Wednesday, June 20, 2012


After such a continuous stretch of prosperity, it is not surprising that people no longer remember, or never knew, that life can be one of struggling for subsistence and frustrated aspirations.

Somehow Daddy, despite his learning in Classical Chinese, Tang poetry and history, ended up driving a cab for 20 years. How galling it must have been for him, at the beck and call of customers perhaps less learned than him, and very often less rational too. Yet he stuck to it because he couldn't find a better paying job, though I am sure it was never his ambition to be a taxi driver. Ideas like 'self-actualization' are alien to him, just as his sacrificial labour is inconceivable to us these days.

We certainly hope never to return to the harsh circumstances of our founding fathers, but they are reminders that the good things we now reap were sown painstakingly.

Sometimes I wonder what expectations and hopes young people have when they are looking for a job. Do jobs always have to fit our training, aptitudes and interest? They expect to find professional jobs as befitting their degrees. Everyone they know works in air-conditioned offices, and aspire to own a car after a few years of work.

Then because modern life gets stressful, people now call for a slower pace of life, wanting to trade some of our nation's excellence for leisure. But friends, do you really think that you can have your cake and eat it too? It seems that cocooned in present comforts, we have become complacent enough to think that the good life will always be there, even if we slacken our efforts. More disturbingly, these calls for relaxation come together with ever increasing demands for public and welfare provisions.

I put two and two together, and decided to increase the investment in my retirement fund.

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