JJ Lin to Mark Lee: 10 notable S’porean personalities who have launched own NFT collections

NFTs have exploded in popularity over the past few years. Last year, the global NFT market size was already at US$4.36 billion, and this is expected to reach US$19.57 by 2028.

Popular NFT series like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), which were once the preserve of crypto fanatics, are now owned by celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Madonna, Neymar, and Steve Aoki

The NFT hype has already reached Singapore — prominent celebrities like local rapper Yung Raja are already known collectors of NFTs, and there have even been disputes over NFTs that have been settled by the Singapore Supreme Court. 

With all the attention coming to NFTs, and the potential profits that NFTs can make for their creators, it should come as no surprise that many local celebrities have also launched their own NFT collections as well. So who are these celebrities, and what’s up for grabs?

1. JJ Lin

Most Singaporeans would associate JJ Lin with his music. His rise to fame, after all, has mostly been due to his popularity as a singer and songwriter. Aside from the many albums that he’s released, Lin also sung the National Day Theme Song in 2015. 

But Lin has also been active in the business scene, opening his own fashion label, starting an esports team, and venturing into the F&B industry.  Several months ago, he joined Kiat Lim and Elroy Cheo  as the third co-founder of ARC, Asia’s first app-based tokenised community, which also features an NFT membership.

Kiat Lim, JJ Lin, Elroy Cheo, co-founders of ARC
Kiat Lim, JJ Lin, Elroy Cheo, co-founders of ARC / Image Credit: ARC

Earlier in September this year, Lin teamed up with GRAYCRAFT founder Kevin Wu to launch their own NFT project, GC-SMG Mechs. According to Lin, GC-SMG Mechs is “about the inclusivity of the voices of our community of holders and fans”.

GRAYCRAFT mech
Image Credit: GRAYCRAFT

The collection will feature 8,888 avatars in total, including 24 base variants which can then be randomised to form unique combinations. 

2. Dharni Ng

Dharni
Dharni Ng / Image Credit: Bandwagon Asia

Another local musician that has jumped onboard the NFT train is Dharni Ng, a beatboxing champion and performer. 

In 2021, Dharni, along with his friend Kenneth, founded Tezarekt, a company initially meant to help the beatboxing community and its artists.

As part of this launch, Tezarekt also launched their own NFT collectibles series, and offered exclusive perks for buyers. These include merch, hotel stays, and discounts for events. 

GBB Allstar NFT collection
GBB Allstar NFT collection/ Image Credit: Swissbeatbox

Known as the GBB Allstar NFT collection, it allowed fans to own digital trading cards of their favourite beatboxers, as well as mix and match different cards to create new ones. The project’s revenues will be split between the Beatboxer being featured, Swiss Beatbox, the card designer, as well as Tezarekt. 

3. Edmund Chen

edmund chen
Edmund Chen / Image Credit: Weekender Singapore

Former actor Edmund Chen has also jumped on board the NFT scene, when he auctioned off an NFT painting, titled ‘Spring – Cherish the Moment’, for 15 Ether earlier this year. 

Spring-Cherish the Moment, by Edmund Chen
Spring-Cherish the Moment, by Edmund Chen / Image Credit: VaultV

The painting was sold to local entrepreneur Queenie Yang, and was based on an earlier piece of artwork that Edmund had done, titled ‘Cherish the Moment’.

The original painting was used as a blueprint, and Edmund used one portion of the painting for the NFT. According to Edmund, the NFT will be one of four that will be based on the original painting, and each NFT painting will be named after a different season.

“Once the four paintings are complete, they will form a long painting which has a high collection potential, and will be a rare set of NFTs.”

4. Mark Lee

Local film veteran Mark Lee has also launched his own set of NFTs earlier this year, under the banner of his production company, King Kong Media Productions. 

Mark Lee
Mark Lee / Image Credit: Tech in Asia

The collection, known as the Kong Collective, is hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, and features 444 unique collectibles, each with a mint price of 1.5 Ether.

Each NFT will function as a lifetime pass to premium membership with the company, and will reportedly include VIP tickets to concerts, movie galas, meet and greet sessions, and more. 

