Other ways to teach frugality than through physical cash

I was surprised to read Mr Lim Teck Koon's letter (Safeguards needed against impulsive spending; Sept 4) as well as the report "'Invisibility' makes managing money hard for youth" (Aug 21).

There are many ways to teach our children and inculcate values of frugality other than through the use of physical money.

In fact, the mode in which currency is transacted - be it cash or cashless - should not have any bearing on the values children pick up.

Values like honesty, knowing what is right and wrong, and learning how to handle peer pressure are invaluable to their development.

When these basic values form the child's foundation, he will know how to live his life, and be less likely to squander away what he has, regardless of whether his transactions are in cash or e-payment.

It used to be barter trade until the advent of money. Money proved to be extremely convenient for trade and we embraced it.

Luckily for us, our forefathers saw the advantages of using physical money and very quickly made use of the system.

Values like honesty, knowing what is right and wrong, learning how to handle peer pressure are invaluable to (a child's) development. When these basic values form the child's foundation, he will know how to live his life, and be less likely to squander away what he has, regardless of whether his transactions are in cash or e-payment.

This is how we progressed. We are not bogged down by having to herd our cows or goats to the market place to exchange them for other commodities of similar value that we may need.

Our leaders are already bemoaning our slowness in the arena of e-payment. I hope this will add impetus to our Smart Nation project.

The advent of disruptive applications means we have to adopt new technology and adopt it fast. We must shift up or be shifted out. The world is not going to wait for us.

Embracing new technology to keep up and be just as good, if not better, than other countries is no longer optional.

Ho San Cheow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'Other ways to teach frugality than through physical cash'. Print Edition | Subscribe