If you are reading this:
- You have the time to read a blog, you are not stressing out to pay your bills.
- You have a smart device, it can be smartphones, laptop, or tablet.
- You have an internet connection that allows you to get knowledge from around the world.
- You have had a certain privilege to have an English education, not everyone in Asia has that.
People don’t talk about this enough, but I was moved to share this blog post after reading a Medium post: Ketchup Sandwiches and Other Things Stupid Poor People Eat
I felt pain. It’s sad to see someone would be upset by seeing a poor person uses food stamps. Food stamps are meant to assist poor people so that their kids can have sufficient nutrition to grow up well. He is just trying to survive and provide a living for his family.
We live in the world where everyone is connected, but hey, not everyone. Many still don’t have convenient access to clean water, education, electricity, food, etc. Those who are privileged to have 3G/4G connections are connected, they look at each other and thought these are everyone in the world. They miss out on those who aren’t connected. Even me, I often miss out about the people I can help.
I come from a middle-class family. When we were little, the three of us would sleep with our parents in a small room. I thought it was pretty normal until I found out that my other more privileged friends did not have the same experience. It was only after my parents’ businesses have grown enough that we were able to live in a place where we have more rooms and space.
I was grateful and I am still grateful for the things that happened to me. I was privileged to be able to study in a great high school in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia (I am from Medan, Sumatera). I am blessed that after a terrible accident, I didn’t lose my hand. We had enough cash to have 4 surgeries, I was lucky, it was not a small amount of money. If I were not as privileged and lucky, I wouldn’t have had my right hand now. Even by typing this out, I have goosebumps.
I’m blessed that I managed to study in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. Again, I’m blessed that I became the President of a business club in my university. I don’t just say that it was merely due to my “hard work”. If I were not privileged to have English education, I wouldn’t even be able to have all the things I have now. Of course, along the way I worked really hard because I understand that I was lucky to be there and I would maximize the opportunity the world and God have given to me.
Life is not fair, so help others. While we want what millionaires and billionaires have, many people want to have what we have. It’s a never-ending pursuit of happiness (at least many of us think it is).
Luck and privilege play a role
Please be grateful if your family can provide you a great education, a private car just for you, a business for you to run when you are older. Many people don’t have that privileges. We have to help those who need our help, you don’t have to be a millionaire to actually help those in need. Nobody wants to be poor, everyone is working hard to come out of poverty.
Luck matters. Even if you are really smart and hardworking, you still need luck. Things may go wrong, and whether you survive or not, it requires perseverance, faith, and luck.
When we understand this, we will better understand the people around us. We will be willing to help them more because we know that, while we think it is not easy to be us with all our problems, it is not easy to be them too.
Some people aren’t privileged enough, help them. Some people are very privileged, help them too because they also have their own problems.
Access to information
I mentioned that life isn’t fair, but it is changing. The information age opens vast opportunities for everyone with an internet connection. As long as you are willing to learn, you can access information that can change your life. You can gain skills you never had the opportunity to learn. You can share information and help others. This is the age of abundance. It allows everyone to have an almost equal information privilege ( valuable information is still kept as secret for businesses). But hey, it’s good enough.
Access to information has allowed people from poor families to have better chances to reach new heights.
However, many people are not using this access optimally. They access information that won’t help them to achieve something greater in their lives. Maybe because they didn’t believe they can, or maybe they aren’t inspired.
Privileges in the form of capital like cash, connection, or property are still distributed unevenly in the society. The best way to reach the top in today’s world is to enhance our capabilities in using one of the most powerful capital in the world, information capital. Life is never fair, but we can choose to play the game in the place where it is almost fair.
Every person always has his/her own advantages and opportunities, but he/she has to identify and willing to work hard to grow it.
So the next time you see someone who needs your help, give a helping hand. Don’t turn your back and look away. If you weren’t privileged or lucky enough, it could have been you.
“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” – Albert Einstein