I was having lunch with a colleague, and while we were discussing about how ridiculous property prices were and how some people can afford them, it dawned upon me that there are people in different social groups whose ways of lives we could never have imagined. Social groups that owns houses worth millions, spends tens of thousands every month on lifestyle.
Do I envy them? Frankly, no. Living in that kind of social group requires you to behave in a different manner. I mean, how else do you think you could earn that kind of money? These people socialise, entertain, update their wardrobe to upkeep their status. They may earn a lot, but they need to spend a lot too. If they live in big houses, they got to pay for the maids, the gardener, the car, the utility bills. On top of that, they work hard. You’ve watched enough movies to get what I mean.
There is no right or wrong in what they do, because what they are trying to do is to conform to the social group that they are in.
To me, ‘social groups’ does not only imply different income levels. It also means different industries, for instance, the entertainment industry. Totally chaotic but colourful. To survive and be successful, you cannot afford to be normal (haha).
But thanks to Internet and blogs, we can now have a glimpse of some of these people’s lives through their blogs. Last week, I discovered the ‘Lao Zhar Bor’ blog and her life revolving in her social group. Then this week, I found Jack Neo’s new blog. Jack is a well-known film-maker, producer and talent manager in Singapore. Again, through his blog, I uncovered the life of a film-maker. Then there are blogs of my friends with different social groups: models, actors, musicians, students.
I am a music composer. I am a photographer. And I sometimes wonder why I cannot be as successful as others with the same interests. Then I tell myself it’s because I am not in the social group. I have had opportunities to ‘join the group’: go for gatherings, for concerts, meet people, share my interests, expand my networking. But I just didn’t tread deep enough.
Look at Fred. He’s now in Shanghai working his head off. His typical working hours is 5pm to 5am. He can afford to fly to another country and work hard because he is young and building his career. And he will succeed, not because he’s ultra-good, but because he is in the group.
4 years ago, I caught the attention of Terence Yallop, President of Real Music, the label that makes Kevin Kern famous. After months of trial collaboration, we met in Singapore during Kevin’s first concert here. His comment was that it was difficult for us to work due to geographical differences. I could think of a simple solution: I could fly to U.S. and base there to expand my music career.
But I chose to stay.
You know what they say, that the grass is always greener on the other side. I like the fact that I could, from time to time, visit the ‘other side’ and experience greener grass for a moment, then return to my own side. I choose not to migrate to the green side, for if I do, I might soon realise that green grass is not the only thing that is important.
A life is simply an equation in the world of living. Your existence can make a positive difference to the people around you. That, I feel, is the value of living.