Business & Creativity, Numbers

Crisis To Crisis

The world had wallowed through one crisis to the next in the past decade. And just when some of us are starting to recover from the financial crisis of 2008, we are savagely plunged into another one – a pandemic, this time – a global health crisis.

Because no one on Earth knows how long this crisis will last, D had decided to pause his eight-year-old, one-man design business when the first lock down was enforced last year. A typical small business needs about ten years to turn around. But heck, try doing that from one crisis to the next!

Taking a pause was a strategic move. Keeping our heads above the water is the smart thing to do. Staying alive is the logic step. Only then do we have a future. A future of plans, actions, results, progress and hope.

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Business & Creativity, Human Nature

Evolving Consumer Behaviours

Covid-19 has and is changing consumer behaviours. And those trends might be here to stay.

Personally, I asked myself these questions before I purchase something:

  1. Where did it come from?
  2. Can I eat it?
  3. Will it last?
  4. Can it be reused?
  5. Can I fix it if it sustains minor damages?
  6. Is it biodegradable?
  7. Is it worth the amount I am paying?
  8. Do I like it?

More funds allocated to filling up our pantries and savings accounts, less to useless trinkets and nonsensical luxuries. And that is not a bad thing at all…

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Business & Creativity, Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers

Thirty & Fifty

In the year 2000, I bought a 21-year life insurance savings policy. It was a financial gift and commitment I gave myself in commemoration of my 30th birthday. My financial objective then was for this policy to reach maturity in the year I turn 50, thus becoming my birthday gift for the second time. 🙂

Today, I received the maturity sum in my bank account.

Two decades went by really quickly.

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Belgium, Business & Creativity, Numbers

Running Out Of Funds

These past few days, my mind has been primarily occupied by the news that certain businesses will be reopening this week. It puzzles me as to why the Belgian government would knowingly risk another Covid-19 wave.

Then this morning, while observing a hungry finch munching away in the wall feeder, I realised that the cause might mainly be due to funding, or in better words, the lack of it.

You see, businesses which had to close are compensated by the government. Employees who cannot go to work, are paid unemployment, which is 70% of their salaries. Taxation is at an all time low due to the crisis. Therefore, I am rather sure that money is the main factor in this recent action plan.

The engine cannot run without fuel.

This strategic move stops the unending clamouring from business owners, or at least some of them. It calms the outcries from people who wanted to be spoiled, pampered, have their hair trimmed and coloured.

But most importantly, this move slows the treasury from oozing itself empty!

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Belgium, Business & Creativity, Flashbacks, Health

Mental Health & Economy

After a 3-month pause, hair salons may restart their businesses next Saturday. And on the first of March, most close contact businesses like beauty salons, hands and feet care, tattoo shops and so forth may start as well. Camp grounds, vacation homes, zoos, and theme parks will also be reopening soon – for the upcoming krokusvakantie (spring break). Real estate agents will be allowed to organise house tours. All these, supposedly, for the sake of our mental well-being and the economy.

Heck, why?!

This Covid-19 nightmare started in March last year. A third wave is staring us in the face, people! The old folks are not completely vaccinated yet. And what about the personnels in the medical sector? Why are we creating the chances for the virus to spread itself?

Seriously, why?!

A serious third wave will probably mean another strict lockdown. It will be another nail on the coffins of many medical personnels. A hinder to the already difficult vaccination process.

A mild third wave will still kill people. And it will definitely prolong the shut downs of cafés and restaurants. How is that good for our mental health and economy?

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Belgium, Business & Creativity, Simplify

Little Things

I received the above lovelies in the mail this morning.

What happened was… I came upon an advertisement in one of the Knack Weekend magazines I read a couple of weeks ago. A new Belgian perfume lab has been established in one of my favourite cities – Ghent. Miglot advertised that it will send free samples of perfume to people who are interested. I am always interested in nice smelling things, so I did just that.

Five days into the new year, I have had a great teppanyaki meal, enjoyed a sushi boat in the weekend, opened a new savings account, and received five free perfume samples. Happiness is cherishing the simple little things in life!

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Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks

Sushi Boat

I do not feel like cooking dinner this evening. So D and I ordered takeaway Japanese. Our dinner will be Sushi Boat 2, accompanied by some sake which we bought and stored away a while ago.

In doing so, D and I will be celebrating the new year, and giving a local business a bit of support. 🙂

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Belgium, Business & Creativity

Behaving

Yesterday, I read an opinion piece of an economist as regards to next year. He stated that the general mass are too optimistic and are underestimating the current crisis. Everyone is hoping that 2021 will be the year we all bounce back and lead normal lives again. We have suffered enough, most think. But the realists know deep down that it shall not be that easy. Logic dictates that we are far from the end. It will be at least another year of holding our breaths.

The world shall belong to those who are able to persevere for another year. Recovery will go to those who will be able to stay calm, behave, and take care of themselves wisely.

Since international travel is out of the picture till 2022, my main activities of 2021 would be mainly concentrated on home improvements. Ikigai 2021 will involve a pond in the backyard, new flooring for upstairs, new coats of paints where necessary, silicone strips replacements, and maybe even installing a bathtub at last. D and I will have to plan and implement according to availability of time and funds.

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Business & Creativity

Creative Pen Tablet

Christmas came early this year! 🙂

This Saturday morning, the post(woman) rang the doorbell and placed a package at the front door. I smiled and thanked her, and she returned in kind. I do not know that they deliver in the weekends these days.

The contents of the box consisted of a bird feeder and a Huion pen tablet. I have always wanted one since I first tried a Wacom pen tablet when I was studying design.

To start off this new hobby, I shall continue practising my brush strokes, but alternating my tools with the new gadget. When I am comfortable with digital calligraphy, I shall try out free hand pencil sketches, copying images from some old and loved photographs.

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Belgium, Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber, Travels

Second Home Speculation

Covid-19 has made travelling and holidaying in other countries quite an annoying and inconvenient matter. This in turn has led to a significant demand for real estates at the coastal region of Belgium. Well-to-do Belgians who face hindrances of enjoying their overseas homes, are now spending their surplus wealth in their own country.

From the perspective of local economies, this sort of purchasing trend is a good thing. It is probably an exciting and joyful time for some real estate agents, especially those dealing with coastal properties and holiday homes.

Yet, I cannot help but wonder whether this is a wise way to spend ones wealth. As an economist once said, you cannot turn bricks into bread when you are hungry. One has to remember that we are dealing with many uncertainties at the moment. Second homes, especially those near large bodies of water, are not ideal investments in the long run. We also have no idea what kind of influences and functions money will have a decade from now. Making large scale purchases, locking up ones wealth in costly assets seem like a game of pure speculation and gamble.

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