining event management and a marathon not be attended next year.

Still, I must say thanks to my buddy finishers who remained motivated against all odds and successfully
finished the trails :)
Proud finishers
D (Divya), Kanan, Kapil, Priyanka, Manu and Me!
(Background - Goodie bag collection)