Kong Collective NFT "Moon Pass"
Kong Collective NFT “Moon Pass”/ Image Credit: Kong Collective

According to Lee, the NFT collection is an experiment with fan engagement, and how the company can provide value for NFT owners. 

King Kong Media Productions, for their part, manages artistes such as Henry Thia and Marcus Chin.

5. Tay Kexin

Local singer and performer Tay Kexin has also launched her own collection of NFTs, known as Party Time Kex. The collection features a total of 60 NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain.

Tay Kexin
Tay Kexin / Image Credit: Bandwagon Asia

The NFT collection was created in May, and launched in June, during MetaJam Asia 2022.

However, unlike many of the other NFTs which feature static images, each of the Party Time Kex NFTs includes an audio segment from one of Tay’s songs, with an animated character dancing along. 

Party Time Angel Kex
Party Time Angel Kex/ Image Credit: Tay Kexin

There are several different versions of Kex available, including Party Time Yogi Kex, Party Time Angel Kex, Party Time Disco Kex.

6. Titus Low

Digital creator and entrepreneur Titus Low has also launched his own collection of NFTs. 

Titus Low
Titus Low/ Image Credit: South China Morning Post

He gained fame through his successful OnlyFans channel, and became one of the top creators on the platform before he was ordered to stop accessing the platform by the police. 

Despite being banned from accessing OnlyFans, Low still has access to other forms of social media, and in February this year, he released a collection of 222 NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain. 

The NFTs within Low’s collection all feature images of him, and often include popular phrases from the cryptocurrency community. The NFT titled Tituslow #91, for example, features Titus standing beside his AMG Mercedes, with the caption ‘have fun staying poor’, a phrase often used to disparage cryptocurrency skeptics.

Tituslow #91
Tituslow #91/ Image Credit: Titus Low

Currently, more than a hundred different wallets own at least one NFT from Low’s collection.

7. Irene Zhao

Irene Zhao initially made waves as a model, but her forays into cryptocurrency have also turned her into one of Singapore’s most well known crypto influencers.

irene zhao
Irene Zhao/ Image Credit: Irene Zhao

Earlier this year, she launched her own NFT collection to massive success — the collection recorded S$7.5 million in trading volume within the first week. 

These NFTs, similar to Titus’ feature pictures of Irene with phrases commonly found within the cryptocurrency community. 

IreneDAO Pass #191
IreneDAO Pass #191 / Image Credit: Irene Zhao

The collection, known as IreneDAO, contains 1,106 unique NFTs, and actually began as a telegram sticker pack. It was only after a fan suggested that she turn the sticker pack images into an NFT collection that they were minted and put on the Ethereum blockchain. 

So far, her NFTs have been purchased by other celebrities such as YouTuber Logan Paul, as well as billionaire investor Mike Novogratz.

8. Shigga Shay

Pek Jin Shen, better known as Shigga Shay, is a homegrown rapper most known for his music, but he’s also launched perhaps one of most successful NFT collections so far. 

Shigga Shay
Shigga Shay/ Image Credit: Time Out

His NFT collection, called SPACEBARS, launched in April this year and sold out within four minutes. The collection itself features illustrations of Shigga Shay as an astronaut, and like Tay Kexin’s, each of them also has an audio segment. This time, Shigga Shay recorded a 16-bar verse specifically for the NFT collection.

 The collection totals 999 animated NFT cards, with 900 of these NFTs being common, 90 rare, and nine ultra rare cards.

SPACEBARS NFT
SPACEBARS card/ Image Credit: Crypto.com

In an interview with Crypto.com NFT, Shigga Shay provided some insight into what he saw as the future of the music and NFT industries.

“What’s fascinating for me is how NFTs and blockchain technology are going to change the music industry. I’m so excited for the limitless possibilities that are going to happen with music in the NFT space.”

9. Shavonne Wong

Award-winning fashion photographer Shavonne Wong has also launched her own NFT collection, and one of these NFTs was actually bought by actor Idris Elba. 

shavonne wong
Shavonne Wong/ Image Credit: Shavonne Wong

So far, Wong has released two different NFT collections. The first, titled ‘By Proxy’, was a collaboration between Wong and her friend, Lenne Chai. It comprised a 60-piece 3D/photography art project that sold out on Quantum Art in a minute.

