Life shouldn't be printed on dollar bills. ~Clifford Odets
I read in Hatim's blog about defining success and how it affect the people. It gave me the hint that materialism is a perennial viral among society and it affect our kids today. I actually not surprised by the fact that kids actually evaluate us and judge us by our possessions. Not talking our other kids, I'm talking about nieces and nephews of husband.
My husband is the 5th in his family and it can be said that every year there will be at least two offsprings from his siblings. (Mudah kan?). The reason I ignore the nieces and nephews and unfriendly to them not because I lack of motherhood instinct (or maybe I am) but I feel suffocating being among them. It happen because they keep talking about how rich or how poor of an individual.
There are a lot of funny stories of how witty they are (or how materialistic they are) about rich and poor among family members but I just brushed it off, thinking that they are just children, whose spoonfeed by their parents and grandparents with everything and I thought it was normal. Only that, it hit me with sudden jolt when husband told me that he want to teach our future children with 'materialism', in order to be realistic with our 'cruel' world. I opposed the idea by telling him they will doing just fine like us, that they will learn gradually how the socisty works and how they world is running, after all, the world is not revolve around you, we have our roles in this world.
Back to the story. When we going back home to our hometown, husband bought some souvenirs from Borneo, and distributed them among family members as well as their kids. So one of the nieces asked husband,
"Uncle, uncle ni kaya la."
"Mana ada uncle kaya. Atok lagi kaya."
"Mana ada atok kaya. Atok (my father in law, cum her maternal grandpa) miskin. Tok wan (her paternal grandpa) lagi kaya."
"Ye ke.Mana awak tahu?"
"Tahu la..Tak percaya tanya Atok. (She went to my FIL and asked like this) -- Atok, atok miskin kan?"
My FIL watching TV, too lazy to entertain said - "Iya, Atok miskin."
"Ha, kan betul."
Husband went berserk. He argued with his own niece, "Apa pulak. Cuba tengok kereta siapa lagi besar - Atok ke Tok Wan, cuba tengok TV siapa lagi besar, cuba tengok sofa siapa lagi besar, cuba tengok rumah siapa lagi besar - Atok ke Tok Wan
The niece gone haywired. Kept silent. Biting her lips, with no arguments anymore.
I thought it was funny and hillarious and I spreading the story to the rest of family members and my family. They laughed but my brother seems shocked with the story, "ada ya budak materialistik macam tu, takut pulak kalau terpinang budak perempuan jenis macam tu, susah hidup aku nanti"
And there was one day, we and my brother in law's family went to the sister's house. I asked husband drove my car. Then after greeting each other, this niece asked me,
"Aunty, kasut aunty macam kasut orang putih dalam TV. Berapa puluh? Berapa ratus?"
"Entah, tak ingat sebab beli online"
"Oh beli online" (I'm sure she doesn't know the meaning of 'beli online')..Berapa ratus? berapa ribu?"
"Entah, tak ingat, uncle yang bayarkan.."
She screamed loudly yelling husband's name (because husband at the outside of the house) - "Uncle....! Uncle beli kasut aunty ni berapa?"
Husband replied, "Mana uncle tahu, uncle mana ada duit, uncle miskin, yang kaya aunty. Kereta yang uncle bawak tu pun aunty punya, uncle mana ada apa2"
She turned furiously to me, "Aunty kaya ya?"
"Aunty kerja apa?'
"Ajar budak darjah berapa? darjah 4? darjah 2?"
Husband explained to her, "We all semua orang miskin, tak kaya macam ayah awak.."
She then asked - "Napa tak kaya? Kalau nak kaya macam ayah, buat la bisnes macam ayah!"
We both strucked for seconds. *Halilintar*
"Ah ye betul, betul..Patut we all involve in business. She has a point". Both of us agreed then.
Then suddenly my BIL interrupted, "Oh kalau macam tu uncle pun nak bisnes la, uncle pun nak kaya."
All of us laughed to the darnedest thing a child could ever said.
(I pun wonder la napa la my husband pun melayan bab kaya miskin ni.Haih)
I told my mother in law the story, I thought she took differently but instead she proud of it. There was a moment when she baselessly asked the nephew "Ayah pakai kereta apa?" The nephew answered proudly, "Izogha!"
People will say that they are just children. But I don't know if we should allow them talk about material publicly and to be proud with that attitude. I really don't know because I'm not a mom,yet, and I don't know if I will change my point of view if I'm a mom one day.
Is it true that materialism = realism?
And it is okay if we teach our children on materialism to prepare them with future world?
Or how to cultivate to them that 'money is not everything, but everything need money' mantra?
Can we put a borderline between materialism and consumerism?