When you were ten, you bought a Billabong bag and compared it with your friends. When you were fifteen, you bought an Adidas bag and compared it with your friends. When you were twenty, it was a Prada. When you were twenty-five, it was an LV.
It never ends. While you can argue your way out that you are not comparing, you are. Implicitly, maybe, but you are, for we are all social creature.
Most of us Singaporeans (at least those who can afford to read this) do not need to compare the amount of food we have in our fridge, for we often have enough. Instead, we unconsciously compare other things, especially tangible ones like bags, cars or credit cards. As we put more money into trying to impress others, have we ever thought of the more unfortunate ones?
You don’t need to go far, like Africa, to see the unfortunate people. Just look out of your window, and look down. Then remember the old lady who cleans the estate every morning.
You spend $2,000 on an LV bag, just so that you’re better than Lucy, your colleague who recently got a Coach bag. Well, $2,000 is three times the monthly salary of that old lady, and she can survive with $2,000 for six months.
Yes, as you think about the Prada bag that you do not have, someone out there is sweeping the floor the entire day just to buy a slice of cake for her grandson.
But you’ve worked hard for it, you argue. Oh, so you’re saying that the old lady is not working hard? Let’s face reality: You’re born at the right time and at the right place. Go to another country and try working hard, and see whether you’ll get the same results.
It’s time to open your eyes wide before you become obsessed with material gains. Very often, we watch documentaries about poverty, and the next day, we forget about it and continue to climb up an invisible, useless social status ladder. Maybe for once, you should compare the food you have with the food that the old lady is having—and then, deduct that portion by 80%. You might realize that the next iPhone might not be on your to-buy list now.
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