Endless shopping malls and laws against everything (well, almost); Singapore isn’t exactly the first place a hippie would want to call home. We can’t promise you enlightenment, but here’s a guide for the aspiring Singaporean hippie – bringing you one step closer to living like it was 1969.
EAT CLEAN, NOT MEAN
You don’t have to go so far as to maniacally throw buckets of blood on fur-coated pedestrians, but eating less meat and increasing your veggie count is a good start. Sure, it costs a little more to eat healthily and organically, but you can’t put a price tag on good health. There’s a wealth of meatless and health-driven eateries popping up around our island that are waiting for your visit; just check out page 74 for some pointers.
GIVE UP THE GAS GUZZLERS
With COE prices rising by the year, who can afford to go for joyrides these days? Singapore isn’t that big, yet our buses and trains inspire envy in neighbouring countries. Do yourself and the planet a favour, and put those legs to use. Not only will you feel great going for a cycle or a stroll, but you might even stumble upon a cafe or two that you’d ordinarily cruise straight past. Sorry taxi uncles, but the cars have gotta go. Mother Nature thanks you for your sacrifice.
DE-STRESS YOUR SPIRIT
How does one achieve peace of mind while construction noise pollution puts us on a bad trip? Sometimes all it takes to unwind is a hot cup of herbal tea and some soothing tunes to cleanse the bad vibes. Whatever it is, take a page out of The Dude’s book and don’t sweat the small stuff – but we don’t recommend inspiring stress in others by trying to pay for a carton of milk with a cheque either.
RECYCLE AND REINCARNATE
Unlike the pioneers of the flower power movement, we had green-mulleted eco heroes to look to when thinking about our impact on the planet. Whether or not you were old enough to don a ring and call yourself a ‘Planeteer’ (oh, memories), you don’t have to look too far to find inspiration for recycling your junk. Your post-party beer bottles can easily find new life as flower vases or works of art. So long as it doesn’t end up in landfill, you’re doing the environment a service.
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
Though hippies and the military have always been on opposite ends, National Service doesn’t quite excuse the conscientious objector. You may not have a choice when it comes to paying your dues to the armed services, but that doesn’t mean you need to become a battle-hungry soldier of fortune either. Taking a pro-peace stance means you can still be proud of your country while advocating the end of war, and it goes beyond the uniform. So don’t jump to violence when someone snags that last bag of quinoa.
GROW YOUR OWN
No, don’t grow that, but do get into the rewarding practice of growing your own fruit and vegetables. Not only is gardening therapeutic (remember that lesson about stressing less, folks), but it might also save you some cash for your next grocery run. You don’t need a backyard to exercise your green thumb either; a herb garden on your windowsill not only looks nice, it’ll also produce aromas that you’d never get out of a packet. Just make sure ‘Monsanto’ isn’t on the label.
CUT OUT THE CHEMS
Hippies have long been at war with cosmetics giants, and films like Earthlings will hit you right in the feels. But they’re not just bad for our furry friends; pseudoscientific cosmetics often harbour harsh synthetic chemicals that’ll kill the hair on your head before you can say “all new formula”. We’re not advocating putting an end to showers (hey, you run your temple as you please), but organic remedies like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar will bring plenty of health benefits without harming your body.
CARE FOR A CAUSE
We may not have the right to protest, but there are plenty of ways to get fired up in the present day without taking it to the streets with a badge on a backpack. Don’t let the man keep you down! With the Internet serving as the 21st century speakerphone, we’re now able to express our disapproval of injustices happening on the other side of the world at the tap of a keyboard. Tweet it loud and proud!
LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY
Being a hippie isn’t about how long your dreads are, or how many Phish t-shirts you own; it’s a state of mind. If you dig long hair, go with the flow; or if it interferes with your qi, then cut it out of your karma. Conforming to caricature stereotypes will only hold your spirit back – after all, we were born to be wild! Swifties can live the free love philosophy just as well as Dead Heads – so long as you feel free doing it.
It’s tempting to wish we could go back in time to rock out at Woodstock or live modestly in a kampong. But the hippies didn’t get anywhere by looking backwards; they were too busy looking forward for solutions. There’s plenty yet to be done on our dear Earth, and there are still hippies dedicated to fighting the good fight. So discover new music, find new ways to go green, and – most importantly – be here now!
This article was originally published in JUICE Singapore March 2015, Issue #198, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.