Breakfast Notes #90 (Graduation, Singapore, Money)

Breakfast Notes #90 (Graduation, Singapore, Money)
Photo by alexandru vicol / Unsplash

Hello friends,

This is the 90th serving of the Breakfast Notes.

Happy reading!

George Saunder's Advice To Graduates

In a commencement speech to Syracuse University, Saunders tells the graduating students that they shouldn't be too obsessed with chasing success, for they will miss out on developing the virtue of kindness.

Impressions of Singapore

The tech entrepreneur, Ben Casnocha visited Singapore late last year.

Surprisingly, he captures the essence of Singapore well in this blogpost.

A lush city-state run by nudges, air-conditioning and connection to the region. He is right in saying that Lee Kuan Yew's fingerprints are everywhere yet invisible. This blogpost makes the perfect argument for pairing reading with travelling.

Pandemic Time: A Distributed Doomsday Clock

If you are a Singaporean, what is your memory of the COVID-19 pandemic?

In this essay, Venkatesh Rao helps us understand how the pandemic triggered cultural shifts (temporary and permanent in different regards).

“Instead of longitude east or west of Greenwich, your local experience of pandemic time is determined by the effectiveness of the containment model chosen by your local government.”

In Singapore, the inconvenience of the pandemic has faded into the background of our collective memory.

We think of COVID-19 as a normal flu. (Even in the height of circuit-breaker)


The Government did an excellent job in containment.

Only 0.08% of those infected passed away. That's 8 in 10,000 people. You probably knew no one who actually died from the virus. That's why most Singaporeans never felt a sense of danger.

The Art and Science of Spending Money

It's easy to spend, but what motivates our spending?

In this short and sweet blog post, Morgan Housel breaks down why some are eternally frugal and some can't wait to splurge on the latest trinket.

His last line happens to be my favourite: "Spending money to make you happy is hard if you’re already happy."

Winston Churchill: A Man of His Time and Ours

Winston Churchill is both a brilliant statesman and an incorrigible racist.

Priya Satia writes, “Those who refuse to consider Churchill as anything more complicated than Hitler’s nemesis are those who remain committed to the values of innate upper-class white supremacy on which Britain’s empire was founded.”

Making history a little more palatable for our modern taste is easy.

But, the truth is, intellectual maturity demands that we sometimes sit with two contradictions in our heads.

Visual of The Week

Happy Pi Day to someone who doesn't seem nearly as interested in math when  we're dividing up the lunch bill. | Pi Day Ecard

As I write this, we come to the end of Pi Day in Singapore.

Send this greeting/email to someone who isn't as interested in math as he should be.

May the Sun Shine Upon Your Face,


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