An American friend had remarked that all he needed for his retirement are good beer and football. A Singaporean colleague replied that he found the requirement to retire in Singapore very stressful. As a result, we are rushing every day NOW in order to store up stuff that we may never be able to enjoy anyway. The Singaporean is never content, always looking for the next good deal or ‘lobang’ and needs to shore up for our retirement age which seems further every year.

We carry with us a sense of vulnerability; we feel alone in the world and if we do not take care of ourselves and our family, we will be another sad story on the streets.

This sense of vulnerability is ingrained in our nation building. We have always been told that Singapore is a Red Dot with no natural resourcesa nor strategic depth and people is our only resources. And thus, the people has been turned into just a resource, no longer a person.

This manifests itself in the way we drive and the way we nuture our kids. When we drive, if the car ahead does not help us in any way, they become a hinderance; we horn or overtake to get the obstacle out of the way. Our kids become projects that cannot fail, to be cultivated into engineers, lawyers or doctors.

This vulnerability reduces our ability to enjoy the present. We are pushing our kids, not enjoying them. Our kids cannot fail to learn, and must be perfect. During a drive, we stopped looking at the scenery along the way, focusing on our destination. Even our kids in school practise this vulnerability, remembering what is required to pass the test, not enjoying their lessons and truly learn.

It is time to examine this vulnerability, the sense that we do not have enough for our future and start to enjoy the NOW.


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