October 25, 2012

You think I have a good life?

Time and time again people said to me (in Cantonese) …”Wah, lei ng sai cho … ho maeng!” which means … “Wow, you don’t have to work … good life!”

So, you think I have a good life?

OK, let’s see … while many of my peers are driving luxury cars worth a couple of hundred thousand bucks, I am driving a used Perodua which I bought for less than forty grand. While many of my ex-colleagues are buying posh condos and superlink houses in classy residential areas, I am staying in the same 1400 sq. ft. house for almost 20 years ... very likely for the rest of my life.

While many can afford fancy electronic gadgets for their kids, my kids have to make do with used or cloned devices that I sourced from online discount stores. While most people I know treat their families to exclusive holiday packages half way around the world, I scour off-season cheap tickets from budgeted airlines to neighboring countries for a short break with the family.  And while you and your family go to fancy restaurants over the weekend, we have to make do at food courts and coffee shops.

And you think I don’t need to work? I worked already  ... I worked my ass off for many years and I don’t want to go on working my ass off forever. So what do I do? I work at my own pace, make some small money and spend on small things. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. I told myself I can live with what I don’t have and make do with what I already have. 

And back to the question … you think I have a good life?

I don’t know what is your idea of a good life … for me even though I don’t drive a luxury car but then I don’t have to get stuck in the traffic every morning rushing to work, worrying about meetings, reports, sales and budgets … I can do things leisurely at my own pace. I may not own a posh condo but then I don’t have to worry about mortgages, bank loans, monthly installments and the ever rising interest rates … I sleep easy every night with no financial worries.

My kids may not have fancy gadgets to play with but they have time to be involved in many outdoor activities and enjoy the nature. My family doesn’t get to travel far for holidays because I rather save the money to give the kids a better education platform. And even though we seldom go out for fancy meals, I am glad we are all able to sit together and chat over a simple home cook meal almost every day. 

That, is my idea of a good life … so, YES! … I have damn good life.

October 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Seas

Not too long ago I wrote “Are you making a good living by what you get” … in the article I said if you are making a good living by what you get, don’t forget to make a good life by what you can give.

Then recently I read an article titled “A Tale of Two Seas” … it speaks of a natural phenomenon about the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. And you know what? This phenomenon emphasized exactly my point about making a good life by giving. Let me share it with you.

On the north of the Dead Sea is the Sea of Galilee and both seas receive water from the Jordan River. While they take in water from the same river in the same region, they are very different. The Sea of Galilee is glittering with rich and colorful marine life, plants and lots of fish but the Dead Sea has ten times more salt that any other ocean, so salty that no marine animals, vegetation and fish can live in it … it is ‘dead’ … hence the name.

Why? You see, water from the Jordan River flows into Sea of Galilee and then flows out ... meaning, the Sea of Galilee takes in water and gives it out … whereas, the Dead Sea (situated at a very low point and does not have any outlets) is just taking and collecting the water that is flowing in. Over time, more and more water keeps flowing in and then evaporates leaving tons of salt and other minerals in it, making it unable to sustain marine life.

I am sure you can see the point here … to make a good life, take and give … like the Sea of Galilee. If we are just taking in more and more without giving like the Dead Sea … at the end of the day, everything will just evaporates away.

Though it is just a geographical formation … the natural phenomenon of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee exemplified the saying “you make a good life by what you give”.