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‘Don’t buy, barter instead’: An ex-journo’s mission to rethink spending habits

Kow Gah Chie  |  Published:  |  Modified:

MALAYSIANSKINI | In 2013, senior journalist Chen Chooi Har quit her job and started a new career at an events management company.

After going through a steep learning curve, Kajang-born Chen set up a non-profit bartering group in her spare time, hoping to inspire others to live better and spend less, and raise awareness for environmental preservation.

"KL-Selangor Barter Trade Exchange", a community-based group founded on Facebook in March 2016 by Chen, has since attracted over 10,000 members and organised 10 bartering bazaars in the Klang Valley.

While bartering is not something common in Malaysia, a Chinese-speaking bartering event and community is even rarer on the peninsula, she noted.

"Why barter? You see, as much as a homemaker wants to save money, she may be tempted by a sale and get 'buy one free one' type of things when there is no need to.

"This is definitely not a good buying habit," the 41-year-old said.

"Some may even buy kitchenware and bakeware when they just have a brief interest in baking and cooking. What happens to these utensils when your passions die?

"Surely every house has unused stuff in their storerooms for months. At the end of the day, you either throw away the items, donate them or even send them for recycling," Chen lamented.

"With bartering, we are offering you a free platform to give out these unused things, be it clothes, utensils or even non-expired foods, in exchange for something you need," she said...

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