Business Travel Essentials of a Minimalistia


If you’ve ever watched multiple videos off Youtube on how to travel as a Minimalist, you’d be loaded with backpackers and freelancers who do not seem to need to attend business meetings or face clients that requires them to be in business/office attire on a daily basis.

My current career requires me to meet clients on a very regular basis. Thankfully, I need not don a suit and business casual would suffice. However, I do hope that this entry can shed some light on how to keep an office job while being a minimalist.

Additionally, be it travelling for a month long business trip, or just thinking about a very minimalist wardrobe, the list below would provide enough options for ladies.

(I have added in some cold weather essentials for the business travellers.)

Clothing Essentials

  • 2 blazers
  • 3 bottoms (2 pants 1 skirt)
  • 2 casual bottoms
  • 1 casual dress
  • 5 work appropriate tops
  • 2 work appropriate shoes
  • 1 pair of slippers
  • 1 pair of casual wear shoes
  • 3 bras
  • 5-7 pairs of undies
  • 3 changes of gym clothes
  • 3 changes of night/lounge wear
  • 1 dressing gown
  • 1 pair of bedroom slippers (optional – I usually request them from housekeeping)
  • 3 pairs of socks (for gym/sneakers)
  • 2 warm jackets (optional – good for colder climates)
  • 1 Scarf

Total clothing count: 37- 41

Carry-on essentials

  • Mints
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable charger
  • Cable
  • 2 pens – blue and black (ball point only)
  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • Vanity kit
  • Hair tie/ hair clip
  • Tissues
  • Earphones
  • 2x Granola bars
  • 1x Notebook
  • Phone (loaded with offline playable podcasts and music)
  • Sanitary pads (females only)
  • Small stash of cough drops and Paracetamol
  • 2x Sachets of choice of tea
  • TSA approved mini swiss-army knife

The carry on essentials include items that could come in handy prior and after a long flight and you are feeling tired and peckish.

Colour Palette

Get most of your items in the same colour palette as much as possible. Having matching tones make you appear more organised and professional, leaving a better first impression for the extremely exhausted security and cabin crew. Being neat also decreases the likelihood of being stopped at security checks or being nagged by the cabin crew.

My “Travel Ready” Purchases

I recently purchased a portable charger for SGD$18 at an IT fair. It lasts 4 charges and have not failed on me so far. If you travel and rely on electronics extensively, this is a definite must on your list. Heck, even your colleagues will thank you.


Being slightly obsessed with cleanliness, I love to keep my hands clean when I travel and never know when my next access to the washroom might be. Also, do you know how filthy a plane seat can be? Green tea is a must for me to help me calm down when I work or to simply end the day.

Did you know that Green Tea contains slow releasing caffeine? This means that while comparing a cup of green tea that contains an equal amount of caffeine as coffee, the rate of absorption of caffeine by the body is decreased by 50%. This is why we have less of a jolt and crash effect when we drink green tea as compared to that cup of joe.


Last but not least, a pen is a must for every traveler. Be it immigration cards or extra instructions for the crew, you never know when you would need to write. I usually bring an extra as pens do fail  on you (especially when you really need to write on an important document) and everyone else around you would be in need of one when immigration cards are issued.

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The Social Space | The Kind Introvert’s Dream Cafe

Almost everyone has that childhood ambition of opening your own cafe and owners, Cheryl and Daniel did just that. Inspired by the uprising trend of social enterprises, the success of The Nail Social and her life in Bali, this serial social entrepreneur was relentless in pursuing her next project – A retail hub and cafe with a goal of bringing public awareness to what social enterprises have to offer.


The cherry on the cake? It’s located in a quaint area where it is tucked away between two MRT stations. If you need some peace and quiet from the city bustle, this is where you can find some solace.

Greeted by luscious bouquets of dried flowers and wafts of freshly brewed coffee, the Social Space is not overly furnished, giving everyone the right amount of personal space.


