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The article on the spending habit of Malaysians here is right on. In fact the mushrooming of shopping malls is encouraging this overspending nature of our people. Just look at the lifestyle cafe joints being set up all over the cities. Starbucks, Coffee Beans, OldTown cafe and all the rest of them. These places encourage young people to spend on costly concoction of drinks and they provide WiFi facilities ostensibly to facilitate young executives to work while chilling off , what an irony!

Credit Cards - a Convenient or a Bane?

Then you have banks offering credit cards to all and sundry. You also have frequent sales plus those so-called loyalty cards and you get SMSs on new merchandise coming in from concept stores and you get reward points for spending…. spend RM500.00 on one receipt and you get triple the points or additional vouchers to go on spending, Dear me, all the pressure from the business people is truly overwhelming. And then those gadgets which keep on churning out new models. I personally know of a relative who has every single iPhone model,iPad and iPod you name it , he’s got it. It is like an addiction if you read my previous posting on the subject.

Then they have these stamps for you to collect the more you spend the more you collect and you can redeem these stamps plus additional cost for lovely items like crockery or pots and pans. So if you like those items you would go on spending in order to get them.

And then you are confronted with online shopping where you order items right in the comfort of your home using your credit card, yes, it is so easy to spend and keep on spending.

In the meantime,the telcos keep sending messages asking you to download these and that and you get all these advertisements on your Facebook, your free emails your TVs your newspapers, we are thoroughly deluged with them! It is very difficult for those without sufficient early training of saving to manage these concerted attempts to make you spend.

The credit cards’ issuers also appear to up the ante by allowing holders to pay minimum amount on their cards’ expenditure and increasing interest on the balance, making people perpetually be in debt. Also the easy loans given out to people to buy cars, the repayment period used to be five years and now it has become nine years, again people are virtually enslaved to the lender. The loan sharks is another evil feature of this kind of society buying things on credit.

Numerous social problems have emerged out of this spending habit. We have heard of young people being declared bankrupt almost daily mostly due to living beyond their means like buying cars on loan and not having the capability of paying off the lending agency.

I think the policy of making everyone own a car is short-sighted. A good government should plan for its citizens’ good quality of life through well-planned infrastructures and amenities. Citizens should not be made to shoulder heavy transportation costs to go about their daily life. You can see how good planning of public transportation in great cities like London and Paris make going around not only cheaper but more convenient. A lot of cost-saving here in terms of car’s purchase,maintenance and petrol.

The failure of the Malaysian government to develop public transportation system is regrettable, already our roads and highways are chockablock-ed/ gridlocked with traffics (plus high accident rate), but our people are spending more because it is so easy for them to just drive to the shopping mall however far it is. If we have to go by public transport we would be more thrifty.

Uncontrolled Consumerism is a Mental Sickness

The pressure to spend and spend is partly influenced by the environment.The consumer society that we live in today lulls its members into materialism by making them more spendthrift. As we advance towards a high income nation we will need to nurture thriftiness in our children to avoid wasteful consumerism and promote better saving.

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