If I become rich one day
My first instinct isn’t to travel the world
I’ll lie on the world’s largest and most comfortable couch
Eat, sleep and repeat for a whole year
Ever since I heard this song by Chinese Singer Mao Buyi, it has been stuck in my head. On the surface, there seems to be nothing special about this song — it even has a tinge of negativity. But after listening to it and taking in every word, you will realise this song has a strong message, that youngsters like us can resonate with.
Indeed– what would I do if I really become rich one day?
As a kid, my answer would definitely be to travel the world! However, as I grow up, I slowly understand that having lots of money is only one of the conditions to fulfil this “dream” of mine. On top of that, I need to have the capability and freedom to put aside time for this. In Singapore, every aspect of our lives are fast-paced, and that makes travelling the world an extravagant dream. This is especially so with the world’s top class education system driving us forward, causing us to feel suffocated by the heavy (academic and non-academic) workload. And whenever we have free time, we often yearn to do what the song lyrics say: have a lazy day with no work or worries, lay on our cozy beds for a nice long nap, and do anything we want when we wake up. Or sometimes, just simply do nothing at all! In fact, how many of those adults who hustle on weekdays and bustle with chores on weekends yearn to do the same? But the harsh reality is that everyone has their responsibility in society, one that they cannot escape from. Hence from this perspective, the desire for this laidback lifestyle may not be a bad thing; at least it motivates us to seize the day. Work hard and play hard should be a life philosophy that youngsters like us should embody.
If I become rich one day
I can keep everyone close to me
Laugh, eat, drink and repeat everyday
With no worries about tomorrow or goodbyes
“All good things come to an end”. I still vividly remember the day when I graduated from primary school and my form teacher handed me my graduation certificate. Surrounded by my teachers and classmates, it was meant to be a joyous occasion, yet I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I was well aware of the fact that in this generation of advanced communication technology, we could still keep in contact after graduation and Singapore isn’t that big, so we could always arrange to meet up. Even so, I could not help but dread this parting, fearing that we would become strangers and drift apart . Eventually, I have come to realise that each of us have our own lives to lead, our own paths to walk, and with the passage of time, drifting apart is a reality we cannot avoid. Even if we make it a point to stay connected, these online interactions becomes superficial over time, till one day we will barely know one another on a surface level. When the net is broken, the fish swims away. Goodbyes are part and parcel of life, and what’s important is how we graciously accept it and cross that hurdle within us. As the saying goes: To miss is better than to meet. May we take each goodbye with a little more positivity and a little less negativity.
“Becoming rich, becoming rich,
How many have wasted their time all day and night
Becoming rich, becoming rich,
And then pretended to be humble by claiming that money was not everything”
Money cannot buy us time. Indeed, time is extremely valuable. We cannot buy back the time we have lost, but if we make good use of it, it allows us to lead a more fruitful life.
We constantly lament about how fast time passes by, but we do not treasure and make good use of the time we have in the present. This vicious cycle then repeats itself. Are we going to let it continue? Seizing the moment is enough to grant us spiritual satisfaction, so all the more we should stop wasting time dwelling on our regrets.
“If I became rich one day,
I will buy all those rare smiles
Let all vulnerable children have no more fears,
And all evil to lose their right to speak”
Smiles always brightens people’s days, be it from one’s parents, friends, lovers or even strangers. During the Eunoia Junior College’s 2018 Bicultural Studies Programme overseas trip, a group of us followed ChongQing No.8 Middle School students to a nursing home near their campus ground and had lighthearted interactions with the elderly. Time flew by; in seemingly a split second, the excitement then has now become part of the memories. Till today, I still remember Granny Wang’s kind smile. Even though she could not express herself clearly, the genuity in her eyes made me determined to communicate with her no matter what. Even though I could not stay by her side for long, I tried my best to make her happy with the limited time I had,– be it by dancing or singing. I also managed to take a picture with her as a memento. During the time spent with her, I could feel how lonely she was, how happy and touched she felt when we went to visit their nursing home and how she could not bear to let us go when we were leaving. That was the first time we met, and mostly likely our last, but her smile constantly warms my heart, pushing me forward.