Cheryl Ou started The Nail Social, located along Haji Lane, where she trains and employs underprivileged women. She decided to extend those opportunities through The Social Space. The couple has also seen the horrors of mistreatment of the disabled in Indonesia due to the lack of education and facilities and wanted to bring that to light.

“We wanted to bring in more opportunities to social enterprises and the less privileged. Thus, we created The Social Space where anyone can relax and be introduced to what social enterprises have to offer. Many are surprised that the crafts are from social enterprises.”

Travelling across South East Asia, Daniel and Cheryl personally sourced out social enterprises to be featured in their retail cafe. The tedium paid off with their soft launch which drew in a crowd.



Freshly brewed cappuccino in a hand crafted ceramic mug by Center Pottery

Tea and coffee lovers can rejoice with their myriad of fair trade tea, cold brews and vegan milk options. Price point is very decent as well at $5 for a cappuccino, served in a cup from Center Pottery.

Center Pottery is a social enterprise which conducts clay workshops and sells ceramic wares. Proceeds go towards helping patients battling mental illnesses and terminal health issues.


Handmade cookies by Flour Power

Confectionery on display is made by Flour Power, a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities for those with special needs.



Refill and save! Expect to save about 10-15% savings from a comparable bottled product.

The section that caught the attention of many was the Refillery!

Cheryl and Daniel placed in immense effort to bring package-less household necessities from floor cleaners to shampoos and soaps. If you do suffer from eczema, the unscented castile soap is a gentle alternative.

Not forgetting the fur-kids, they also have their section of organic castile pet soap that is infused with refreshing lemongrass. Lemongrass is not only pleasant and non-toxic to pets, it also acts as a natural insect repellent.

Another crowd favourite is the Hush Tea Bar.


There is something transcendent about sipping a freshly brewed cup of tea in silence.


Giving a face to their Tea-ristas, these tea boards introduce different blends of tea within each series.


The finishing touch to Slow Living enthusiasts. A lovely notebook is accompanies you on your mindfulness journey.

What can you look forward to?

Patrons can expect to experience the soul of Cheryl’s serial entrepreneurial journey. Cheryl and Daniel plan to bring in a taste of Cheryl’s first social enterprise, The Nail Social into the cafe by May 2018. The Nail Social only uses non-toxic and cruelty free products.

If you are looking to build your own zero waste kit with reusable straws, coffee tumblers and sandwich wrappers, their small collection is nifty enough for you to create a Minimalist Zero Waste kit!

Need somewhere to go this lazy Sunday afternoon? Pop by The Social Space and experience the chilled out ambiance while contributing meaningfully.

How Do I Get There?

The Social Space

Location: 333 Kreta Ayer Rd, #01-14, Singapore 080333


What type of minimalist are you according to your MBTI.

The beloved MBTI personality test is strewn across dating app profiles down to the numerous “What kind of spirit animal matches your MBTI personality?” Thought Catalogue articles.

This article serves to distract the notion of “Minimalism isn’t for everyone”. I believe Minimalism is for everyone, just because it’s a lifestyle that is based on prudent values – and we need these values, one way or another, at some point in our lives.

What is the MBTI?

The MBTI is short for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI questionnaire, first published in 1943, was originally developed in the United States by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.

It serves as one of the most used indicators by HR companies to match different skill sets and working personalities for appropriate hiring and team building.

It also serves as an insight for couples or families who prefer to understand the working and emotional dynamics behind each partner. This way, conflicts can be reduced and compromise can be built upon empathy and understanding.

MIS Rule Three: Invite and create only meaningful relationships.

Unfortunately, when you are family or choose to create a family with your significant other, you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Understanding personality types is key to rescuing relationships to a certain extent.

What are the general categories of personality types?

There are four categories of personality types. The Sentinels, The Analysts, The Diplomats and The Explorers.

