SINGAPORE - Budget 2015, delivered by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday, was also a story about Singapore's economic transformation since Independence.
Three examples stood out: Humble socks, BreadTalk's all-popular Flosss buns, and bespoke shoes. They all featured in his Budget 2015 speech.
Swan brand socks
Mr Tharman took a walk down memory lane when he related the fortunes of the Swan Socks factory to drive home how Singapore has transformed over the last 50 years.
As older readers might remember, the Swan brand of socks was worn by schoolchildren who, he recounted, would tear off the label that was pasted on each new pair of white school socks.
They were made in the Swan Socks factory in Jalan Tukang in Jurong, founded with Japanese investment and opened by pioneer minister Goh Keng Swee in 1964.
It was labour-intensive work, but it was also the first factory offering significant employment for women.
"The factory no longer exists," said the minister. "Today, the area is quite transformed. Tukang Innovation Park is home to a range of companies engaged in new technologies. It also hosts MedTech One, JTC's dedicated facility for the rapidly growing medical technology industry."
"We build on the transformation we achieved in our first 50 years as a nation. Decade by decade, we competed for our place in the world against much larger and more advanced countries, and raised the quality of life for all Singaporeans," he said.
He added: "The story is the same in other industries. We have moved to advanced and sophisticated products in data storage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals."
BreadTalk's Flosss buns
One is sold every 10 seconds. That's how popular the Flosss bun is, he said, to illustrate how Singapore's home-grown enterprises have made their names around the world.
The Flosss is a bun covered with special mayonnaise and topped with pork floss. BreadTalk uses chicken floss in Indonesia and the Middle East. It has been the brand's best-seller since 2000.
"BreadTalk has in just 14 years grown from a single outlet at Bugis Junction to more than 700 outlets in 15 countries. It says it sells its signature 'Flosss' bun worldwide at a rate of one every 10 seconds," he said.
Fine men's shoes from ed et al
The creations of Singaporean shoemaker Edwin Neo are not cheap, noted Mr Tharman.
Mr Neo was trained in interior design, but developed a passion for making shoes. He went to train under a master shoemaker in Budapest, Hungary, to learn how to make high quality European-style shoes. He then came back to found his own company, ed et al.
"He is doing well, selling both ready-to-wear shoes and upmarket bespoke creations," said Mr Tharman.
So just how expensive are the shoes?
Check out the catalogue here.