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Third day of the new year of 2021

I miss Blatage cafe in Shanghai.

Throwback: Blatage Cafe is located on the Pudong new area side, approximately 30 minutes by taxi (off-peak) door-to-door from where I usually stay in Shanghai (which is on the Puxi side). The small cozy cafe is along 滨江大道 on the Pudong side. From Superbrand mall (正大广场), it is at least a 20 minutes cycle on Mobike or a 40-minute leisurely walk along the river. During the spring and autumn mornings, this is an extremely therapeutic exercise especially on the weekends. The indoor seating capacity is no more than 10 and they serve an excellent flat white for 30 yuan. Although situated close to some private condos in the vicinity, somehow, there isn't a morning coffee culture where people get up early to grab coffee. Most times when I arrive at 830am, I am their first customer.

View of the 黄浦江 from Blatage Cafe

Back home, the "Blatage-substitute" is 40 Hands cafe at Tiong Bahru. A lot of people ask me why I 'spend' so much on coffee when I can invest in a Nespresso machine and enjoy a cuppa from the comfort of home (I have one by the way).

But just as people sign up and spend their money on regular yoga classes, I spend mine on 'coffee yoga' i.e. a faux yoga session where I substitute stretching exercises with sipping coffee (also note that a single yoga class ranges anywhere between $15 to $25 while an artisanal coffee is about $6).

Just as people find inner peace and tranquility in an hour or so of meditation, I find mine through sitting by the street or in a quiet corner where I am able to reflect and declutter my inner thoughts. Not everyone understands this.

But everyone needs their own Blatage coffee place. Similar to how religion provides spiritual closure to occurrences in life that we cannot rationalize, people who do yoga probably believe that it is the antidote to de-stressing from work. For me, this equates to having coffee in an undisturbed ambience even if I have to get up at 6:00 am.

40 Hands - Street View

So, there isn't a need to architect a pricey escape into the Himalayas to seek private retreats. A lot of these can be found at your doorstep.

You don’t need to fine-dine in order to enjoy good food. My favourite local hawker fare is the bak chor mee at Tiong Bahru market.

You don’t need to own a car to have convenience. Even if I use Grab everyday my traveling commute expenses will probably never exceed $500 a month. And sometimes all you need is to buy a house in the right place with good access to public transportation.

You don’t need to stay in a private condominium or landed property to enjoy your spatial environment. You just need the right renovation decor at home.


What is the use of real estate if you wear it with a huge financial burden and/or can’t share it with your closest friends and family?

You don’t need lots of money to be wealthy. In fact, you don’t even need to prove to anyone that you are wealthy. The wealthiest people are those who are comfortable in their own skin and do not give a f&*k about opinions from the rest of the world.


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