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8 things that become more expensive during Lunar New Year



Ever wondered why and what things become more expensive during the annual Chinese New Year (CNY)? Some of the reasons include the rising cost of manpower, rents and raw materials which has caused an increase in prices of these festive goodies. Read on to find out more and share your thoughts with us!

1. Bak Kwa (Barbecued Pork)

This all-time favourite (apart from pineapple tarts and shrimp spring rolls) gets more expensive as the festive season draw nearer and nearer due to its price inelasticity of demand that allow retailers to increase the price of their good without worrying that demand will drop.

In lay man terms, this means that the price elasticity measures sensitiveness of people buying Bak Kwa given that there is a change in the price. If we see many people still buying Bak Kwa when the price has increased, then we know for sure that the price is inelastic. The same concept applies vice versa. It’s a very natural market condition that causes the price to go up. An unofficial “ceiling” will form – a price that, once reached, will be sufficient to actually turn customers away. However, prices are steadily rising because that ceiling seems to be rising every year.

Furthermore, as Bak Kwa falls under the category of perishable foods, they have a shorter shelf life which means that consumers are left with no choice but to buy it during peak season, even at a higher price. Prices of goods with longer shelf life are less susceptible to price hikes. For instance, the Yeo’s packet drinks have prices that remain stable, despite the increase in demand during festive times.

2. Homemade goodies – Pineapple tarts

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Unless you claim to be able to taste the stark differences between homemade pineapple tarts or factory-churned pineapple tarts, then getting homemade snacks may be better for you, especially if you’re the health conscious sort. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of people opting for homemade snacks. The “homemade” label tends to jack up costs by roughly 25%. This translates that a S$15 box of pineapple tarts would be around S$18 or S$20 instead.

3. Once-in-a-year Kueh Bangkit (Coconot Tapioca Cookies) or Love Letters 

A price hike during the festive peak period help retailers increase their total earning for that year. As these snacks can be unhealthy when consumed too much and are high in calories, the demand for such festive goods for the other months of the year will not be high.

In other words, the CNY period is the only time during the year where retailers can raise their revenue. Thus, it is only logical for them to increase the price during this time of the year to maximise their profits.

So, we strongly suggest that you buy these snacks after CNY if you want to save some money.

4. Red Packets, a.k.a. Ang Baos 

Let’s face it, no matter how the economy is every year, most of us still probably give away the same amount in each red packet. And according to market rates today, some say that “the days when you could get away with giving $2 are long gone. $10 seems to be the bare minimum these days, so get ready to feel the pinch.” Clearly, inflation is also the obvious reason why your great-grandparents could buy satay at three cents a stick and you can’t.

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5. Reunion Dinners – especially those with Fish, Scallops and Abalone

Evidently, bad weather this year is the key driver of prices for Fish, Scallops and Abalone.

The Chinese pomfret, hugely popular during this festive season, has doubled in price because of demand and supply factors.

Therefore, be prepared to dig in your pockets and fork out more for your meals this CNY!

6. Hair Cut and other grooming services (Manicure etc.)

Hair and nails become more expensive thanks to the usual CNY surcharge that most salons have. Check out these websites for salons with promotions and no additional surcharges to save you from burning a hole in your pocket this CNY!

Click here, here, here and here.

7. Tailored Clothes 

For those who have the habit of having brand new tailored clothes for CNY, why not visit boutique or outlet stores this year to grab cheap and good deals. Get a complete outfit for less than $40!

8. Travel 

More Singaporeans are travelling abroad during CNY, and are also paying more to their travel destinations. In 2017, to encourage more Singaporean families to stay home and spend time with their loved ones, Jetstar decided to waive off all change fees and fare differences to move flight departures on CNY to other dates.  Jetstar says “it will bear the costs for any and all valid applications (that are in accordance with its terms and conditions) for changes during these two days”.

Know of more items that are more expensive during the peak season of festivals? Share with us now! The Local Bytes wishes all our readers a prosperous and shining CNY!


