One of the reasons why Singaporeans tend to be so dissatisfied with life is because we think too much of the future. The worries and anxieties that we have are not about today, but tomorrow. And mostly about not having enough money to survive, let alone enjoy tomorrow.
So we work ourselves to the bone. We fret and we stock up what we can get, like squirrels preparing for winter. Some of the more enterprising of us invest, in hopes of bringing a windfall sometime down the road, but until then our hearts sink as we watch our stock values plummet.
Perhaps our parents and teachers and our government have been telling us the same grasshopper vs ant story too often. It's become the driving force behind Singaporean thought and action. Work hard now, because the winter is coming and when it arrives, no one will help you if you haven't stocked up enough for yourself. We are taught to look down on the grasshopper and accept that he deserves his fate because he enjoyed summer too much.
But life isn't lived in the future. We live life in the here and now. What will sustain us is not the money we've accumulated per se, but rather the wealth of experiences we have been able to gather as we live life from day to day, moment to moment. Work is important, but so is every other aspect of life; and our generation is fortunate enough, affluent enough, to enrich ourselves in so many ways. Question is, are we willing to spend our time building up a variety of life experiences, or are we just going to fritter it all away chasing the money?
Sometimes, a different perspective of life can help us see the beauty and value of the 'now' moment. Meet Joel Cooper who writes for The Ex-Pat Files, Sunday Times: "Tea, cats and a new hunger", 19 Feb 2012.