Cow Beh Cow Bu

Class Gatherings – Just Another Occasion for People to ‘Hao Lian’ about their Latest LV Bags?

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You go for a gathering with your ex-classmates, and through the whole dinner, you see nothing but LV bags placed prominently on the table, Mercedes keys right in front of you and credit cards that you try to avoid seeing but still, inevitably, see.

If this is not familiar, good for you. If so, welcome to the club—the club when showing you I’m rich is more important than anything else.

Very unfortunately, I’ve been to such a gathering before. As a business owner, it’s even more pronounced because some of these friends target me right from the start—after all, my income can be either very low or very high. You can see the spark in their eyes when they see everything I’ve got—that car that seems to stall any moment and that phone that seems to be used by grandfathers.

Am I trying to show you something? Yes. I’m showing you that despite how little you care about your image, it matters a lot to others, because for someone to climb higher, they need to step on someone. And that someone could be you.

You see, this insecurity can be, sometimes, damaging. While you can ignore everything, some people cannot. This leads to severe debts and sometimes, even criminal acts. Your friend has that BMW? What if he paid the down payment with six bank personal loans, and even the insurance is by a credit card…that is paid by another credit card? You merely sit there and do nothing, but someone else who is talking to you could own $50,000 to various banks just so to show you that he is better.

While we can’t dismiss the fact that Singaporeans are materialistic, I realize that sometimes, it’s us who caused this social problem. You see, Person A wants to impress Person B. Person A gets into severe debt, but still achieves his objective. Person B has indirectly destroyed Person A’s lives.

Years down the road, Person A hates Person B.

Huh?

While you can argue on forever on that Person B is innocent, it’s going to lead nowhere—because eventually, Person B is in the formula for this disaster to occur. While you can argue to the end that it’s merely Person A’s fault, it’s going to lead to nowhere, too—for without Person B’s existence, this would not happen.

So, what’s the solution? Don’t meet anyone? Honestly speaking, this is even impossible as well—after all, remember how Person A can go Facebook and check out Person B? If Personal B poses with an LV bag, that’s it: The battle starts the next day again.

Then, what do I propose? I don’t know. I’ve no right to propose anything, for I may be both Person A and Person B (let’s just say…a person who is Person A will never know he or she is a Person A). What do you think?

Thanks to Singapore novelist Low Kay Hwa for this commentary.
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