The song The Climb is about how to value life. Listen: “There’s always gonna be another mountain, I always gonna wanna make it move, there’s always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes we’re gonna have to lose, aint’ about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb”A teenager who can write like that must be very mature. While many adults here, in Malaysia still can’t figure out that the journey is what actually counts, not the destination.
Talking about life’s journey, me and my other half met a friend last weekend and were talking about our newfound hobby – high powered bikes! Of course, his is Harley and ours is not. To tell the truth - 3 bikes of ours is equal to one Harley of his, in terms of price. Well, he earns three times more..We also have friends who earn three times less with less powered bikes and we have friends who earn three times more than the friend with the Harley and with God-knows-what kind of bikes lining up in his front yard.
But that doesn’t stop us from being friends. Price, money, material don’t mean anything in friendship – at least for us.Unfortunately, not everybody thinks the same. I was having breakfast with my family in a coffee house the next morning and heard a bunch of ladies talking. One of them was telling the others and I guess, the rest of us in the shop too, of how humble she is even though she is a wealthy lad living in a house with a swimming pool. Another was trying hard to make a point at the top of her voice, so that everybody knows that she is as wealthy because she has two maids.
I almost throw up my breakfast and I couldn’t help but turn to look at these ladies while my mind was saying, ‘who are these hillbillies? And sure enough, they look hillbillies alright even with their original branded Gucci and Chanel handbags. (*Hillbillies = orang ulu) And worse is that they are housewives!, which means the money that they are talking about actually earned by their husbands’. In other words, they are nobodies.I then wondered why was it that my mind already judging them as hillbillies before I even look at them? Then I realized why: Because they were just too overly excited with their wealth, which can only mean one thing: They are not used to it. They must have talked so loud because they have been desperately long for respect and status which they never had and must have thought that respect and status come with wealth.
This is a common ‘disease’ in our society. Everybody is too hard-up for respect, status, glamour, publicity and thought that success means wealth and that satisfaction in life is having a lot of money - a typical third world mentality which is hard, almost impossible to break.Such isn’t the case in developed nations. A stunningly successful scientist wouldn’t feel satisfied until he could find cure for cancer. For them, success is when you got to achieve something so extraordinarily significant, not some simple stupid things like having swimming pools, Gucci handbags or a couple of housemaids.
I mean, you can’t be serious to be feeling at the top of the world over something so lame? Is this as far as you can go? Handbags, accessories, vacations and domestic helpers?? Is this all that there is in life? Is this the limit? I thought the sky is the limit?No wonder Malays are stuck at where we are…
When will we learn to understand that it’s the knowledge that you gain that brings respect. It’s pushing yourself to the limit and maximize your potential in life, that gives you status.Money and material can be earned by robbing a bank, selling drugs or prostitution, do you understand what I mean? Do these people deserve respect? Do they gain any status? No, right?
I wish I could say one thing to the hillbillies but I couldn’t cause they won’t understand it anyway, that is:“Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or even Michael Jackson are the kinds of people who are allowed to be stuck-up. But even then, most of them are not. These are the geniuses who invented and created things which not many people can. If these geniuses treat the people around them like garbage and talk highly of themselves then, it’s ok. Because they have the right to it. But thinking so highly of yourself just because you have a swimming pool in your backyard is a shame.”
Bottomline is, materials don’t make you less or more – it’s you. If you’re a hillbillies, you will be hillbillies forever if you don’t change your mentality even with a wardrobe full of Prada, Chanel or Jimmy Choo and a ten thousand acre mansion. You will gain neither respect nor status except from inside your head.The real people of status are naturally humble because wealth is a natural thing to them. Boasting and being too conscious about your newfound wealth only show what a true hillbillies you are.
So, I have a less pricey bike, so what? It’s not the bike, it’s the ride. And it’s the ride that makes the rider….