The Sentinels

The Sentinels consist of the ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ and ESFJ personality types. Of all the personality types, the Sentinels are the least to be pack rats. Sentinels are least likely to form attachments to objects and prefer to eliminate clutter or “un-useful” things.

Due to their practicality and judgmental nature to have grounded conclusions, they tend to veer towards being an Essential minimalist and the Thrifty minimalist typology. This gives them a foundation of stability and order when an emergency happens. They can be assured that they did their homework and saved for a rainy day.

The Analysts

The Analysts consist of the INTJ, INTP, ENTJ and ENTP personality types.

Having the “intuitive” trait, analysts can find it hard to let go of things that they feel might come in handy “in future”. Of the four personality types listed, the INTP is most likely to exhibit “pack rat” like behaviorism. This is due to their love for collecting information, just in case they come in handy “later on” (intuition) and their “prospecting” trait, which spurs them to gather random information.

The more judgmentally inclined analysts tend to veer towards being an Essential minimalist and the Aesthetic minimalist typology. This gives them the flexibility to explore creative depths via multi-purposing items or to create an extremely organised interior design to their home.

The prospecting inclined analysts may prefer a Nomadic minimalist lifestyle to pursue their passions and thirst for intellectual stimulation. Emotional attachment to “stuff” is not a prominent and can easily let things go if it hold opportunities to greater heights of knowledge. However, nomadic prospectors are prone to hoarding digital clutter.

The Explorers

The Explorers consist of the ISTP, ISFP, ESTP and ESFP personality types. Of the four personality types, ISFP, ISTP and ESFP are less inclined to declutter. This is due to their prospecting trait. However, the ISTP may find it easier to let go of items that distract their daily flow as they have less desire to be emotionally attached to items, but would be reluctant to declutter if they think that the item has some “informational” or “purposeful” value in future.

ISFPs and ESFPs tend to link emotional events to almost all items. This would cause a distraction and eventually procrastinate in decluttering. If you happen to be an ISFP and ESFP and wish to declutter, holding a decluttering party would be the antidote.

For the explorers, ISTP and ESTP would lean towards the Nomadic minimalist or Essential Minimalist lifestyle.

For the ISFP and ESFP personality types, being the aesthetic minimalist can allow you to explore the depths of creativity and meld them with minimalism. Prove society wrong that minimalism has to be monotoned! Would love to see some pictures of super cute minimalism concepts.

The Diplomats

The Diplomats consist of the INFP, INFJ, ENFP and ENFJ personality types. Of all the four general personality types, the diplomats are inclined to be pack rats. Having a strong intuition with a keen sense of empathy drives them to be future thinking and a worrier. They are usually worried that by decluttering, they are unable to help another in times of need.

If you are a diplomat and need help in decluttering, join your neighbourhood upcycle/free cycle groups.

The introverted diplomat tends to become a Mindful minimalist whilst the extroverted diplomat would prefer a Sustainable minimalistmindset that allows them to advocate for a cause they strongly believe in. This usually veers towards eco-friendly methods of a sustainable lifestyle.

I am an INTJ and I veer between being a aesthetic minimalist and an essential minimalist. I love stretching my creative depths with having very few items, but adhering to a certain colour palette. It keeps things exciting but organised at the same time!

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How To Millennial- Think Like Sherlock

Kevin Kelly Quote MIS

Think like Sherlock, they say.

How coincidental can life be when one day, you stumble upon a quote

“Productivity is for robots” – Kevin Kelly

The very next day, a show by Channel News Asia airs, “The Big Questions – The Future of Work”

The synopsis reads:

Is complete automation inevitable, and are machines destined to take over all our jobs? What will it take for Singaporeans to remain relevant in the future?

Truth be told, humans are not made for 24/7 productivity. We are made for inefficiency. We are created to be creative. That is the gift and curse of being human. The next phase for the new economy is to be creative or die.

