Sometimes back in the early eighties, the then Tan Sri (presently) Dr Ahmad Mustaffa, the then Director General DVS and I used to walk around the beaches of Batu Rakit and Merang looking for birds.
Tan Sri was a keen birder then. We used to just casually walk along the beach. On the way we passed a wakaf (gazebo) where they played dam aji. They used the gazebo's plank floor as their dam aji board. So much shoving and pushing of the metal soft-drink's bottle cover used that the board was nicely sculptured with hillocks and holes.
"Look Azahar...that's what life is all about...so full of free time - doing something that you like without any worry of bills to be payed!"
The players were mostly fishermen and they played during their leisure times.
We continued walking...once in a while he snapped pictures of birds such as the blue-throated bee-eaters and kingfishers as they perched on the telephone lines.
Then we came to a stall where a middle-aged lady was busy cleaning yellow-striped trevally (ikan selar kuning). The freshly caught fish looked delicious.
"Kak, can you fry the fish for us?"
"Sure, how much do you want?"
"All that you have."
"How do you like them cooked? Fried with tumeric?"
"No, just fry them like that, plain."
In less than an hour, the delicious fried trevally was ready. The entire fish was as quickly gobbled by the three of us.
Then he said," This is life...they have all the proteins that they ever need...fresh ones at that. This to me what being rich is all about. No need too much money and no stress at all. Life is so easy for them. Don't go spoil their life by giving them one or two cattle under pawah scheme!"
His words remained with me till today. But is it really so? Can we live now with as less money as they had then?
I always wonder why is it that now we need significantly much more money than say, in the sixties?
Is this the side effects of progress and development?
MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING...that's how the cliche goes...but on the other hand, NOW EVERYTHING NEEDS MONEY!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and more MONEY
That is what everybody talks about and lives for, day in and day out.
Familes break because of the greed for money or because of lack of money.
People cheat, kill and do anything (sometimes unthinkable things) just for money. If lack of money is the reason, it is still pardonable...but when they do things because of their desire to collect more money, it is beyond forgiveness...
Why not we forget about money once in a while? Why not make a day in a week or a week in a month where we stop using money or if it was too difficult to go completely without money, why not use as little money as possible.
Oh how much I miss those days when I could live happily for a day with just 15 sen!