In a local online forum, someone asked: “I’m 30 years old and I earn $3,000 a month. Am I a loser?”
Imagine it’s your friend who asked you this. How would you react? What would you say? No, I should rephrase it: What would you think?
In Singapore, it seems like the most successful person is the richest person. You are a winner if your basic pay is more than your friends. Let’s face the truth: Do you agree? Or maybe, do you have at least 50% of your friends who agree on that?
Let’s take a trip back to the 1980s. Okay, maybe some of us weren’t born yet, but let’s just imagine. Someone made that remark in the first paragraph. What would happen? No one cared. They would merely ask, “30! Are you married? How many children do you have?”
Now? “30! Do you have a degree? A fresh grad is at least $3,000 leh!”
The difference is not about the money. It’s about what has been ingrained into us as society evolves into a materialistic, power-vs-power world. Nowadays, even if you tell a friend you smile every day as you’re happy with your life, but as long as you earn less than him or her, he or she would most likely think, You kidding me?
I’m not being negative to portray us this way, but as a novelist, it’s essential to analyse people. While you can argue that no, your bank account balance doesn’t represent you as a person altogether, how would your friends think? Why have we never told anyone else how much we have in our bank? Why have we spent more time trying to show others how many credit cards we have, but never daring to show others our pay cheque?
Is this healthy?
Nope. It seems like as you walk into a social setting, you need to position yourself to be a winner by showing others that you earn a lot—if not, you lose and will be kicked out. I’m writing figuratively—but if you want it to be literally, what I meant is that you meet a new group of friends, and when they realize you earn little, they relegate you to that “loser group of friends”.
Don’t agree? Feel free to comment. However, the truth sticks—unfortunately, that is the reality that is happening just hundreds of metres away from where you stand or sit now.
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