Friday, February 23, 2007

The root of all evil

Today I wanted to buy Dawkin's The God Delusion because I had speed-read a borrowed copy some time before and had really liked it. ButI realised the darn thing cost so much in hardback that I decided to be miserly and wait till the soft cover comes out, or get it second hand.

I have just been spending so much money lately. New year season and all. Feel bad because the Sole Breadwinner of our little nuclear family is currently freezing and working his butt of in Chang Chun that I feel slightly guitly if I overindulge my book-shopping sprees. Plus I don't know how to cart everything back to China by myself and the monster.

How much money does one need to be happy? Can I afford not to go back to work? I was talking with some of my friends about this last week (you know who you are) so I started reflecting about money and values.

Fabien was telling me about the people in Mexico that he met who were so poor that they slept on dirt floors but would nevertheless invite him into their home and share their last bowl of beans with him when he was a grungy backpacker. My husband and I used to be idealistic students with hippy streaks and Fab's idea of a good holiday generally involved slums, sewers and getting by on 3 USD a day.

Then we started working on reasonably good jobs, so (as you do!) went through a Engels curve phase of free-spending fun and then I stopped working and although we don't live badly, I am still aware that we stopped being a double income household a long time ago.

But going back to the Mexican example, I think the day I will feel poor is the day that I feel like I cannot afford to be generous. What totally blew me in Turin was how much people were willing to give without expecting anything in return. And the mean calculating devil of a Singaporean in me was humbled and shamed and I try always to remember that Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is. You cannot love money more than your friends, your family or even that stranger on the street. Because the day you do, then you are poor indeed.

5 comments:

rene said...

what an enlightenment! I feel I have just gained a new perspective. Well said, well-written! I share the same experience with you of having to adjust to a single/1.5 income household. But being in canada is very diff from being in singapore and we feel happy even though we may have less materially.

Michael Low said...

One thing that has been very deeply impressed upon my heart as we all get older and more affluent: to have enough to spend is a luxury; to have the ability to give it away is a BLESSING.

Ex Night Queen said...

I always tell myself I have enough to give...and somehow...I do. Besides money, generosity can come in many other forms too...like time, and kind words and acceptance of others for who they are.

Ex Night Queen said...

Totally unrelated but I kinda miss Sophie. Especially when she looks at me intently, and expressionlessly...sort of like the look she's giving me in that photo on my blog! Didn't get to play with her enough on Saturday!!!! I guess when I do see her next, she would have grown up :-(((( - not that it's a bad thing but I just love babies.....

Dos Centavos said...

Hear, hear. Good guilt is very helpful, by the way.

Hey, do read The God Delusion. Great book. But very aggressive. His tone won't convert anyone, I am afraid. Though of course, I am on his side. Check out his views on indoctrinating children! Love it!