The second project was a more ambitious 500 piece art project listed on Opensea, titled ‘Love is Love’, and the collection also sold out within an hour. It was this collection that Idris Elba bought his first ever NFTs from, when he purchased three items from this collection.

One of the three NFTs that Idris Elba purchased from Wong's Collection
One of the three NFTs that Idris Elba purchased from Wong’s Collection / Image Credit: Vogue

10. Tammy Tay

Tammy Tay
Tammy Tay / Image Credit: Tammy Tay

Singaporean influencer Tammy Tay is has also launched her own collection of NFTs, known as the TTTreasuresDAO. Each NFT can be minted for 0.1 Eth, but unlike influencers like Titus Low or Irene Zhao, TTTreasuresDAO NFTs will not feature images of the influencer herself.

TTTreasuresDAO NFT
TTTreasuresDAO NFT / Image Credit: Tammy Tay

Explaining why, Tammy pointed out that many DAOs are simp DAOs that are fronted by girls who have “little to no knowledge about the NFT space”, and that as a 31-year-old, she felt that “there are a lot of fresh faces out there whom are a lot more interesting”.

For TTTreasuresDAO, Tammy hopes to build a community for members who are interested to learn more about cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse.

For a country that is often criticised for not having much artistic talent, Singapore seems to have many budding NFT artists — and successful ones at that. 

The rise of NFT artists

Beyond simply pushing out NFTs for the sake of it, many Singaporeans have found a way to actually make the NFTs mean something beyond the amounts of money that they trade for: Irene and Titus use their NFTs as a way to better connect with their fans, Shavonne and Dharni uses NFTs to advance causes that they believe in, and Mark uses the NFTs as a way to provide utility and engagement for fans. 

NFTs may be touted as the future of the creative industry, but it takes effort and work to get there. And these Singaporeans are certainly showing how NFTs can help the creative industry, in their own way.

Featured Image Credit: Titus Low, Irene Zhao, Sleek Magazine

Also Read: MAS releases another statement to address misconceptions on the FTX collapse

Elon Musk is running Twitter like an authoritarian regime – should we be fearful about it?

elon musk

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed below belong solely to the author.

It was slightly over a week ago when Elon Musk issued his ultimatum to Twitter employees — commit to a new “hardcore” Twitter, or leave the company with severance pay.

Before that, Musk had laid off half the employees with an impersonal and unsigned email. He also fired several employees for criticising or correcting him in their tweets or Slack messages. Worse still, he publicly revelled in their dismissals like a playground bully celebrating the act of breaking Tiny Tim’s crutches. 

elon musk mocks employee
Is this the way a CEO should be behaving? / Image Credit: Twitter

But since this is Elon Musk, his behaviour is sure to be scrutinised and emulated by employers and middle management everywhere. After all, Musk is the world’s richest man, so he surely must be doing something right?

All of this does not bode well for long-suffering employees already living under the tyranny of callous bosses demanding round-the-clock servitude. 

So, has Musk unwittingly normalised bad behaviour to usher in a new era of workplace bullying?

Working for Elon

Way before the drama at Twitter, Musk’s hostile approach to management is nothing short of legendary. 

Going back at SpaceX, he did nothing about a workplace rife with sexism where employees were punished for reporting it. 

At Neuralink, a brain implant company, the working environment is reportedly toxic, intense, and driven by fear. 

The spate of horror stories continued at Tesla, where Musk yelled at his staff, labelling them as idiots who do not know what they are doing. There are also instances of racial discrimination, an abysmal safety record and wonton disregard for public health

In the eyes of Musk, it is clear that employees are disposable, like single-use plastic. 

One can forget mutual respect and the conventional wisdom of talent management. The cult of personality surrounding Musk meant he never had problems attracting the best and brightest to work at his companies.  

twitter hq wall protest
Unhappy with Elon Musk’s management style, Twitter employees projected a stream of insults on the building of Twitter HQ / Image Credit: Global News

Back at Twitter, the firings were only the beginning. According to the email obtained by the Washington Post, Musk was explicit about his expectations. 

