We live in a world choked with demands….demand for more money, better lifestyle, more holidays, smarter kids, bigger house, posher cars….etc. People walk around with spiritually unimportant goals in their minds driven by the need to succeed and be better than others around them.
Hong Kong. South Korea. Japan. Most Asian countries suffer from this ill-fate which have caused a horrific rise in the number of suicide rates in the said countries. Malaysia is no exception as well although we’re very slowly gaining ground on our neighbors. Just picking up my son from school can become a stressful affair. I’ve mentioned this to a few friends of mine over the phone and all of them cluck their tongue shake their head. It’s end of the year and the kids are getting their test results back by now. I overheard a couple of tai-tais (housewives) gripe about their kids’ results.
Mom: I don’t know-lah. My kid did not do very well this term. The best also got 95 only. (NINETY FIVE ONLY???)
Mom2: Ya-lah. This year, the papers are all so difficult. My son is going to drop from Top 10 in the school for sure.
Mom: Last year, my son already top 30 students in school but now don’t know how!
Mom2: Have to find another tuition teacher to help my son get back into top 10 now. Damn headache, you know.
Kiasu-ism (afraid to lose/want the best/need to be the best mentality) is not exclusive to our near neighbor, Singapore. Malaysians have long made this the butt of their jokes but are Malaysians any better these days? Housewives are comparing their kids, pushing their children senseless toward a goal that should be left till they are older. Kids have every right to be kids. But I kept my gap shut and pray a silent prayer that their kids will grow up to be normal adults.
As you can see, we are turning into the kind of country we’ve joked about. Even working people are not doing any better themselves. Lots of people clock in before work hour starts and clocking out just in time for them to get ready for bed. They have no life beyond work which is very unhealthy….both physically and mentally.
Having goals is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong but what we, the human race, have completely forgotten that money is nothing, education is nothing if we don’t live. With this kind of mentality, how happy do you think the kids will be and how much fun the adults are having?
If you’ve ever wondered what life is all about, my answer now is (I previously suffered from overwork and stress as well) to live. To live a happy, fulfilling and balanced lifestyle.
Is it any wonder why mental illness is fast becoming a norm in our region?