What would you choose if you can only have either wealth or wisdom?

After an unproductive morning trying to identify an obstetrician whom I can have confidence in for safe delivery – a VBAC if possible [1], I learned about the lifestyle and perspectives of the second generation of the top 1% [2] wealthy from China via Al Jazeera, while enjoying my lunch [3] of black chicken soup cooked by mother-in-law on 20160613.

One of the girl, a mother of a year old, is going through a divorce. She seems to have a disagreement on how to spend money. She prefers to spend on things that last longer [4], whereas her ex-husband likes to spend on expensive meals. However, her motherhood’s experience has initiated her to start an online shop selling baby stuff, and she is using social media [5] e.g. instagram and twitter to promote her business.

What she wants in a man is security and love, things that are not guaranteed even for ultra-rich girls like her.

The wealthy make global cities with desirable living qualities, such as Vancouver (for the access to fresh air, diverse food), Singapore (for safety, cleanliness), Hong Kong (not too far from China), their playgrounds. They buy properties there and rapidly push the property’s prices, making them greatly unaffordable by the locals.

On the other hand of the spectrum, many professions and industries welcome the ultra-rich. For example, the property agents, the business owners of luxurious goods (fashion shops, luxurious car manufacturers, restaurants, hotels), schools/universities (including ivy leagues), government of countries without natural resources, love them as sources of income. However, it seems that a bubble is waiting to explode because of high debt that misleadingly create the wealthy perception, and those who have welcomed them earlier on will suffer.

The reality of our world makes me wonder if we can only have either wealth or wisdom, what would we choose?

I. The benefits of wealth

  1. Have the best access to health (e.g. specialists, choices to live in cities with good quality of air and water), education (e.g. music lessons, ivy league’s education) and fulfillment (e.g. travel), as long as money is not the stumbling block.”Money is not everything, but almost everything – from the cradle to the grave – requires money.”
  2. Have earlier starts than most people. For example, Chelsea Jiang was able to be a co-founder of an online shop selling baby stuff. Most time, being an entrepreneur and starting a business requires resources (capitals, talents, connections) and many young people have no access to them.
  3. Can evolve to look more beautiful or handsome than ever. “Ugly rich guys can use their wealth to get plastic surgery and become handsome. Hot and rich.” ~ Chelsea Jiang. The same is applicable for girls and women with money and courage to accept surgical risks. A lesson that I need to inform both Little Prince and Little Princess can be summarized by a quote “… as you pick your mate, beware of unnatural selection; what you see is not necessarily what you get. … humans develop ever more sophisticated camouflage … ” from Evolving Ourselves by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans.
  4. Have ability to make the world a better place. For example, the philanthropist efforts by Bill and Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes, etc.
  5. Be able to enjoy things in life that cost a lot. For example, I have been wanting to dine in a Michelin-star restaurant, but frugal Honey Panda has not brought me to any (except Din Tai Fung) as of Summer 2016 and Spring 2017. Nevertheless, through our food adventure, we have enjoyed many delicious food worldwide, many times thanks to promotional vouchers and coupons. I also dream of visiting Antarctica and a family trip around the world [6].

II. The benefits of wisdom

  1. 知己Know ourselves (our strengths, our dreams, our needs, and our callings) and our place in the larger universe.
  2. Be aware of and remember other things that matter more than material wealth per se, e.g. relationship, health, kindness, self-actualization, spiritual wealth, and the list goes one.
  3. Be aware of many enjoyable things in life that cost nothing or little.
  4. Value and deploy diligence, discipline and dedication in every endeavor of life.
  5. Be able to focus on what we have, count our blessings, and live a life of gratitude. For example, I greatly appreciate nutritious and healthy food that mothers cook for us, the peaceful feeling while Little Prince is sleeping, the joy of reading books to and communicating with him. All these are priceless.
  6. Be able to self-educate ourselves and pass the knowledge of wealth-preservation and wealth-generation to the next generations.
  7. Be intrinsically secured. Unlike material wealth, natural and/or man-made disasters cannot take away our knowledge and wisdom.

[1] While to ratio of repeated C-section to VBAC, is 80 to 20 just like the Pareto’s Law at the country where I intend to deliver, I have beaten the odds in past life endeavors. I must not lose hope and am doing my best to eat nutritiously, minimize junk food, exercise to improve my fitness and think positively. Sometimes, after doing my best, adopting the attitude of Que Sera Sera may reduce stress and give peace of mind. The success rate of VBAC depends not only on the medical providers but also the development of mother and fetus. After all, the safety of Little Princess and myself is the most important. I am tremendously grateful to my company’s insurance, at least I don’t have to worry about the maternity fee for now, unlike that for Little Prince (for which we have to pay from our pocket). Hopefully, the insurance will approve the direct billing for my delivery.

[2] Pareto’s Law (the 80:20 rule) operates recursively.

[3] I prefer to focus on my meals and reflecting on what I have learned, but seeing the sharing in facebook by an acquaintance whom I got to know in Switzerland, made me curious.

[4] Nevertheless, the Al Jazeera documentary shows that her friends and she wear their clothes for once only, before ending up sitting in the closet. This is in contrast to minimalist lifestyle, in which we try to accumulate less stuff (clutter) in life.

[5] People love following her because perhaps they get a glimpse of her life and ultra-luxurious things in her life that are often inaccessible to most people.

[6] On 20160612, mother-in-law had a brief chat with her Hakka neighbour from Malaysia. His hardworking son attended the secondary school that Honey Panda went to, his mother complained that he is always glued to his books. Many talented and hardworking classmates of the young bouy are from China, and the school organizes trips to Hong Kong or USA (for IP students) during holiday. However, I still value the experience of living abroad than merely being a tourist or a study tour participant. To survive living abroad, we need to be adaptable, plan, and execute. Equally importantly, one learns different ways of living. See also ref2016/egbert*txt

20160613 (3 pomodoro)

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One comment

  1. […] expertise and skills. Do you notice that the word learn contains the word earn? We need wisdom to create, preserve, and share […]

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