To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

i got to thinking whether or not i actually leaned towards the sophisticated side, or rather, if it was actually important that a person who had some success in life had to necessarily have that sort of lifestyle. sorta like that. you get what i mean. and in extension of this, if a person who is the stereotype of the hip and independence was naturally tagged with that kinda stamp. the finer things in life. in every single aspect of the word.

someone from the crew wanted to repay me for helping her out with something. what the deed is, is not important, so you can imagine what you will. all that you need to know that the help was something i do on a normal basis anyway and there was no extra effort in doing the help. i would do it everyday with or without her anyway.

so you know, she want to pay me and all, i know she’s grateful and appreciative and all, and you know, that is enough for me. like i said, with or without her, i would do the thing anyway and so i have always refused money from her. it just does not feel right, you know what i mean.

and so she decides that she will buy me lunch. fine. i was still recovering from fever and flu so my taste buds were not present in the equation of what i wanted to eat. i just wanted something simple. and what popped into my mind that afternoon was nasi goreng.

so when presented with the option of fancy eateries galore, i felt almost awful to suggest the simple fare of nasi goreng. but seriously, in my state, nice food would have just been a complete waste on me. for one thing, memang takde mood. for another, i would take rice or noodles over burgers and sandwiches any given day of the year. if you would recall my absolute disgust of cultures that consider a cold sandwich a bona fide meal, you would understand that i take my sambal belacan and cilli padi very seriously. a sandwich is something you eat because you are in a hurry and do not have the time to sit down for a proper plate of rice or bowl of noodles, preferably with soup. the time factor is the only excuse for a sandwich, and even that can wear out.

so nasi goreng. i did not anticipate however, that she was actually expecting to splurge on something grand, something to show how grateful she was. and it is not that i did not know it, you see. but, you know.

that’s when i realised that hey, could it be that i am not as so called sophisticated as how people think i should be? do people actually think that since i have all this influence and is supposed to be all this important person, that my taste in food is tuned towards, well, above rice? the genuine surprise in her voice made me feel completely misunderstood. i do advocate better living, i do tell people that we and and should move towards a better quality of life — but never at the expense of rice!!

and i actually know quite a few people like that. i don’t blame them entirely. but i just refuse to believe that if you are upper average, you eat steaks all the time and if you are lower average income-wise, you eat rice. it just seems completely wrong. the perception is wrong. the more i think about it, the more frustrating it is to realise that i actually know a lot of people like that. when there is a special occasion, people eat western or italian or that kinda food. in all the fancy schmancy places, you don’t have a rice menu.

oh, but i digress once more.

since i had a humble meal, she decided that she wanted to take me shopping. fragrances. shoes. bags. i completely appreciate her intention. really. she’s the sweetest and i know she’s grateful. but shopping was really not something the kinda trip i want to be taken on. there was nothing i am in pressing need of, and even if there was, i did not want her to buy me things, period. i wish i knew how to underline the fact that the help i did was something with absolutely no intention of any form of repayment.

i wonder how the concept of material repayment became the in thing. i mean, i ask for help from quite a few people too. do i need to buy them all fancy lunches and take them shopping for nice things? i am grateful, but is that how we quantify it nowadays. i know she intentions were sincere, but i wanted her to know that you don’t have to repay everything back material-wise. a day may come when i need her help too and knowing that she will be there for me when that day comes makes me happy enough. and you know, that’s all. that’s enough to make me happy. happy enough. and that’s just about right.

does that make me un-sophisticated? just because people showering me with fancy stuff makes me uncomfortable? maybe it is her doing it for herself. nak cuba bayar balik hutang budi. i know how that might weigh on her. maybe i should have let her buy me stuff, if it makes her feel like it represents her gratitude. maybe it is just me not giving her that chance?

i am conflicted.

4 thoughts on “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Pingback: to leave the world a better place… - whereinsoever-Discover the magic | Discover the magic

  2. gosh this is such a spot on post , really. I was once dissed for going for the substandard. like why would i go for a fake, although it’s cheaper , i’m thinking why not? Does that make me lower standard? sadly people always associate material with class. a lot of women and men sport fancy cars and wear branded stuff, but if they are foul mouthed (while having steaks and shit), do they then have class???? nowadays it’s not good enough to just a normal nasi lemak, people tend to want to go for the best of the best. my dad wrote on his blog how when he was young, about to get married, they didnt hv the money to plan for the best of the best weddings like people do nowadays. He said all he knew was that he was in love, and they needed to get married. Now there’s nothing more classy than that!

  3. No need to scratch ur head. Blame the current materialistic environment where people are taught to quantify ur deeds. The grateful ones will try to bayar balik so that to make themselves happy and not feel obligated. People who help/give without any thoughts of receiving…thats no easy find. Its ok to let ur thoughts be known to make her understand about the art of giving. i wanted her to know that you don’t have to repay everything back material-wise. Should have told her on ur sentence above “a day may come when i need her help too and knowing that she will be there for me when that day comes makes me happy enough. and you know, that’s all. that’s enough to make me happy. happy enough. and that’s just about right”……she will understand

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