There are many people who are less fortunate than us in this world, but when we are successful and enjoying ourselves, we rarely pay attention to others’ pain and struggles. On one side of the world, here we are, enjoying our stable life without having to worry about the bare necessities. Yet on the other side of the world, there are plenty of people who are suffering from the shortage of food and clothing and are constantly starving.
What’s fortunate is that many capable and ambitious people hold a grateful heart and know to give back to society, displaying the best of human nature. Jose Mujica, Uruguay’s former president donated 90 percent of his salary to charity organisations when he was still in office. He even rejected government funding after he retired, living a simple but meaningful life.
Similarly, Malala Yousafzai, an activist from Pakistan who fought for female education rights won the Nobel Peace Prize when she was just 17. She was the youngest Nobel prize recipient ever. Despite being threatened by the Taliban, and was even shot by the Talibans, she never gave up her mission, that is to stop the unfair treatment of women and continue to fight for their education rights. Of course, there are many other successful people who gave back to society, for example, Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and many more…
Even though Mao Buyi’s “If I became rich one day” was a song that kept emphasising on the fantasy of becoming rich, it’s last sentence “From the bottom of our hearts, we can then truly say that money is not everything” was able to shed light on the song’s real purpose- Money can’t buy everything. It is indeed important as it allows us to survive and fulfill our materialistic satisfactions. Yet it will never be able to grant us spiritual satisfaction. Since we became obsessed with monetary gains, we tend to neglect the most valuable things around us, like time and kinship. As the Chinese saying goes, “The tree would prefer stillness, but the wind continues to blow. The child wishes to practice filial devotion, but his parents are already gone”. There are some things in life that you will not get to redo. If we do not treasure our loved ones now, we may not have a chance to love them when they are gone. Hence, I hope that people will look past the practicalities of life and pay more attention to other things besides money, grabbing the opportunities to love and care for family and friends instead of wasting precious time!
Translated by Lee Hui En 李卉蒽 (20-I4)
and Quek Zhi Jun 郭芷君 (20-A6)
——这个问题如果是问年少时的我，我的答案一定是环游世界！只是长大后的我们都渐渐明白，金钱只是实现“幻想”的条件之一，除此之外还必须具有与之匹配的能力和支配时间的自由。而生活在各方面节奏都很快的新加坡，环游世界对绝大多数人来说真的是一种奢望，尤其是作为世界顶尖的教育系统中砥砺前行的我们，平时在繁重的课内外任务的“压迫”下常常有种喘不过气的感觉。偶有闲暇时的渴望就是能像歌中所说：拥有慵懒的一天，抛开所有任务和烦恼，躺在舒服的床上，睡个懒觉，起来后想做什么就做什么，什么都不做也完全可以。其实，平时忙着打工、周末忙着家务的大人们，何尝没有同样的渴望？只是现实中每一个人都有各自既定的、无法逃避的社会责任罢了。从这层面上来说，对慵懒生活的渴望也未必是件坏事，起码它成了促使我们努力在当下的动力。Work hard & play hard，是我们年轻人应有的生活哲学。
在这世上比我们不幸的人很多，但我们在享受快乐、成功的时候却很少关注他人的痛苦。在世界这一端的我们过着衣食无忧的安定生活。在世界的另一端，却有许多人缺衣少食、三餐不继。值得庆幸的是，许多有能力、有抱负的人不忘恩负义，懂得回报社会，展现了人性善良的一面。Jose Mujica, 乌拉圭（Uraguay)的前任总统，在任时把自己每月百分之九十的薪水捐给了慈善机构，就连任职结束后也拒绝了政府资助金，过着平淡但具有意义的生活。同样的，马拉拉·尤萨夫扎伊（Malala Yousafzai）, 一位出生于巴基斯坦（Pakistan)的一位活动家，她为争取女性教育而奋斗，17岁时荣获了诺贝尔和平奖，是所有诺贝尔奖项中最年轻的获奖人。尽管面临塔利班的反对，还曾遭遇塔利班枪击，不过在被抢救后，马拉拉不放弃自己的使命，不让女性继续承受不平等待遇，继续为争取女性教育而努力。当然还有更多的成功人士，不忘回报社会，比如微软创始人比尔盖茨、Facebook创始人扎克伯格······
作者: 郭源峻 (18-O5)