Subscriber Picks: Are you getting paid enough? | He turned a bad debt into a $90m food empire

Subscriber picks is a weekly curation of the best from The Straits Times - where we bring you exclusive reports, in-depth analyses, and the latest happenings in Singapore and beyond.

"Confirmed got problem one in every stage of your life. Just learn and move on. And don't hate," says Mr Alex Chia.

The 54-year-old speaks from experience. He owns The SF Group which has more than 70 coffee shops, restaurants and stalls all over Singapore - including Food Loft and Western food chain Collin's. But it all started because of a bad debt - a loan of more than $100,000 to a friend who couldn't pay him back. Find out how he built his F&B empire in an exclusive ST interview. 

Back to work after the CNY break? The start of the year is a time when some review priorities and make new plans, including setting career goals. Wondered if you are being paid enough compared with your peers? What are the most sought-after skills that would help you move up the job ladder?

Get your questions answered with our Singapore salary guide interactive.

Have a good weekend.

What lies beneath Singapore's Tuas Mega Port

What is as heavy as 25 jumbo jets, and as high as 10 storeys? Find out more about the concrete 'giants' supporting the mega port in our interactive.


He turned a bad debt into a $90 million food empire

SPH Brightcove Video
Alex Chia became the reluctant owner of a coffee shop in Ubi when a loan he had given a friend turned bad. Making the best of a bad situation, he turned the coffee shop around and grew it into a food empire.

"Frankly, I may not be able to compete with other people when it comes to knowledge. But hard work? I can work 24/7," says Alex Chia.


Estranged wife ordered to give injured hubby $400 in monthly maintenance as he can't work

This is one of the rare cases of an incapacitated husband receiving maintenance from his wife or ex-wife.


How Ukraine tensions can affect S'pore and Asia

The stand-off can add more volatility in energy and food prices, which are already in flux, and further boost inflation in Singapore.


S'pore salary guide: Are you getting paid as well as your peers?

See how you measure up against your peers, and what are the hottest jobs in Singapore.


What to do if you are thinking about changing jobs

What to consider, and how to make a graceful exit when you have made up your mind.


How to plan a staycation as you renovate your home

Why stay in a rented home when you can check into a serviced apartment?


Rebecca Lim and other S'pore celeb Tiger ladies who are at the top of their game

They are fearless, forthright, formidable and fiercely independent.


Share your feedback with us at

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.