My brother, a man of contrasts

January 10, 2008 9:57 PM

My brother is a man of big contrasts. He watches and reads movies, novels and magazines which are cerebral and thought-provoking. Yet in his every day life, he lives it the simplest way he can. He has simple needs – his job, his cigarettes, his beer, his food and his like-minded friends. He doesn’t splurge on material things, but unless he’s planning for a holiday or a major purchase, he doesn’t save much either because he doesn’t believe in rainy days. Although he does live within his means and he has no debt.

Our Cantonese maid in Malaysia used to say this about him, roughly translated:

If the sky ever falls on him, he’d just treat it as a blanket.

He doesn’t plan much for the future. This of course, causes a great deal of consternation for my parents. Because to not have a plan for one’s life and to have a just-enough mentality about money is very much not the Chinese way. We’d prefer stability over uncertainty while he lives it one day at a time.

In a way, his easy-going approach towards life may be enviable. Because while we fret and worry about things that may never happen, he’s cruising along enjoying the simplest pleasures that life has to offer. Like I’ve always said though, ultimately our lives are about the journey rather than the artificial milestones and timetable. There isn’t a “correct” way to living, and we are all entitled to seek happiness in our own ways.

So happy 29th birthday Marvin! Maybe you should be the one lecturing us about our lives rather than the other way around. 🙂


9 thoughts on “My brother, a man of contrasts

  1. rn

    my brother and my boyfriend and the rest of my “financially-aware” friends constantly harp on that. OK, I DO need a bit of control, but generally that’s my idea. I guess there needs to be a mix, so as to provide just in case of a bad stretch of time, etc. However, I always think that life is a journey, like you said. I haven’t figured out the “great plan” in life and such yet, but I can be very simple minded in a way too. The simple things in life that makes us happy (hence my meme!) can be the most important, ain’t it?

    I just need someone to understand that. =)

  2. blur ting

    Your brother is a wise and happy man. Mine is always fretting about money and work though I don’t see why he has to do that.

    We’re all different and as long as Marvin’s comfortable and not complaining, I think he’s more blessed than anyone else.

  3. mooiness Post author

    rn: Also, each of us have different ideas about what constitutes a rainy day, and what we should be saving up for. I think in the end, as long as we are not running up debts and we are living within our means, then it’s ok.

    blur ting: yeah those of us who can appreciate the simple things in life, and who don’t worry too much about the future can appreciate my brother’s simple approach to life. As for my parents, I guess they wouldn’t be my parents if they didn’t worry. 😉

  4. mooiness Post author

    Lupin: woops – 1979 actually. Have corrected the age above.

    mf: yeah even though I’m not money obsessed and live within the means, I’m the same. His mentality is that worrying about rainy days is what insurance was invented to prevent.

  5. BigZ

    You know man, I’am starting to wish I could be more like your bro every day. When I think back I’am only really happy when I’am not worrying about stuff.

    Bills, job, shit to do etc. I’am only really happy / free when I stop thinking about that stuff and enjoy the moment, as it was.

    eg Punching down a long empty road on a slightly over cast day, stereo pumping my fav tunes and no place to be, just listening to the engine rev up…or when I spot a really beautiful women with the wind blowing just right behind her :).. for few moments anyway I can forget all that mundane shit and be free.

    Your bros lucky if he can do that all the time 🙂

    Happy holidays btw !

  6. sourrain

    It’s people like him that will live to a ripe old age due to less stress and higher happiness, not those too stressed out in building their bank account rather than kicking back.He is the quinssential australian ‘No Worries Mate’ guy.

    Happy birthday Marvin!!!!

  7. mooiness Post author

    BigZ: getting back to enjoying simple pleasures takes effort after all. But I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

    sourrain: true that. they may be the smarter ones, rather than us.


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