Singapore’s first and only Hello Kitty themed cafe to shut down in 2019



All good things come to an end — and so it shall be with Hello Kitty. Not the actual character of course, but the themed cafe inspired by the iconic feline character at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Earlier today, the 24-hour eatery announced in a Facebook post that they will officially shut its doors for good on February 8, 2019.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

This piece of news came as a shock to Hello Kitty’s throng of diehard fans, who queued up for hours on the cafe’s opening day in May 2016 just to snap selfies with the beloved character. No statement has been issued as to why Hello Kitty Orchard Garden would be closing down, but according to operator Europa Specialty Restaurant, an end of licensing and partnership with Sanrio is the reason for closure.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

To mark its departure, the cafe will be throwing tea parties over two weekends in December. It’ll be all fun and games, and don’t forget to savour their feline-shaped waffles and smoked salmon quiche for one last time.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

However, be prepared to spend. A ticket for two sells at $138, and it comes with food and drinks, limited edition Orchids For You figurines and exclusive thank-you cards autographed by Hello Kitty herself.

Guess goodbye really comes at a cost. Buy your tickets here.
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Popular influencer NasDaily releases video celebrating Singapore



After making a surprise announcement that he was coming to Singapore to film a video, popular travel vlogger NasDaily releases a one miniature long video celebrating all the things we take for granted as citizens of the little red dot.

Nas is famously known for his daily one minute videos which he uploads on his Facebook page, NasDaily. The influencer is known for travelling all over the world and learning about cultures and practices and then making videos about them to educate his viewers.

On Tuesday (21 Aug), Nas put out a post on Facebook announcing that he was visiting Singapore on 22 August and asked fans to gather outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium to be part of his video.

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On the day, over 700 people turned up to be part of this experience.

The video, which was released on 23 August, is entitled “Why I Hate Singapore” and it basically celebrates Singapore’s ethnic diversity as well as many things that Singaporeans take for granted such as the food and the fact that we have drinkable and clean water running from our taps.

While the video acknowledged problems Singaporeans face such as inequality and the high cost of living, it did so in a way that glossed over the problems and encouraged people to appreciate what we have.

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At the event meet up itself, which was changed from outside the Esplanade to the Singapore Sports Hub, which agreed to help the star to shoot his video without break-in any anti-gathering laws, participants got to enjoy Nas’s highly energetic self.

The vlogger talked with fans and gave them a glimpse into what producing his videos took.

Despite the crowd, fans were thrilled to be part of this journey with Nas.
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Shoes collection at Vivocity to help Soles4Souls fight global poverty



Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why VivoCity, the largest retail and lifestyle destination in Singapore has launched a shoe drive to collect 25,000 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes.

The shoes will be delivered to a non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls, that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently-worn shoes in 127 countries.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment.

Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programmes offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras, and Sierra Leone. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills, and protecting the environment.

“VivoCity is pleased to support Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Ms Gwen Au, Vice President for Marketing Communications, Mapletree Commercial Property Management. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe by simply collecting and donating what is otherwise destined for the trash is a really great feeling.”

The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries, that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. This allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a sustainable income, and ultimately purchase necessities like food, shelter and education.

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The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Revenue generated by Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise operations funds the organization’s free distribution programs, that provide new shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and around the world.

“Millions of pairs of shoes lay idle in people’s closets,” said Au. “We would like to encourage Singaporeans to give those to Soles4Souls instead, and know that they are taking a step to help disrupt the cycle of poverty around the globe.”

VivoCity’s shoe drive for Soles4Souls information:

  • Now through August 12th, 2018, bring your new or gently-worn shoes of any kind to VivoCity and drop off your donations at:
  • 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585, official collection points located at Basements 1 & 2
  • Participating stores where donors can enjoy exclusive offers upon donating the shoes in-store.

Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

About Soles4Souls

Soles4Souls disrupts the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization repurposes product to supply its micro-enterprise, disaster relief and direct assistance programs. Since 2006, it has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and generated over $250 million in economic impact. A non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls earns more than half of its income and commits 100% of donations to programs. Visit for more information.

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About VivoCity

With over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space attracting a diverse mix of over 300 retailers, large event places, including an outdoor amphitheatre, a 20,000-square-feet open plaza and a 300 metre long waterfront Promenade, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination designed by world-renowned architect, Toyo Ito. VivoCity is a Mapletree Commercial Trust property.

About Mapletree Commercial Trust

MCT is a Singapore-focused REIT that invests on a long-term basis, directly or indirectly, in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate used primarily for office and/or retail purposes, whether wholly or partially, as well as real estate related assets. MCT’s portfolio comprises of VivoCity, Mapletree Business City I, PSA Building, Mapletree Anson, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront. These five assets have a total Net Lettable Area (“NLA”) of 3.8 million square feet valued at $6.337 billion as of March 31, 2017.
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