My nephew watches dugongs and big fish at the Amazon flooded aquarium exhibit at the River Safari

Stop and cry

Charlene vagabonding 0 Comments

The other day I discovered that Singapore is the 3rd wealthiest nation in the world

We have so, so much here. But there is so much anxiety that frequently, outside recognition of whatever international award these things have gained, no one seems able to simply enjoy it. The ones who are rising on their power trip to wealth, prestige and recognition battle everyday in every way to keep it, learning to cultivate relationships ultimately, for personal gain. Those who have fallen from that pinnacle, never reached it, or never wanted to, cannot proceed without that shining elephant haranguing them from afar. Nothing here is worth doing unless you’re rewarded with some kind of accolade. Giving expression to the real emotion plaguing you is to be ridiculed, and so it all culminates in societally approved dissatisfaction with everything else. It is mindboggling (and a little depressing, as the bombardment is inescapable).

And as always, it is the duty of the next generation to create a better name, own, and be recognized for more, lift the family name etc etc etc. It is EVERYTHING. But it is NEVER enough. The spiral of insanity. It is utter and complete madness. How did we get this way?

This is for everyone, adult or child, Asian or not, parent or not, particularly the ones who think nothing in this has anything to do with them:

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents (from Goodreads.com)

Footnotes:

1. Yes, the above aquarium exhibit is reportedly the largest in the world, in Asia’s first and only river themed park. And it is gorgeous and thoroughly enjoyable, because where else do you get to see dugongs fly?

2. I think of my sisters, with whom ordinary pleasures are always extraordinary, and who taught me how to cry.

3. In this, is also a reminder to myself to pursue things for the right reasons.

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