Real World Economics - Singapore HK Travel Bubble

Real World Economics Applied: To HK or not?

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Singapore and HK have reached an agreement on an air-travel bubble slated to start on 26th May 2021.

Rational decision making requires marginal cost and benefit analysis as per Singapore Cambridge A Level Economics Syllabus. That is the most critical aspect and in doing so, with consideration of information required, possible constraints, intended and unintended consequences as well as different perspectives.

So I decided to apply this in a brainstorming session with my wife (Still Finance Minister, refused to step down even though unelected) over a possible trip to HK.

Additional Costs:

Flight cost

Accommodation Cost

Covid-testing costs

Spending in HK (over and above what I would usually spend in Sg during the June hols)


Me: “What if kenna tested positive on arrival in HK?”

Me: “What if Kenna Covid from HK and then have to quarantine in Sg and become sick?”

Wife: More polluted air in HK…healthcare costs and productivity losses

Me: Getting slashed or mugged in HK after publishing this post

(In short, quite a lot of potential healthcare costs and loss of income)

Wife: “Are you paranoid”?

Additional Benefits:

Me: “Like nothing hor”

Wife: “The shopping experience is better”

Me: “Oh, marginally…”

Me trying: “Greater utility from enjoying different and better food” (hearsay)

Wife “Show off to friends and students. Make them envious. Feel-good.”

Me: ???

Me: “A getaway from usual routine. More relaxed, less stress” (hearsay)


Need to gather info to ascertain costs

What is air quality like in HK now?

Are the famous eateries opened?


Lessons are still ongoing. Fortunately, online but still concerned about disruptions.

Wife: “its ok, we can leave you in the hotel room”

Are flights still available? Wife: “yeah la, talk so much still don’t quickly book”.

Intended Consequences:

Have a break from usual routine. Relaxation. Stress relief.

More family time conflicts

Unintended Consequences:

Kenna Covid or Kenna tested positive 

Wife: “maybe you don’t have, but when they see your face, they think you have”.


Me: “How about staycation lah?” (Wife <cold stare>)

Me: “Or only you go lor? I am famous, everyone knows me but nobody will recognise you ma” 

(Discussion ended abruptly)

Decision ?

Me: “Dear, calm down. I am just doing this as an exercise for my students. It’s not real.”

Wife: “You better get yourself a staycation!”

So that’s our attempt at applying RDM framework. Let me know if you think we missed out on something. Feel free to share your comments too! And check out Mr Hong’s Econs Tuition Videos too!

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