I usually prefer to apply the Asian method 3 exit strategies – Go left, Go right or Stand Still. This was taught during a trading lesson – You buy, you sell or you do nothing.

However, when it comes to being creative, one needs to think like Sherlock and solve problems daily, especially those that we are passionate about. To prepare for the next economy, we need to eliminate all comfort zones and live in discomfort.

In essence, be prepared to walk away from anything in 30 seconds flat.

Call To Action:

How can we start honing our creative muscle? I’m proposing a challenge here.

For 7 days:

  1. Drink only water, coffee and tea (of choice)
  2. Wear 10 (or less!) pieces of clothing
  4. Eat the same meal for 7 days straight (e.g all lunches to be rice + stir fried veg + protein of choice)
  5. Use only 1 spread if you do eat toast/bread in the mornings
  6. Go for a walk without your phone
  7. Start a 10 minute exercise routine first thing in the morning
  8. Sell 1 thing on the internet that you’ve had for years
  9. Keep only $5 in your wallet and find ways to NOT spend it by the end of the day
  10. Eat Your Frog – Find one thing you have been putting off and do it. (e.g. Cycle on an OFO bike)

Do drop me an email or comment if you do complete it with your personal discovery and accomplishments!

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[Guest Blog] The Importance of Time by Ben Liu

Ben Liu Guest Post

Just imagine how much time we have if we live for an eternity while juggling the fact we have an expiry date on this plane of existence. The richest man like Bill Gates makes an average of a hundred thousand dollars in a couple of minutes while sitting down drinking coffee and yet he commits his time to his daughter and charity which is unbelievable at times. Why would someone so rich spend their time giving instead of making money, just because he is rich?

He realized money isn’t everything.

Coming back to the important questions…

  • How much time do we have?
  • If money wasn’t an issue, what do we want to achieve?
  • Are the things we purchase as important as they seem?

Becoming a minimalist over the years taught me to work with a timetable while being time flexible. This allowed me to spend allocated time on my interests, passions and relationships. I found that those aspects are a lot more important than making money.

Working with a Time Table 

I love working with a time table and making my schedules and appointments way before anything else. It helps me to simplify my work loads and set goals for the week in detail. I allocate buffer time in between appointments just in case something else pops up.

Work With Passion and Love, not just for the money.

I look up to Gary Vee, aka Gary Vaynerchuk.

He is someone that I really respect. He explains the importance of figuring out what works for you and where your passion lies. He mentioned in one of his video shows #AskGaryVee, on why to quit working at a job that ONE would work for a job for two years just to make it look good on the resume. Instead of enduring the grind of a job you dislike, find a career path that aligns with what you want to develop your skills and self to become a better version of you.

Relationships are everything

It’s know for a fact that the happiest people who live a long life are not the billionaires or health fanatics, but those who have very good relationships with their friends, colleagues and their partners. As the old saying goes ” No man is an island”.  Having healthy relationships and networking will open up new doors for brand new experiences which have brought me many opportunities and helping hands.

Dealing with Lost Time

As the old saying goes,

It is always important to make good judgment and good judgment comes from good experiences, and the secret to having good experiences is to learn from our bad experiences.

I believe wasted time on some decisions from the past is a good way to learn from that and it really helps us to grow and overcome all those past experiences.

Life is too short for any negativity. Our time is limited and we need to choose Love over Money.

I’d like to quote The Minimalists – ” Use Things, Love People, The opposite never works”.

Live Life, Love Life.

The Essential Minimalist ~ Ben Liu



You do not have to be a minimalist to enjoy the perks of minimalism.


In fact, minimalism is a pretty scary journey.

According to The Business Times Singapore, Singapore ranks fourth worldwide for the number of times the word “minimalism” is searched on Google. No, this piece is not about the benefits of minimalism, but three takeaways as to what you can expect as you walk down the path less traveled.

I am the founder of Minimalism in Singapore and the recent influx of members made me reflect on why I started my journey and more importantly, why did all these people choose to join this community?

