The bane of being Chinese or at least Malaysian Chinese is that almost every conversation I have with another Chinese (family included) revolves around money. It wasn’t a problem until I realised how much time is spent on this topic. Now it irritates me that every conversation with my family and friends touches on money. There must be more important things to talk about.
Another realisation I had was that almost every chat on money is hardly pleasant or engaging. In fact, very often it arouses feelings of self-inadequacy (not doing enough), competitiveness (should do more), envy, guilt or sometimes the terminal case of ‘you-owe-me’.
Maybe with the economic crisis, people (myself included) have become more preoccupied with money – less of it, with rising cost of living and lower income. I should know because every other week my parents tell me that the cost of something just went up X% or that they noticed the local noodle shop has hiked prices by X%. I continue to remind myself that I should be mindful not to get into the frugal mindset and start counting pennies over pounds.
This economic crisis will pass, just like the ones before it. It’s like a wave in the ocean, which we need to ride out. Psychologically, we would be better equipped to handle such motion-in-the-ocean, if we place less emphasis on the value of money and maintain a simple life, going back to the basics of needs versus wants. It is easy to confuse the wants as needs and in the process become over-reliant on a steady income, which is not a problem when we are gainfully employed. Life doesn’t end when we lose our jobs or when we’re broke, perhaps when we’re down on luck is when we become more resilient and learn that there really is more important things than money.