19 March 2013

Our lifestyle is (not) defined by other people's opinion

I follow and read this particular personal blog, owned by Leony. I don't know her in person, and I don't even remember how I came to this blog.

But I really like her writing: honest and light.

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon one of her posts that talked about Asian lifestyle. She shared this:

An average middle-class CAUCASIAN will purchase:
  • $20 basic white dinner plate from Crate & Barrel
  • $39.90 bedroom slippers from Marks & Spencer
  • $20 whisk from Franc Franc
  • $40 cushion cover from Tangs
  • $39 garlic press from WMF
  • $29 chef's knife from Ikea
  • $25 weekday work lunch at Din Tai Fung
  • $170 shoes from Steve Madden
  • $150 handbag from Zara (on sale from $199.90)

An average middle-class ASIAN will purchase:
  • $2 basic white dinner plate from Daiso
  • $2 bedroom slippers from Daiso
  • $2 whisk from Daiso
  • $2 cushion cover from Daiso
  • $0 garlic press (no need for a garlic press, using a knife would suffice)
  • $2 chef's knife from Daiso
  • $4.50 weekday work lunch (yong tau foo)
  • $29 shoes from Charles & Keith (on sale from $39.90)
  • $2,970 handbag from Chanel
Go figure.

It made me realize how different western and Asian lifestyles are. In Asia, we are controlled by what other people think about us, about our lives, our jobs, our family, our way of thinking.

She shared in her blog post that parents would buy a very expensive stroller for their baby, who won't even notice the difference, just to show off - although the stroller is huge and heavy to carry around. Why is that?

And until this very day, I just cannot help but wonder why on earth one owns a 1 million dollar handbag called Hermes. What do you put in that bag? Once, when I was still living in the Netherlands, I accompanied a friend, who bought a 4500 Euro Hermes bag for her friend in Indonesia. We were so afraid to carry that bag out of the shop, that my friend used an old, wrinkle plastic shopping bag to cover up and carry the Hermes shopping bag with the 4500 Euro bag in it.

It was in the Netherlands, where safety is higher than in Indonesia. Are those Indonesian socialites not afraid carrying those Hermes bags? I would be if I were them.

I also still know some people who worked in a certain company just for a pride. Does he like working there? Maybe not, but well, that's what his parents asked him to, because of the pride and status he would carry with the job title and the company name on his business card.

I am not saying "hell, what other people are thinking about me or my life!", because sometimes, their opnion could be beneficial. When I came back from the Netherlands, I found Surabaya very warm! So I dressed like how I normally would dress during summer time in the Netherlands: with as less clothes, and as thin materials as possible. Well, my parents complained, my boyfriend then mentioned that I shouldn't wear something like that to the public area, and when I once did a window shopping in a mall, people looked at me with strange eyes.

In the end, I realized that I should try to dress more appropriately. Well, the result is I wear a lot of dress and loose t-shirt. Surabaya is still very warm, and I still try to adapt.

So, what's wise? Ignore people's opinion? or listen and embrace to what people are thinking and saying about us? Well, use your heart and healthy mind to differentiate and filter their opinions. If your friends carry 4500 Euro bags and say that you should buy the very same bag, you need to question: do I have the money? is it beneficial? does it add anything to my life?  If the answer is no, well, you can spend your money somewhere else - maybe for holiday or save up to buy a house?

As for me, I save up so that I can go on backpacking holiday more often in the future. Yay! :)

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