China’s “Bai Lan” (摆烂) Phenomenon is Here in Singapore Too

I just watched this Youtube video about the “bai lan” (摆烂)phenomenon among youths in China. It reminded me of friends, colleagues, maybe even myself.

I think this phenomenon is not only restricted to China. I know for a fact that it is very much alive in Singapore as well. I didn’t have the right word to describe it but I think “bai lan” might be an appropriate term.

I have a colleague who constantly expresses her wish to retire early so she can stay in a retirement home. She will get fed and bathed everyday, without having to worry about anything anymore. Isn’t that the “bai lan” attitude?

I myself have also exhibited symptoms of the “bai lan” phenomenon at many points in life. I find work tiresome and repetitive, I only do whatever is expected of me and have no motivation to excel. To me at the moment, work is just my means of earning enough salary to live a comfortable life. Work-life balance is very important to me.

Bai Lan

Factors that contribute to the “bai lan” phenomenon:

  • Higher standard of living: The average standard of living has drastically improved in many countries such as China and Singapore. Gone are the days where you either strive or starve. Many young adults realise they don’t have to work very hard in order to sustain a reasonable standard of living.
  • Work-life balance: The influence of Western culture has brought attention to the concept of work-life balance. More and more people are realising that work is not the most important thing in their life, enjoying life is.
  • Cookie-cutter factory-style work: The evolution of work in general contributes to the “bai lan” phenomenon. Work should be an expression of who we are, and not doing repetitive cookie-cutter factory-style work.
  • High property prices in China: The property prices in China has risen ten-fold in many large cities in China. Many young adults realise that they many not be able to afford a house even if they work themselves to death, so they just give up.

What Can We Do

I believe there will always be a group of people in any society who will have the “bai lan” mentality and we should not over-generalise. Everyone have a right to live life the way they see fit. You can’t expect everyone to be a high-achiever.

These strategies might help some of those who want to get out of the “bai lan” state:

  • Give recognition and praise: The old Chinese culture believes that giving praise will only weaken one’s spirit and make them lazy. But I believe that most people work hard because they want to be recognised for their hard work and it validates their effort. Bosses and managers should give due recognition and praise in the form of awards and monetary incentive to stimulate workers’ will to succeed.
  • Work based on strengths: Albert Einstein has a famous quote which I like very much: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I feel that many people are working in jobs which are not in line with their nature so they feel like fish out of water. It might be a good idea to take a personality test like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which will help you to discover your personality and what type of job you are most suitable for.
  • Personal goals: There is a saying “life without goals is like a race with no finish line; you’re just running to nowhere”. It is crucial to set goals within both your work and life.

These are my thoughts on the “bai lan” phenomenon that has the Chinese government so anxious. What do you think about the “bai lan” phenomenon? Tell me in the comments below!


Beware of India Call Centre Scams

I just watched a video on India call centre scams (you can read the written version here) and it really gives me the goosebumps.

These tech support scams mainly These old people live alone and they are not tech-saavy, so when they encounter technical issues, they call tech support for help.

Quoting the video,

India has become a leader in the international tech support scamming industry, taking more than more than US$1 billion a year from the United States alone.

There are also people like Leo (not his real name) who has levelled up into and “entrepreneur” or a scam call center consultant who sets up scamming outfits for those with money to invest. From hiring to hardware, he has it down to a science, especially on how long it will take to generate returns for the investors.

The worst is, even when people like investigative journalist Samarth Bansal and Snigdha Poonam uncovers the truth about these India call centre scams, the Indian police does nothing! There are no laws or legislations to govern online transactions that originate in another country.

Some scambaiters such as ‘Sven’ decided to take things into their own hands. Through reverse tracking, he has managed to get into the company’s systems, securing access to their confidential files and real-time CCTV footage of scams taking place. And yet when ‘Sven’ reports the scam centre with detailed evidence to the police, the Indian police sends him off saying it’s not under their jurisdiction.

I am not a scambaiter and I don’t exactly know how these scams work but one lesson I have learned from love scams is:

If someone you just met asks for money from you, there is a high chance it’s a scam.


Covid-19 Quarantine at Community Care Facility

I tested positive for Covid-19 at end of February 2022 so I went to see a doctor and I was assessed to have mild symptoms (Protocol 2). My father, whom I was living with, had underlying health problems so I requested to quarantine in a community care facility.

There wasn’t much information about community care facility online. All I could find were some old newspaper articles about the quarantine centre in Expo so I thought that’s where I would be going.

I was told that someone will contact me within 24-48 hours to coordinate my transfer, but I actually got a call that very evening. A kind Indian lady told me that a driver would pick me up the next day between 9am – 12pm.

I packed my bags and the driver picked me up at 9.15am the next day in a taxi. He was wearing personal protection equipment and N95 mask, all the 4 windows were wind down as per protocol.

I ended up being quarantined in Furama Riverfront Hotel, sharing a room with another lady who tested positive around the same time as myself.

The taxi driver dropped me off at the entrance of Furama Riverfront Hotel. A staff in full PPE attire reminded me to do TraceTogether check-in and brought me to the “reception”. The whole reception hall was covered with thick plastic sheets, with a few dismal chairs by the lobby.