“This will mean working long hours at high intensity,” he said. “Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Musk is not kidding — for he is a man who has worked as much as 120 hours a week and routinely slept on the floor at a Tesla factory. 

Not willing to accept the culture of the new regime, hundreds of Twitter employees have resigned en masse in the face of what they considered despotism under Musk. 

The vindication of toxic bosses

shouted at work
Employers might start behaving more aggressively as a management tactic. After all, it has worked for Elon Musk, a man whose success many seek to mirror / Image Credit: Robert Half

Far from being warm and cuddly, Musk is a toxic employer with a God complex. And instead of being cancelled, he manages to get away with it, acquiring rockstar status along the way with legions of fans

For now, the problem with Musk’s behaviour since taking over Twitter is that his exploits have gone mainstream. While his earlier outbursts were well documented, SpaceX and Tesla are not household names anywhere near the league of Twitter. 

Out in the real world, and beyond the “be kind” memes, there is already a fair share of employers with Herculean arrogance. The ones who sincerely believe that their strong-armed tactics are a testament to good leadership. 

Even without the ritual of public humiliation, it is common for middle managers to harangue their subordinates to work harder and longer. What better way to justify it than to quote Musk, “That to achieve great things, one must work long hours.”

There are also countless more who will wonder if the days of indulging and listening to their staff are over. Why waste time consulting when one could issue a demand, Elon-style?

Like it or not, Elon Musk, real-life Tony Stark and visionary, have become the accidental poster boy of awful bosses. He has no qualms about trampling over his employees and imposing his personal beliefs like an autocrat. 

As the world continues to give Musk the benefit of the doubt to excuse his bad behaviour, it has the unintentional effect of legitimising it. 

And unlike top-tier engineers who can quit in protest, those lacking that privilege have little choice but to put up with whatever their bosses are throwing at them. 

Featured Image Credit: Business Insider

Also Read: Elon Musk and Twitter have gotten on a bad start, but he is the saviour Twitter needs

QuickCharge.sg sets up EV charging stations at Ngee Ann City – drivers can pay with its new app

quickcharge.sg

Electric vehicle (EV) charging operator QuickCharge.sg announced today (November 23) that it has launched a mobile app, which supports functions such as search for nearest charging station, charging activation, payment and transaction records.

With the mobile app, users can locate EV charging stations and make payment. Payment can also be done using credit or debit cards at the point-of-sale terminals installed by Voltality next to the EV chargers. 

In addition, it has newly installed four EV charging stations at the seventh-floor carpark of Ngee Ann City in Orchard Road.

The charging stations have an output power of 22kW alternate current (AC) charge and 30kW direct current (DC) fast charge. QuickCharge.sg EV chargers are also compatible with all EVs with a Type 2 or Combo-2 vehicle connector.

“When EV drivers plan their route, they will likely consider where they can quickly charge their EVs while they work, shop and play at commercial complexes … to make the most of their time and journey,” said Lindy Lee, director of QuickCharge.sg.

“Rather than going to the EV charging bays of petrol kiosks specifically for the purpose of charging their EVs and finding that they’re idling their time away while queuing for an available lot, or waiting for the charging process to complete — even more so for EV owners and drivers without direct access to EV chargers installed within their residential grounds.”

Image Credit: QuickCharge.sg

Separately, QuickCharge.sg has also partnered with Audi Singapore to provide charging credits to Audi e-tron new car owners.

Additionally, the partnership offers a special discount for purchase of EV chargers to install at their residential premises — landed or non-landed — in an optional bundled package deal upon purchase.

Under this collaboration, 50 EV charging points will be gradually installed islandwide.

Featured Image Credit: QuickCharge.sg

Also Read: Charge and earn: How this S’pore startup is letting you monetise by selling energy to EV users

Making ethical bean-to-bar chocs is pricey, here’s why this 5 Y/O M’sian brand is persisting

When you eat chocolate, do you ever wonder where the chocolate is sourced from? Sure, it might be considered Swiss or Belgium chocolate, but that just means where the chocolate is produced—not where the cocoa is actually grown.