This is question number three of our group entry survey – “Why do you want to join our group?”

Most of the answers were one liners of, “I want to live a simpler and happier life.”

Having practised minimalism for four years and counting, these are my lessons in finding happiness.

Takeaway 1: Minimalism will bring you chaos.

When I forayed into the depths of minimalism, I had the preconceived idea of having less clutter would naturally transform me into a happier person with less worry. Nope. Clearing out my clutter was easy, living with the so-called clutter of another is a different story. Most of us in Singapore live with family or friends, and usually not alone.

Clearing your clutter poses space for another to occupy it. This is true in cases where others do not share the same outlook as you. You are unable to declutter their items and frustration sets in.

In other circumstances, social gatherings, dating and living with your partner poses problems when you do not wish to receive gifts, eat certain food to keep within budget or you simply cannot agree on a new purchase.

The chaos of social relationships will make you face what would make you happy and what would make others happy. Choose wisely.

Takeaway 2: Minimalism brought me identity.

I loathe labels. Similarly, most minimalist themed shops portray a similar idea. Muji is a prime example of a label that chooses to be “label free”. Another would be Brandless, an online store where everything is $3.

Minimalism is an abstract lifestyle where there are no hard and fast rules except for two.

  1. Keep things simple.
  2. Love people, use things. (Because the opposite never works.)

Being label free also means that you are free to create who you are. The basis of minimalism is to “cut the bullsh*t”. Be clear and defined towards where you are heading for the next 5 to 10 years. You would need a set of values to form your foundation. Mine are: Practicality, Wisdom and Love.

I do not associate myself to those labels, but I associate my thoughts to those three value pillars.

When you have defined your values, the lessons that will come forth will be painful yet so valuable. Why painful? Because you will need to know when to say no and saying no is a brave word in society.

I would recommend starting a blog where at least a few others can read to keep accountability as well as to track your system of following your values. The power of accountability and setting a system to lead you to where you want to be can be a very strong tool that would put your life in fast forward.

“Losers have goals and winners have systems.” – Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comics.

Takeaway 3: Plan for your legacy.

Minimalism is about the freedom of choice.

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”, Eleanor Roosevelt

Most Singaporeans are cocooned in our nanny state of security and convenience. It is so easy to point the finger to anyone but yourself when you fail in life. However, after the age of 25, where you are now is the consequence of the choices you have made.

If you are struggling to find happiness and you hope that minimalism will cure that pain – you’re in for a rude awakening.

Minimalism will put you on track with more choices, a clearer path towards personal growth and the type of life you want to live. However, to stay on this path will bring you challenges.

Minimalism will hone your strength to have internal validation and the wisdom to ignore social pressures.

Minimalism will also bring you tons of self discipline when you follow your own set of rules. You will find growth in rules you have set for yourself, and learn more when you fall off the band wagon.

To quote Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

If you are looking for happiness and freedom, start taking responsibility. See previous takeaway on knowing how to start curating choices in life.

My promise: It is one step closer to self actualisation.

Maybe minimalism is not for you.

Maybe you are seeking happiness, and it could lie in another lifestyle choice.

However, I urge any curious souls to try out a 30 day minimalism challenge, and I promise that you will be able to gain more insight about yourself.

My first challenge to you is to make your bed in the morning for 21 days.

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Singaporeans are incapable of sharing, just like anyone else.

bike roses.jpg

I recently shared a Straits Times article in my group, Minimalism In Singapore, with the headline “Shared services being abused: Why can’t we just share?”.

As someone leading the minimalist lifestyle movement in Singapore, the community understands and embrace the perks of being “asset light”. This also means that we wish to worry less about ownership of stuff and to enjoy the experience as we use it. This idea is not esoteric to minimalists, but a commercialized concept that has shifted the product economy into a relationship economy. Products are now seen as services, service is now doubling as relationship creation.

The lifestyle economy is booming and we want the full experience without the commitment.

