kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Empty pockets, full lives

One per cent of the global population are immensely wealthy. However we should not envy them and instead reflect on how those who are not rich are happy with their lives.

I WAS in the doctor’s waiting room last week and browsing through some old magazines.

There was one magazine on the movers and shakers of society that caught my attention because it reported on two events, held separately, for the owners of two marque car models.

There is no need to mention the brands but suffice to say that all of us, the men especially, have a secret desire to be able to own one of these cars one day.

Reading both reports, I was surprised that there are actually more owners of such cars in Malaysia than I thought.

At one of the events, more than 1,000 owners showed up, and that’s not counting the many who probably won’t join such clubs because of privacy concerns.

One is tempted to say, when reading such news, “Ah, that’s how the other half lives.”

Indeed, we can probably come out with a slew of examples about how these people have huge mansions, go on expensive holidays, and do not even pause for a moment before they upgrade to the latest smartphone model.

But have you ever thought about how the other “other half” lives?

Let us not forget that globally, 1% of the population accounts for almost half of global wealth. And, even here in Malaysia, the social structure is like a pyramid and rather than compare with the few at its tip, it is better to look at the bigger mass at the base.

That’s the “other half” I am talking about.

So while it may be natural to envy those with much, it is much more constructive to be thankful for the day-to-day blessings in our life that may not even be available to a greater number of people.

I know a woman who has had little formal education and so cannot find a job in an office, even as a receptionist, so she has spent most of her life being a cleaning lady.

Every day, she travels a long way to attend to two homes. She cleans the houses, irons the clothes, and cooks delicious meals for the two families.

Her monthly income, technically speaking, is below the po­­verty line. But she is one of the most contented and thankful persons I know.

Ironically, many people who drive expensive cars are actually quite poor.

I refer, of course, to the drivers hired by the richest people to ferry them around.

It is easy to let our eyes deceive us and urge us on to pursue what the world considers desirable. But when we start looking at things with our hearts, a whole different picture emerges.

The person who can easily afford the most expensive car or smartphone may find that he uses only 30% of their functions. The one with the biggest house would probably use only 20% of the space.

There is no need to envy how the other half lives. Rather, it is good for the soul to reflect on how those with much less than us go about their lives, thankful for each little blessing that comes their way. Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin believes the pursuit of material success is not difficult. The real challenge is to take a detour and live a significant and contented life. The STAR Home News Columnist Sunday Starters October 5, 2014


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