April 26, 2013

Different worlds in a world.

I was just walking to where my father parked his car when I saw something that stirred some feelings in me. It was a mixture of feelings, sadness, helplessness and truthfully, a little bit of indifference. This feeling of indifference is a little scary, but it is there.

What did I see?

An old man sitting on the ledge, his broom and dustpan leaning on the wall next to him. His face was full of wrinkles, his skin was tanned, probably from hours of being exposed to the scorching Singapore sun. He looked down at his fingers and leaned on the wall, his face expressionless. His clothes were quite worn-out. 
Across the street, there were a line of pubs. Ladies dressed in their stunning short dresses and high heels socialises with their friend or acquaintances. In their hands, they held glasses of drinks that costed at least SGD$8. They have smiles pasted on their heavily made up faces. 

This scene is not an uncommon one. But I doubt many actually looks at it and see a significance. We have been socialized in such a way that this sight is considered normal. People would probably become annoyed if that old man was sitting within the sight of the people in the pubs.

However, this scene, to me, illustrates how the world is so.....unequal. The difference between the working class and the middle/upper class is so stark! The drink that the lady held in her hand could feed the old man for the entire day. This made me feel sad.

On the other hand, a part of me says that it is nothing to be sad about. SOMEONE has to sweep the roads and make it look sparkly clean! The rational and pragmatic part of me say it is part and parcel of the society. Someone gets to be up there, someone has to be down there. Serves him right for not working harder when he was younger. He could have been a retiree enjoying life now. Here comes the indifferent Rebecca.

Which makes me kind of disgusted with myself. Many Singaporeans would probably say it is the government's fault that there is such obvious inequality in our country. We can just apply the minimum wage law and everyone would live happily ever after. True? Sound legit. Must be true.

I beg to differ. Why do you have to blame it on the government? It cannot be entirely their fault. It is the way the world have evolved to become. Why not blame it on the boss of the cleaning company who does not give its workers more wage? Why not the public? If they are willing to pay more tax so that the government can set aside more money for these workers? These methods are not feasible. 


Whose fault? It is difficult to blame anyone. Why push the blame to others anyway. If we do not litter the roads, we do not need anyone to clear the roads. Want to blame? Blame the human race. We are all at fault for the prevalence of inequality in today's society. What can we do to reduce the suffering of others?

Hey! How about we go back to being cave people? Then everyone will be the same.

Well, not exactly the same, but you get my flight. By the way, this artist has rather cute cartoons on his profile(click the link!) Quirky cartoons are not easy to draw. It requires creativity.

Okay, I am sort of just blabbering on because this scene (with the old man, not the cave people) was really stuck in my mind. But if you are still reading at this point of time, I leave you with a little nugget of thought. True equality will never happen because some of us tasted how is it like to have more than others and we are selfish. We want to keep enjoying ourselves at the expense of others. I am not willing to change my smartphone to my phoneasurus. My smartphone provides me with so much convenience which "I cannot live without". Business people says these kind of things all the time. It will affect their sales yada yada. Would not increasing your profit kill you? No.....okay maybe you get to eat less sashimi. But will the cost-saving measures you take, eg. employing more part timers so you do not need to pay for their insurance, kill other people? Yes, if that part timer has the misfortune to contract a terminal illness and they do not have sufficient money to pay the hospital for treatment and their job sucks so bad that they are not insured. This analogy is really not too far-off. Things happen. Let's think deeper and find a way to prevent it from becoming worse. We need not look at the government, if we see inside ourselves, we may find a way to do our part in making the world a more survivable place in the future.

Maybe one day when I grow older and get too caught up in the rat race, I will look back here and gain something from this blabberish.

That's all I wanted to say. I hope you got something out of it. ^^

P.S. Exams are around the corner. Wish me luck and all the best in my last lap to fulfilling my dream of going on an exchange programme!

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