Monday, 25 June 2012

The carpenter's daughter.

"My father was a poor carpenter," Datin said to me two nights ago. "His most prized possession was an RM79.90 batik shirt that I bought for him. He'd go around proudly telling everyone that his daughter bought his shirt for him." 
There's a term in the cyberworld called "first world problems", loosely defined as the kind of problems faced by wealthy, industrialized nations or its people that the less fortunate would roll their eyes at. The silliest things I whine about, like the weather being too hot while I curl up in the comfort of my air-conditioned bedroom, or being upset about how my favourite mechanical pencil is starting to spoil... aren't real problems but the complaints of a petulant child.

I think about the friends dearest to me, like the carpenter's daughter. I think about how everything she has now has been earned, how hard she has worked for everything she owns - her apartment, her car, her sense of responsibility and commitment to her ageing mother. Sometimes I forget that it's not the same for everyone, that saving money and not being in debt isn't as easy as it sounds when there isn't a lot of money to start with, or others who depend on your money too - like children or parents. Willi says I'm lucky, that I should know how lucky I am, because I have my parents, and that I don't have to start from nothing. Sometimes I'm scared that I forget to appreciate what I have, and sometimes I really forget, like a petulant child, but I think I will get better with practice and surrounding myself with people whose daily strength serve as a daily reminder.