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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Non-Materialistic Life

Note to readers: Every now and then I would read articles that move me in some ways. I've bookmarked or printed them, and for those magazine or newspapers, I would store them in a folder somewhere. 

Now I've gone digital. This is a recent article about a man remembering his parents, notably his father. I'm just archiving them here for personal use - please contact me if there are any problems with this. 

This article just inspires me - how a purpose, calling and deep conviction enables one to be single minded. Materialism did not affect him one bit.


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The Lee Kuan Yew I remember
His Son, Lee Hsien Yang 57
Ref: The Straits Times, March 23rd 2015 Special Edition

Growing up, my family used to bath using large dragon-motif  ham dan dong, or salted egg jars in  Cantonese. We would fill them up with water and ladle it out to wash ourselves at our home on Oxley Road.

My parents did this for almost six decades since my father moved into the house in 1945, and my mother, in 1950. It was only after my mother had her first stroke in 2003 that a shower was installed in their tiny bathroom. I think it was in part because they were so set in their ways. But it was also because my father neither cared for material things, nor coveted them. He lived in a simple spartan way; his preoccupations and priorities lay elsewhere.

Some people collect watches, shoes,, pens, rare books, antiques or art, but not my father. When people gave him all sorts of gifts, he kept almost none of them. He paid for and gave some of these items to my wife and me, and I selectively kept a few... and he would sometimes take pleasure in seeing them in my home, recalling the occasion and the giver.

He also had no idea what the cost and value of things were. He did not go to the supermarket to buy things or pay for his meals at restaurants, so he had no reference point as to how much things cost. Material things did not matter to him; Singapore did.

How would I like my father to be remembered? Well, he never worried about winning any popularity contest. He would speak his mind. He fought for what he believed was best for the country and the people of Singapore. He always had the best interests of the country at heart. And at home, it was always the interests of his children and our mother.

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