This is my first submission: intended partly in support of the article from Rich or Richer? By Vivek, and an insight to my first impressions of Thailand.
My father was employed as a plumber on wages. He had six kids and a drinking problem. Therefore we were definitely working class, living from week to week on insufficient money.
I know how life is without a quid in the pocket.
I spent 20 years in the army from age 17. Saved my money and used it to good purpose after discharge. I’m now in a position where I don’t have to work and could not possibly spend my money if I lived to 200. I’m now 64, but still physically fit and capable of a hard day's work. I work part time (to maintain physical and mental fitness) as a general hand and machine operator in an earth-moving enterprise.
I have learnt that I cannot hide my financial position. My siblings are imitating my father’s financial habits. I have been called upon many times to save a loved one from “financial disaster”.
After losing around $AU500,000 I realised that a trite old saying is absolutely true; a friend in need is a friend forever (OK… I’ve played with the last word a bit). The fact is that if you help someone once you will be the first to be approached when the next need arises. And it will.
Common sense eventually prevails over sentiment. I realised that any financial assistance provided will not benefit the petitioner. Why should they strive to improve their situation when they have a ‘white knight’ to get them out of the proverbial shit? A bankruptcy or two may introduce a few life realities where needed.
Without exception they now publicly profess to hate me for my “lack of consideration” for their circumstances. I do, however receive discreet visits from individual family members (including grand kids and remote cousins) where concern about my physical and mental health is expressed (I’m a solitary sort of a bloke, and considered to be a bit of a hermit).
No, I am not normally the “white knight” sort of bloke! My dough came from honest business dealings and hard work. I have never sold or produced an inferior product or misrepresented my position. On the other hand I’ve never offered a discount for my product or services. I always knew what my margins were and provided the product to justify the price.
In 2003 I decided to escape for a bit. I took the iconic Australian holiday – 2 weeks in “beaudiful downtown Bali”. Not my cup of tea. Full of street stalls selling tourist crap. The only establishment that earned my money was a bookshop near the beach. Boring…but had some decent reading.
Sex? Sure, I’m always up to it, within reason. I attracted a likely lass and we retired to my hotel room. Relations turned a bit sour when she informed me that we were being watched by voyeurs through the curtains. Three star hotel, too!
Whilst in Bali I decided to seek (on foot) a decent tailor to get a couple of light suits. A “lass” (passenger on a motorcycle) accosted me three times. I’m not a young chap and have no illusions about my sexual attraction to young sheilas, but this harlot had the facial features akin to an unsuccessful boxer of my grandfather's vintage. Fortunately I visited Bali for a mental stress download so I never felt that I had missed an opportunity regarding sensual pursuits.
In 2004 I had a look at Thailand. WOW! My intention was to follow the movements of an uncle. He was a POW captured in Singapore, and was forced to participate in building a railway in Thailand. Sorry Uncle Reginald… got sidetracked a bit but I’ll do it eventually.
I reckon it would be a waste of time and space to describe what I did in Bangkok. And Pattaya. And Chaing Mai. Suffice to say that I knew what “come in, hansome man” means, and I knew, given my age, exactly what it meant. In fairness I compensated the ladies for their consideration of a bloke three times their age. I have not inherited my father’s drinking habits, but I still managed to survive on around 10,000 baht per day. Some will say this is excessive, but I spread it widely, and did not feel deprived or cheated.
I intended to spend two weeks in Thailand but this extended to six months, interrupted only by a promise to assist a friend with the AU federal elections. The only downside was the visa rules. I had to depart the country and return in order to get a new visa. Singapore gained a few grand that Thailand could have earned. I reckon the Thai workers need that money more than the Singapore blokes do.
This is obviously a brief submission… please realise that my reputation as a “bit of a hermit’ is not misplaced. I am self sufficient; or so I believe, but I am aware that no man is an island. Perhaps my reticence could be interpreted as a lack of self confidence. Could be; but that would defy my previous life experience and achievements.
Anyone who works hard and then enjoys the fruits of their labour deserves respect.