In actuality, cocoa can only be grown in tropical zones near the equator, in countries such as Ghana, Brazil, and, of course, Malaysia.

While Malaysia is home to quite a number of chocolate brands, as highlighted by this, not all of them allow for traceability—a practice that promotes cocoa sustainability while allowing consumers to recognise the growers of the cocoa.

But making this one of its core pillars is Benns Ethicoa, a local brand that prioritises ethically sourced bean-to-bar and single-estate chocolates made with beans from farms in Asia.

Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

Trained as an engineer, Wilfred Ng founded the brand five years ago when he joined his family’s chocolate business.

Although Benns Ethicoa only started in 2017, its parent company, Benns Chocolate Factory, boasts over 45 years of chocolate-making experience, having been established in 1973.

“We were a commercial chocolate maker from the start,” Wilfred shared. “Though the bean-to-bar chocolate evolution started in the year 2000 in America, the concept in Asia only started around 2015 or 2016 in Japan.”

Wanting to join in on the movement, Benns Ethicoa was founded as a premium chocolate brand to adopt the bean-to-bar concept that was revolutionising the world of chocolate in Asia.

Setting the bar high

Coffee lovers will know the difference between single-estate or single-origin beans compared to blends. Single-estate beans typically have a more original and unaltered flavour profile, which makes the flavour bolder and more robust. The same is true for chocolate.

Wanting consumers to enjoy the unique flavours of the estates they work with, Benn Ethicoa decided to produce only single-estate chocolates, compared to its more commercial sister brand, Benns.

However, the flavour isn’t the only thing that the brand is concerned about.

Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

“Many bean-to-bar makers just focus on developing flavours but we think the bean-to-bar concept encompasses more values than just chocolate making,” Wilfred explained. “We wanted our chocolate brand to be not only known for their flavours but also other good attributes.”

One such attribute is Benns Ethicoa’s dedication to ethical practices, a habit that is highlighted in its brand’s name itself—Ethicoa is a combination of the words ethical and cocoa.

“Most bean-to-bar makers have claimed they are doing good to the farmers but they buy beans from traders and may not even know exactly how much farmers are getting,” Wilfred said.

“In Benns Ethicoa, we practice direct trade. All beans are bought directly from farmers and we ensure our farmers receive a fair price for their beans. We have strict prerequisites for our farmers that there is strictly no child labour and has to adopt good farming practices.”

Perhaps one of the reasons why some other makers might claim that they are “doing good” is because they assume or hope that consumers would not be able to tell.

That’s why education is crucial in bean-to-bar marketing. Wilfred believes they cannot stop educating consumers on the difference between craft chocolates and commercial chocolates, which will help them recognise the efforts of farmers and the bean-to-bar chocolate-making processes.

“That’s the main reason we designed and built Malaysia’s biggest open-concept bean-to-bar chocolate factory,” Wilfred explained. “We want visitors to tour our factory and experience the whole chocolate-making process from cacao bean to chocolate bar.”

Benns Chocolate Factory is located in Cheras and tours for the factory can be booked online. Tickets are RM25 per pax, but children under 7 get to go in for free.

Here, visitors will experience the bean-to-bar process, exploring just how cacao is turned into artisan chocolate. There’s also an inhouse café where visitors can enjoy hot cocoa and some pastries.

Other than ethics and education, Benns Ethicoa also focuses on sustainability, in both the context of climate as well as financial sustainability for the farmers they work with.  

Empowering the farmers

Making sure that the people they work with align with their vision, Benns Ethicoa has strict policies in its farmer partner selection.

The beans’ quality must meet the brand’s standards, and the farmers themselves must also exercise ethical practices, such as having a no-child labour policy.

The estates that Benns Ethicoa works with can be found on its website. The Malaysian estates it works with includes Sungai Ruan from Pahang, Panchor from Muar, and Chemor from Perak.

Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

“We are very open about who our farmers are,” Wilfred said. “We promote them and their efforts. We pay our farmers up to three times the market price depending on the bean quality and promotion of good farming practices.” 

Consumers and farmers can check Benns Ethicoa as well, as they publish cocoa prices as part of their transparency policy on Instagram.