The article starts off with “Some Singaporeans just cannot share things, it seems.” And continues with a barrage of examples of how Singaporeans are abusing items within the shared economy. However, is it just a problem based in Singapore or is it a global phenomenon?

These are some of the comments made by the members of the minimalism community.

“While traveling in Hualien, Taiwan, I saw shop owners kick oBikes into deep drains. Locals told us that there are people who were vindictive of China-owned businesses.”

“Tragedy of the commons. More prevalent in some culture than in others. My simple guess is that in Japan, the mass already have this civic mindset. Whereas in Singapore and many other countries, the mass do not have (or a lesser degree) this civic consciousness. My guess is education from young and a 360 deg education, not just on 1 aspect. 360 deg e.g. Caring for our elderly instead of expecting others to do it, caring for our shared environment, shared resource etc. 1 possible explanation why Japan can do it is possibly because of homogeneous society whereas ours is a society with different races, religion, different culture.”

“Last week I walked downstairs and unlock a Mobike only to find out that someone has chained it into another bike…”

“Also it depends on which culture you compare Singapore to. Japan has very strong civic education from a young age — 3 year old kids learn to wash their dirty plates, clean classroom, take care of their classmates, etc. But if you compare with countries like Vietnam (where I’m from) then Singapore is actually a very civic minded society. In Vietnam I can’t even put a garbage bin outside the door without it being stolen.”

It is very easy to point the finger at fellow Singaporeans and foreigners living in our city state and accuse them of uncouth behaviour and the lack of moral and civic education. Then, continue to push the blame upon the upbringing and culture of the country.

The same blame can be placed upon any country and you will find a handful of people who behave similarly.

The root of the problem? People can’t be trusted.

The ideology of the shared economy stems from outsourcing business aspects. Quoting the Financial Times, “Many companies shifted to an asset-light model years ago — supermarkets and professional services firms sold and leased back their stores and offices, airlines started leasing rather than buying aircraft, and big tech groups such as Apple hired other companies, most notably Foxconn, to make iPhones.”

It is logical, efficient and overall effective when companies go asset light. This means that they have more room and speed to grow and scale their business with short term rentals and not worry about asset depreciation.

As quoted above, supermarkets have gone the ecommerce and drop shipping route. Big tech firms outsource tech support to emerging markets. However, can the same be done for the mass consumer market? The abuse of shared items shadows the lack of vision put into human behaviour. We forgot to anticipate the implications when it comes to consumer behaviour.

As consumers go asset light, they disregard the product as a physical asset and view it as a service. They are paying for the service the company provides, not the value the item creates.

This can be reflected in the ongoing war of promo codes given out by Grab and Uber as well as the tons of influencers hawking products all over social media. The shared bicycle economy is also facing a similar price war. In conclusion, the lowest priced commodity ends up the winner, the start up and venture capitalists, the loser. Branding has no play here expect to wave a flag as the lowest priced brand, as ownership is no longer in the equation.

From the lack of an ownership perspective, we put price points and time usage over quality and safety. This can be seen from the lack of care of public goods, from washing machines to bicycles. In fact, we also bring our personal biases towards certain countries or companies towards the items. We stopped caring about the real value an object brings and we care about how much mileage we can get out of a shared good in a condensed time period.

What can be done?

Personally, I feel that moving towards a shared economy would negatively impact society as it creates apathy and lack of responsibility in individuals. However, a larger ticket items should be promoted within the shared economy, especially luxury items. The movement towards the lifestyle economy, the affordable luxury and using imagery for branding would increase experiential usage of luxury items for a permitted loan time. Consumers today are smart and they want less commitment, luxury and prestige would need to integrate with the concept of sharing to be able to touch more bases if they wish to reach more users and buyers.

The shared economy has its value, but we need to stick to the core belief that once an item is deemed a public good, no one can be trusted to treat it with as much respect as an owned commodity.