Every year during the Chinese New Year, I looked forward to those very meaningful ads. by the late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad. Something's definitely missing this year. I recalled this one being aired in 2006. It's one of my favourites.
The scene opens in a yard where four elderly women were sharing some stories and discussing their offspring. The first boasted of her successful businessman son whose clients include Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau.
The second scorned at this and talked about her surgeon son who makes 20,000 pounds an operation.
The third bragged about her auditor son who makes half a million a year.
Yet the happiest of them all turned out to be the one whose son came with just an Iswara and drove his mother home to celebrate Chinese New year with her.
This clip reminds me to think about my own life. What is the right balance between chasing riches and living a life? When I gave up my job last year, I tried really hard.
The first challenge I need to deal with was to overcome my dependence on a lucrative salary, perks and lifestyle that came with my job. I managed to let go and learned that life is actually very short and simple. There are many things I can live without.
Sometime back...I had tea with some former colleagues. They remind me about the same scenario on Yasmin's ad. We talked about our families, careers, health issues and trends.
One boosted about purchasing a special edition Armani bag which costs her RM5,000.
The other boasted to us that 'so and so' was overjoyed that she got her Hermes bag at RM14,000 and now the price has gone up to RM18,000!!
Then there was a comparison of whose house is larger etc.
As much as I enjoyed catching up with these friends, I detested those trivial conversations that we discussed. I realized that I just coudn't blend into some of their topics anymore. I was being extremely truthful when I pointed out that whether owing a RM5,000 or RM14,000 bag is a sin (to me)! And that my husband and I feel very comfortable staying in our humble abode. They may have thought that I'm just being a sour grape when I made such a remark just because I couldn't afford to own one myself.
But wait,...the amount of money used to purchase a branded bag could feed many meals for the poor, shelter for the homeless or someone seeking funds for medical aid. Then my friend was quick to reply that she did her part in charity as well. No doubt. But again, what is RM1,000 donation compared to a RM14,000 bag? I am not sure. I feel that charity should always come from the heart and not from obligation or the feelings of being guilty.
As I approach the 3rd month of the year, may I remain to be truthful and conscious and not forget those who are less fortunate.