Friday, December 16, 2005

Philosophy and Uncommon Sense v1.5

It's coming to the end of 2006. Christmas, holidays and the year-end spending spree is at its peak this coming weekend.

Was only quite sometime since I last read Stephen Law's "The Xmas Files: The Philosophy Of Christmas". I don't want to be a spoil sport and hence would not go on to explain what you can find in this book but to those who are interested, you can find this book in very large bookstores in Malaysia.

One point I want to blog about is the practice of giving gifts for X'mas. Gift giving is a tradition most prominent during X'mas as compared to other cultures or festivities in the East. In Chinese culture, the giving of cash is considered more common although this practice is slowly changing due to Western and media influence.

In economic sense, giving gifts is much more beneficial to giving cash. If one gives gift (probably purchased rather than home-made), one generates economic activity that transcends borders in the open economy with various spin-offs and spillovers. A simple T-Shirt for example enables various group to benefit from its sale from the cotton farmer, to the textile factory to the garment factory, ad agency, designer, shopping mall, media, packaging company, gift wrapper etc. Many parties take a cut from this humble T-Shirt, some more, some less depending on your value-add. The last minute X'mas spending provide companies a final boost to its year-end financial reporting coffers is probably another reason as well.

Giving of cash though gives you a less spin-off effect particularly if the cash is saved for a rainy day. However if its spent, it gives a similar impact although not every cent given/ received is spent. Economically speaking, the spin-off from giving cash is less the giving gifts.

However, what is good for the economy may be bad for the environment in the long term. Many of the gifts given are sheer waste of money and resources. Just look at the toys or decorative items given as gifts nowadays. They are of no use, impractical, prone to spoilage/breakage etc. They only serve one purpose though, to generate more income for the rich. These days, even as environmental awareness increases, the practice of buying, spending on frivolous items continue due to impact and brainwashing by the media. The proliferation of a buy-and-throw culture due to "advances" in technology (just look at an average age or lifespan of handphones by a typical user) and shortening of the lifespan of "durable" goods (e.g. computers and automobiles) will give you an idea of what our future garbage heap/dump will soon look like.

That is how materialism has changed the world and why we continue to be part of it is another argument in another day. The practice of giving cash in the Chinese culture for events such as weddings, new year, birth of a child etc. to a certain extend does not have such a large economic spin-off but neither does it create such a wasteful nor environmentally damaged world.

We are however free to make you own choices and decisions but ultimately we reap what we sow.

Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year 2006.

PS: It's the Thought that counts. I'm leaving you all with more Thoughts and hopefully beneficial knowledge for the new year.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


i think people under 40 are very childish, people over 40 are worriers, people over 60 are lost and people over 80 are frightened.

hmm... looks like no matter what our ages are, we will alwas contribute to some problem and are problems unto ourselves. man... i guess there is no such thing as to be fully matured or completely matured as this is the ultimate goodness. hopefully to be sufficiently matured at our respective responsibilites will suffice.

if you think about it carefully, maturity = level of goodness. so to be matured in certain ways, a person must be good in those certain ways. since no one is completely good, then in those areas we find people to be immatured.

so maturity and age is not related by any means.

one thus measures a person's goodness by their maturity.

what constitutes as maturity among different people? for me it is simply their goodness. an 80 year old grandma playing with her barbie dolls is not immatured to me; it's just a form of entertainment. for all purposes, if she is a decent human being, she is matured.

we settle down with others whom we find matured 'enough'. the rest are the external stuff like money looks, social standing, behaviour... basically it has more to do with the stuff that is not crucial to our spirit.

life shouldn't be so serious; it is only a temporary situation. our spirit lives forever and we need to develop that area while we are physically alive.

it is easy to be matured (according to my terms); it is only a question of wanting to.