But because of the higher cacao rates the company uses to pay the estates, Benns Ethicoa’s chocolates are also priced higher compared to your average chocolate bar from the grocery store.

However, Wilfred pointed out that the higher price tag isn’t just because of the cacao, either. Rather, it’s also because the chocolates are made in small batches, rather than mass-produced.  

Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

“One of our core pillars is to educate our consumer about why bean-to-bar chocolates are not cheap,” Wilfred said, hence the structure of their factory tours.

But do Malaysians even care?

Although what Benns Ethicoa is doing is noble, do consumers really care for these ideals? In fact, do they even care for artisanal chocolates, or is it one and the same for the general public?

“At the time of our founding, we realised Malaysian consumers’ knowledge of the chocolate supply chain is poor,” Wilfred shared. “I would say only one out of 10 Malaysian consumers knew chocolates are made from fruits!”

However, thanks to the internet, consumers nowadays are much more informed.

“Demand for fine chocolate increases as countries grow economically,” Wilfred said. “Lifestyles elevate, trends emerge, eating habits change, and buying power increases.”

And with that comes a push for sustainable and ethical practices. After all, that’s why more corporates are implementing ESG practices today, Wilfred pointed out.

Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

And with consumers seeking higher-level food quality today, traceability and transparency have become even more important too. As consumers grow, Benns Ethicoa has to grow with them.

“I think the biggest challenge is change,” Wilfred admitted. “Learning new techniques, understanding consumer needs, and developing new products are just some of the constant processes we do in order to stay not only as a sustainable business but to stay on top of the game.”

Although Wilfred said that competition is intense both locally and internationally, his “workaholic” tendencies and love for chocolates are his driving forces.

In the long run, he hopes to see Benns Ethicoa elevate Southeast Asian single-estate chocolates even further to become a leading brand in Asia.

  • Learn more about Benns Ethicoa here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: Here’s what IPC’s new work pods can offer mall goers who are also workaholics

Featured Image Credit: Benns Ethicoa

I judged the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE for its rugged look, but its performance won me over

I’ll be honest, at first glance, I wasn’t a fan of the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE’s look. It was a bit too masculine for my taste, and I didn’t like the numbers and red arrowhead on the bezel.

Covered with long and thin notches, the strap didn’t appeal to me either. Once again, it was too sporty for my liking, which makes it not as versatile as, say, a more subtle look.

The notches are quite loud

It’s definitely a more rugged style, not like the usual sleek or even chic looks that most new smartwatches seem to opt for.

Yet, after a week of using the watch, I’ve actually grown to appreciate it. I love how lightweight and airy the watch feels, and I’ve come to like the edgy flair it adds to my look. The black colour at least keeps it quite versatile, though I’m sure there’s an audience for the other sage green colourway too.

Even the bezel is quite charming to me now, as well as the crown. They both add an extra bit of texture and tactility to the watch that makes it stand out.

It’s definitely not as elegant or feminine of a watch compared to, say, the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic

Although the watch is still a little too big for me due to the huge 466 x 466p screen, it’s thin enough that it doesn’t feel obtrusive or clunky, since the watch does sit on a hollow 35.6g body.

But regardless of the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE’s appearance, it’s really how it performs that matters at the end of the day. So, here’s how it did.   

Compatibility, check

The thing about Huawei watches that I really like is that it’s compatible with both Android and iOS, unlike, say, Samsung or Apple watches.

Maybe that says something about its own ecosystem, but as an iPhone user, I’m definitely not complaining.

All I needed was the Huawei Health app and set up a Huawei ID, and I was able to start using the 1.43-inch AMOLED screen as an extension of my phone.

Other than tracking all your health and fitness data on the app, you can also change the watch faces there.

A feature of this watch that Huawei highlights is its variety of watch faces. However, I felt like the majority of the accessible (i.e., free) watches were all too edgy and dark. I would’ve preferred if there was a free lighter option included in the mix.

But if it really bothers you that much, you can always opt to buy a watch face through the app, which ranges from RM3.49 all the way to RM26.94.

While I personally don’t see the need for a custom watch face, I did find some super adorable watch faces —particularly the ones with pets on them—that really tempted me.  

