April 04, 2012

You think I am rich?

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You think I am rich? Many people think so … they said to me “Wah! Shiek, you send your kids to private international school, you must have a lot of money stashed up”. Halo, let me clarify … I did not send my kids to a private international school (please note I highlighted ‘international school’ in bold) … I cannot afford a full scale private international school with huge football fields, big nice air-conditioned activity halls, international standard sports arena, Olympic size swimming pool and state-of–the-art computer facilities that spread over several acres of land where students wear expensive uniforms and have their breaks in alfresco styled cafeteria. Nope … I definitely cannot afford that.

I send my son (and my daughter too when she goes to secondary education) to a private education centre operated from a row of shops with a decent library, a nice eatery, small classrooms and an up-to-date computer room. And no need for fancy uniforms … smart and casual will do. That, is within my ability … that much I can do for my kid’s education. The important thing is, my kids get to study the same syllabus, sit for the same exams and exposed to the same learning skills as those who are enrolled in private international schools. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against private international schools … their facilities are definitely better. If you can afford to write a bigger cheque, go for it. I wish I could. And for that matter, I am also not saying that our national type schools are not good … just different learning exposure.

 The irony is, the same people who commented that I send my kids for private education actually earn a lot more than I do … but they say they cannot afford a different (if not better) education platform for their children … I wonder why? They have better houses (most have more than one house), they drive big cars (and change their cars every other year) and they definitely have higher incomes. They can afford twice yearly overseas holidays for the whole family, they don’t mind losing thousands of dollars (in depreciation) when they change their cars, they own luxury brands but somehow they tell me they can’t afford private education for their kids. They say I am rich and they are not … hmmm, strange.

So you think I am rich? Don’t think … I tell you now. I have a house, I have a car, I have savings, I have an income … really I have a lot. It doesn’t matter if it is a small house, it doesn’t matter if it is a cheap car, it doesn’t matter how much I saved, it doesn’t matter how much I earned … I have a lot more than many people in this world. YES, I can say I am rich, simply because I don’t measure myself in material value. I am rich simply because I don’t spend unnecessarily. I am rich, simply because I don’t spend more than I earn. And let me tell you what my late father (even though he died penniless) once told me … he said “I am rich because I don’t not owe anyone, anything”. 

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