The staff checked my name, gave me two sheets of paper that states the rules during my stay. I was also given 2 sets of ART test kits, I was to test myself on the 4th and 5th day.

Another staff in full PPE attire brought me to my room. I think the whole floor or maybe the whole hotel has been converted into Community Care Facility. There was a chair outside each room, where the meals would be placed three times a day.

Covid-19 Quarantine at Community Care Facility 1

I was pleasantly surprised by how spacious the room was. The room comes with an attached bathroom with a bathrobe and there’s even a television in the room.

The two single beds were pushed to the far corners of the room, one next to the toilet and the other next to the window sills. There was even a window, through which I could down to the barren swimming pool downstairs.

Covid-19 Quarantine at Community Care Facility 2

On each bed, there was a large white towel, ample toiletries, white plastic bags to put our trash as well as laundry bags. There was also a packet of chocolate chip cookies and a few sachets of milo.

Covid-19 Quarantine at Community Care Facility 3

The hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, which were placed on the chair outside our door. We were to throw all trash into the white plastic bags provided, tie them up securely and place them outside the door.

Except for not able to go anywhere outside our room, it was an otherwise pleasant experience. My roommate was a mild-mannered lady and we talked occasionally. We shared some of our food and she didn’t snore so I was able to have good sleep.

If you contract Covid-19 with mild symptoms, do consider serving quarantine at a Community Care Facility. In fact, I don’t even mind doing it again. I brought my laptop and managed to get quite a bit of writing done. It’s almost like a retreat of sorts. Good for some serious soul-searching.


What is The Purpose of Life? It is to Create.

I believe I am not the only one who have these questions: What is the purpose of life? What am I living for? What is my purpose in life? 

Judging from the millions of search results, I think pretty much everyone have asked these questions at one point of their life or another. 

I think I have found the answer to this question, at least it’s what I can agree on. 

I chanced upon this answer when I was searching for answers to another question: Is travel really necessary? 

The thing is, my parents don’t want me to travel. They feel that traveling is a waste of my hard-earned money and it is dangerous. I understand their concerns but I still want to travel. I was confused if my desire to travel is wrong so I decided to find out. This article gave me a whole new perspective as to why traveling is overrated. 

Okay, back to the original question: What is the purpose of life? I found the answer in an article: 


If you think about it, it’s really true. Everyone creates, it’s just a matter of how big the scale is. 

Ordinary people make small creations. We create babies, we create homes, we create families.  

The millionaires and billionaires are so rich because they created something that many people needed. Bill Gates created the world’s largest software company, Steve Jobs created a better smartphone. They created solutions to problems and that it why they are so successful. 

What can I create? What problems can I solve to make the world a better place? 


原来快乐这么简单 – 九把刀的金字良言













Scam Alert! Scammers on Facebook/Tinder/Meetup

Scam Alert

Do I have the words “ Please Scam Me” written across my forehead or something?

Because if that is not the reason, I can’t understand why I am ALWAYS meeting scammers. I have met so many scammers that it is statically impossible.

Let me just share a few of my experiences with you all here. These are the recent ones which I can still remember.

Case 1: New York Engineer Patrick Chong 

He found me on and we continued chatting on WhatsApp. He was here in Singapore for contract negotiations, apparently.
He was born in Hong Kong but he and his parents migrated to the US long time ago.
His profile picture on and WhatsApp looked pretty ordinary, very Chinese-looking. He also sent me some recent photographs so I thought he might be real. But for someone who lives in New York and is an engineer by profession, his English sucks (red flag).
We have been chatting for almost a month now. He didn’t come on too strongly. I was busy last week so we didn’t really talk. I suddenly received a message from him this morning asking me to reply when I see the message. He then told me something about his project having problem and he asked me to pay for him first and he will reimburse me. I immediately blocked him. 

Case 2: Real Estate Agent from China

I was talking with my girlfriend the other day and she was telling me about how her friend found her husband on Tinder. It gave me hope that there are good real people looking for relationship on Tinder. I downloaded it again and even put in recent photographs.

This guy from China matched with me. Apparently he was in Singapore for holiday. How convenient.
He was all “call me hubby” and I played along. We have great chemistry and we were texting non-stop. Somehow the topic changed to making money. He was telling me that he invests in bitcoin and he asked me to join him. He gave me a link to a bitcoin platform call EasyCoin but Apple blocked it because the certificate is not verified. I told him about it and he told me how to go about it. But this made me doubt the credibility of this bitcoin platform so I did a search online. It turned out that people have been talking about this EasyCoin scam since 2013! I told him that I have too many things on hand and I put bitcoin on hold for a while. He agreed and didn’t push further.
The next day, when we started texting in the afternoon, he was talking about the bitcoin platform again. He asked me to join him and promised to teach me. I told him that I am not interested and this time he was all “if you love me, shouldn’t you learn to enjoy what I love”. I asked him about the EasyCoin scam and he said that’s because they don’t know how to play. He says he earns tens of thousands of dollars, he won’t want to cheat me of my palsy few hundred dollars.
I got tired of all these pretense and blocked him.

These are just two examples. There are many others on Tinder, Facebook and other platforms.

My conclusion is no more internet dating, I am only going to join programs organized by SDN-accredited dating agencies from now on.