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Once, when I was at a coffeeshop having my dinner, a middle-aged man holding many soft toys approached every customer. He was trying to sell the soft toys. As he failed to do so in this coffeeshop and walked off, a young lady said, “He should get a real job.”

It didn’t come across to me as insulting until I encounter the man again, this time trying to balance all his soft toys while walking as fast as possible to another coffeeshop.

He has a real job.

He sells soft toys for a living. He’s a brave man, compared to many Singaporeans who don’t dare to do sales canvassing, sales or even basic presentations. Why has the young lady said he needed a real job?

Have we become so developed that a real job is sitting in an office with a computer?

Very often, our perception of the world is so narrow that we believe what we see is what the world offers. You work in an office and to you, work = office. While you do know that there is always some labour work in a company, you believe office is work, while labour work is…another thing.

But, to that man selling soft toys, being able to stand up and walk to customers is work, for he might have friends who could not even afford to stand up.

Sometimes, it just seems like while Singapore is one country, there are so many different worlds. One thirty-year-old could be dining in a restaurant, paying $300 in cash, while another thirty-year-old could be looking for food in a coffeeshop. Both know about each other’s existence, yet both prefer not to know each other’s existence.

However, what is appalling is that some of the rich do not understand the poor, yet have the cheek to judge others.

I remember not too long ago, a Singaporean joker who owns a car decided to take the train. He then posted on his Facebook that people who take public transport are “peasants”. His post got viral, and he was Stomped. People then uploaded information about him online. Yeah, he has not committed a crime, but he has committed a sin. Like a true coward, he deleted his Facebook account and disappeared from the online world.

See what’s happening? He views the world so narrowly, and yet still dare to judge.

I don’t know whether it could be society that is causing this, for seldom the older generation, who make it to the top by struggling at the bottom before, has seldom judged, for they’ve experienced the tough days. A long time ago, to be a manager means having to be an assistant first. Now, to be a manager means going to school, buying a degree and then impressing in job interviews.

What do you think? Have we, as modern Singaporeans, seen the world through narrow and judgemental lens?

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