Testing the waters

With a water resistance of 5ATM, I felt totally comfortable with bringing the watch into the pool for a quick swim. But if you’re not a swimmer, the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE supports over 100 different workout modes, so there are plenty of other options for you.

Just a quick water check first, though

Selecting the pool swim mode, I was given an option of 25m or 50m, as well as a custom option. To be honest, I didn’t really know how long the pool was, so I just went with the 25m.

I noticed the watch wasn’t detecting my heart rate at first, but that was because my swimsuit was in the way. Underwater, the screen was still nice, vibrant, and responsive, with all the key figures such as the timer and my heart rate available to me at a glance.  

Checking the app afterwards, I was given a wealth of information on my swim. The basic information such as the distance, duration, and calories burnt was recorded, as well as the number of strokes, stroke rates, and laps.

There was also a chart given to show my heart rate and also my heart recovery rate (which did not drop at all for two minutes. Should I be concerned?).

I should probably be more active

All of this info is also conveniently available on the watch under the workout records. But unique to the app is the “Segments” tab that showed me all the different types of styles I supposedly used.

Interestingly, it indicated a few minutes of butterfly stroke, but trust me, that’s not a stroke I can replicate. Needless to say, its stroke detection isn’t totally accurate.

I don’t have auto-detect workouts on, so it wasn’t logging the first few minutes of my swimming session. But, you can access this setting on the watch and turn it on, though I believe this will affect the battery life.

Some details of my swim

A fortnight of juice

Another highlight of the watch is its two-week battery life for typical usage or seven days for heavy usage.

So far, I can attest that the watch is indeed pretty long-lasting. I haven’t really had to charge it at all, though I did in the beginning just to get it full.

The watch powered through my swimming session easily

The watch is also fitted with Huawei TruSleep to identify how well you slumber every night.

The features of this watch are comparable to the Huawei Watch GT 3 of the same size which has a slightly more expensive price point of RM1,099. Meanwhile, the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE is RM899. However, the Huawei Watch GT 3 does feature an added temperature sensor.

Overall, all of the features on the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE are fairly standard. There aren’t a lot of added frills and whatnot; rather it gives you all the essentials you’ll need from a smartwatch (except for making payments, that is), and it does it well.

Those looking for a basic and well-rounded smartwatch will find pretty good value in this Huawei watch. Bonus points if you prefer a more sporty and rugged look.

Pros Cons
Compatible with Android and iOS devices Big watch face might not be suitable for smaller wrists
Very lightweight, especially for its size Not a huge variety in the types of free watch faces it offers
Long-lasting battery life

  • Learn more about the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE here.
  • Read other VP Verdicts we’ve written here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.

Also Read: To help SMEs expand in M’sia, Lalamove offers affordable, on-demand interstate deliveries

S’poreans richer by S$103 billion in 2022 as property ownership protects wealth vs inflation

Disclaimer: Opinions presented below belong solely to the author.

A few months ago, I reported that Singaporean households have grown wealthier by over S$400 billion during the pandemic. This time, I’m taking a closer look at this year in particular, after the Department of Statistics released the latest figures for Q3.

Within the first nine months of 2022, the net worth of Singaporean households has increased by over S$100 billion — that is the value of all assets minus the value of all liabilities held by all Singaporean residents (citizens, PRs, foreigners and sole proprietorships to be exact).

I think too little attention is given to these numbers, though I understand that most people may not be aware of all the complexities of economics and how they impact their lives.

But I believe it’s valuable to highlight some of them to understand just how resilient the Singaporean economy — made up of millions of industrious people here on the island — is, and why.

Inflation inflates everything

The big topic of the year was, of course, galloping global inflation which in Singapore has reached 7.3 per cent in the third quarter.

Rising prices are eating into monthly budgets, reducing the value of salaries, even though wages are rising across the economy as well, but likely not fast enough for everyone. This means that at the end of the year, their value is expected to drop by about 3.5 per cent on average.

But an oft-omitted part in evaluation of the economic standing of all of the country’s inhabitants is their net worth — wealth they possess against the liabilities they have to pay off.

