It’s been a really fantastic long Jubilee weekend for all of us.
For the nation, we celebrate our 50th jubilee year of national independence and it has been a truly remarkable journey for all Singaporeans. The grand celebration at Padang was also an indication that marks the face of the tiny little dot to the envy of the whole world.
However, one thing that stands out from the “giving” for this Jubilee weekend has been the exceptional power of “FREE” that marks a truly significant sharing to all Singaporeans by various vendors and attractions.
One of those attractions I mentioned was the Art of the Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, which was offered free entries during the Jubilee weekend. I was personally there to witness the long queue myself and had planned to join in until I was told that the waiting time was over 5 hours. I changed my mind of course. My rationale was simple. If the cost of the entry ticket to go in is $30, then a 5 hours wait might not be the most sensible thing to do. This is myself of course being able to have the luxury to spend on these things. Perhaps, we could argue that it was not the case for everyone, but I think most people in the queue would be able to afford the tickets easily.
The free cable ride offered at the Sentosa was another which I was bemused. Last I am hearing, the waiting time for the free cable ride goes for as long as 10 hours. That’s practically almost half a day long just awaiting for the free entry to the cable ride. Does it make sense for someone who can afford to do so on any given normal day? Maybe not so. But humans are predictably irrational, as Dan Ariely will tell you so on the power of free.
The Power of Free
In his book on the “Predictable Irrational”, Dan Ariely talked about how the hidden forces of free shapes the irrational thinking of mankind. It’s like as if there are almost no downside limitation to it. After all, what can you lose if you are paying nothing? Not nice or not fun? Hey, it’s FREE!!! Some may argue that the waiting time I talked earlier was a downside, but perhaps maybe not many think so.
On the investing front, we can relate the concept of delayed gratification to this. Since many people are seemingly eager to participate in the activities that they do not have to pay upfront, perhaps the same can be said and applied to personal finance. If these people are able to sustain and control their physical and emotional awareness to waiting, then my assumption is that they are able to control their buying impulsiveness for the greater good of the latter. After all, it is all about sacrificing the current state to the benefit of the latter, which most likely is the case.
For this very same reason, then we could perhaps deduce that the low utility of personal finance to Singaporeans would be more due to the not knowing how than the irrational state being of the individual himself.
What do you think of this concept of free? Would you have done the same waiting if you were there?