Is it possible to survive in Singapore on an alternative lifestyle?

For the longest time I asked myself what I could give to the world with my writing. Most of the time I feel like my wordsmith abilities, albeit better than the average person, never really found its niche. I would scour the content of the best bloggers in Singapore, and found that their topics of choice were usually limited to these few: travel, lifestyle, food, parenting. All of which mean very little to me as a writer.

But a month after saying my permanent goodbye to office life for good, I found myself having many conversations with other friends about my new lifestyle as a self-proprietor and freelance martial arts coach. These topics paved the opportunity to have a larger discussion about my present situation: an alternative, unorthodox lifestyle in Singapore.

Singapore is a nation commonly known for a high cost of living. Typically, people my age (30) would be settling down in marriage and securing a public housing scheme that’s available to Singaporeans and permanent residents with a typical family nucleus (married, intending to have kids, or already with kids). If not marriage, I should be an individual at the apex of my career today. Middle management level, taking home at least $4000 a month, and able to support myself decently. And I am in neither scenario.

It’s not that I don’t want to get married, but I simply haven’t found the right person to settle down with (I don’t even date).

My ambitions are also a little offbeat. I currently run a small creative social media business for small businesses and sole-proprietors like myself, who have amazing products to share, but don’t have the budget. Underneath my desire to support local growing businesses and encourage people to self-start, I also have a burden to see the social media sphere transform for the better. I want to make a difference by bringing in positive and healthy values to its consumers, one post at a time. I am presently unimpressed by media messages that youth consume today, and I want to change that. It seems like a lofty ambition (because how can one girl like me, 5"2 in size, no awards, and seemingly unremarkable with less than 1000 followers on her Instagram account, change the entire sphere?), but I’d rather make a small dent, rather than not at all. (P.S: I believe that the small can be used to make huge impact. Which is why my target audience is small businesses.)

If that’s not already unusual enough, I also practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and live its lifestyle nearly full-time. I am a blue belt in the martial art that’s growing, but still not quite popular in Singapore. I dedicate a big chunk of my time to building the community. I teach classes freelance at my gym, and organise events for the local girls community, such as open mats and external seminars. 80% of the time, these efforts are out of goodwill and make me no money at all.

I am 30, single and not looking, and building dreams that doesn’t make me big bucks. And I am pursuing all this in beautiful Singapore, first-world nation and concrete jungle, where security is found in long-term plans and government programmes put in place for anyone willing to take the straight path.

And I’m here to write about how I live outside of that system. It is hard and not quite comfortable. But it is possible, and it’s given me the best year of my life by far.

If you can, come back for the next part of the story where I give you a look into a week in my life.