We tend to focus on income figures, which tend to lag a bit behind high inflation as companies are more cautious about their spending. Stable asset ownership, however, can act as a seawall protecting you from the economic tsunami, simply because they become inflated as well.

Singapore is one of few countries with very high home ownership rates, at 89 per cent of the population — chiefly thanks to cleverly-designed HDB system that covers nearly 80 per cent of all housing needs.

hdb singapore
Image Credit: Michael Petraeus

Much attention has been given to rising prices of accommodation in 2022, but people tend to forget it’s a two-way street — if properties are getting more expensive across the board, then your home is likely to fetch a higher price as well.

And because nearly everybody owns real estate in Singapore, they do not find themselves in a position of cash-rich savers who have just realised how much less their money is about to buy them (though there is a safety net for them as well, more on that in a minute).

According to the Department of Statistics, the value of public housing (HDB) owned by the public increased by 10 per cent in the past year, while private properties jumped by 16.6 per cent — in both cases, well above the annual inflation.

While some of these may come as a part of new stock released into the market, they still merely replaced other asset classes and contributed to overall growth in net worth of S$170 billion over Q3 of 2021, out of which S$140 billion was in real estate.

For the nine months of 2022 alone, this adds up to S$103 billion, out of which over S$96 billion was recorded in housing. As it happens, inflation is not all bad — or, at the very least, you are protected from it if you own your own home.

household sector balance sheet
Image Credit: Singapore Department of Statistics

Needless to say, the situation would have been considerably worse if most Singaporeans rented instead of owning.

Renting yourself into poverty

Rentals have a significant share of the housing market in a number of Western or other developed countries.

While it is convenient for its own reasons, unless there are some legal safeguards in place, or mass public housing rental schemes, the free market is bound to hit tenants heavily amid rising prices — effectively compounding the devastating effects of high inflation.

rent or own property
Image Credit: Statista

When renting, you’re typically locked into a specific price for a year or two, after which landlords may easily demand much more if costs are rising across the board.

You end up either being priced out of your location into something subpar or forced to pay the premium that’s going to eat into your monthly budget for another year or two.

This, by the way, is already happening in Singapore as well, with rents going up by 70 per cent in some cases, amid housing shortage due to inflated demand from expatriates returning all at once.

Some people resort to paying deposits in advance, without even seeing the apartment:

“Everyone is just panicking … People transfer deposits without visiting the place,” added the Frenchwoman, who currently rents a one-bedroom condominium unit in Redhill with her fellow expat boyfriend for S$2,300 a month.

She said she would have opted to extend her two-year lease, which is up in January next year, if her landlord did not choose to almost double the rent to S$4,300.

– ‘Overwhelmed, defeated’: Expats face up to 70% rise in housing rents as prices hit record highs, Channel News Asia, Nov. 11

Fortunately, this is restricted to a relatively minor segment of the society, while homeowners (i.e. most people) not only do not face catastrophic, overnight hikes in monthly fees but their wealth actually silently appreciates in inflationary market conditions.

And while you may not necessarily feel it in your pocket immediately, it protects the your assets into the future, before you pass them on to your children (or decide to cash out and use it any way you please).

BTO to the rescue

bto singapore
Image Credit: Our Daily Bread

Even those Singaporeans who do not yet have a home, but may have saved up some money for a down payment, are protected, thanks to the nature of the BTO system.

It is designed to offer a significant discount to first time home owners versus the prices in the vicinity of the area they are buying their apartment.

Resale market prices are higher, but you pay a premium for instant availability. If you’re willing to wait a bit and qualify, you’re going to get a new home at a cut price (meaning it would quite instantly be more valuable in the real market, though you can’t just sell it the next day, as a protection against speculation).

Since the most affordable new BTO launches in less developed estates have remained about as affordable as all new HDB apartments in the past 40 years (in proportion to annual median household income levels), this first step towards owning your home remains about as easy as ever.

In the long run, it not only provides you with your own, affordable and pretty spacious home but also serves as a wealth vehicle, protecting you amid turbulent economic conditions that a small city-state dependent on global economy is constantly exposed to.

Featured image credit: tang90246/depositphotos

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