Let them eat cake

I have to say that I was irritated when I read an article in The Australian about the impact of interest rate rises on the Polgar family.

The Polgars say:
“We won’t be going out to dinner and the movies as much as we used to – we’ll stay home and watch Foxtel.”

However, they insist they won’t be selling their $500,000 house or investment property.

Reality check please! These people aren’t battling. They need to realise that they’re damned lucky to be able to afford a house (let alone an investment property), to be able to go out to dinner and movies frequently and to be able to afford a subscription to Foxtel. We certainly can’t afford any of those things. I am afraid that I feel like giving them a good kick.

A genuine battler is someone who can’t afford food or medical care. The majority of us are so lucky in this country that this is not something we have to face. I sometimes feel sorry for myself because we can’t afford everything we want. I hate having to explain that I can’t afford to buy something or go out somewhere. But I can afford to eat, or to go to the doctor’s. It’s so important to keep things in perspective. Sometimes I wonder if we all want too much these days.

I can’t help thinking of a very poor village I visited in South East Asia once. Everyone looked skinny, sick and dirty. The huts were wooden with bare earth floors. We brought the people some mandarins, some rice and some mosquito nets for the children (so that they didn’t catch malaria). Life looked very hard indeed.

Later, I caught one of those nasty bugs that you get overseas, and collapsed in a Hmong village in Laos. A local person took me into her home and put me on a mattress while I feverishly tossed and turned. I thought I was hallucinating because a whole bunch of ducks were staring at me quacking – but no, they really were there! The people fed me banana fritters, which is the last thing you feel like when you have gastro, but how could I refuse such generosity? Through an interpreter, I tried to ask if I should give them money. The interpreter explained to me, no, this would be offensive, the people were happy to help me. They had so little, yet they were so generous with what they had.

Of course, modern life is tough at times. There’s so many competing demands, so many things to juggle, so many things that we’re trying to achieve all at once, so many things we’re encouraged to buy, buy, buy.

What’s the worst that can happen to the Polgars? They might have to sell their house, which ain’t great. In my past, I’ve acted for banks in repossessions; it’s never pleasant. But some perspective would be a fine thing. We should be thankful for what we have.

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1 Comment

Filed under society

One response to “Let them eat cake

  1. missv

    Great post! Taking a step back to gain perspective is something we all need to do from time to time. Especially when we start feeling sorry for ourselves …

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