I hesitate to publish my raw thoughts. I’m aware that beneath this post lies my own bitterness due to certain traumas in life. But perhaps my thoughts about disparity and privilege might strike a chord with you.
You see, on the one hand you have multi millionaires & billionaires like the Kardashians who revel in excess – excess food which they hardly seem to eat (because they are perpetually on diets) and is just part of the decor like cookies with the face of their kid. Excessive fresh flower displays and so forth which are obviously discarded once wilted. The worst part, food fights. Guess who has to clean it up.
On the other hand you see wars in the world and refugees fleeing. The poor living in slums. The disabled. Life really seems unfair.
But when I repeatedly hear statements by the privileged about how their success is due to their hard work (Not just Kim Kardashian but a lot of privileged people) I can’t stay quiet. This truly rubs me the wrong way.
Covid truly revealed this disparity. When isolating, the more well off obviously had much more space. When the super rich complained that they are suffering and that this disease targets everyone equally, it was in such poor taste. Are they so self absorbed that they are unaware there are people squeezed in tiny flats or even worse the slums. They have far greater problems than this pandemic. I know that everyone’s quality of life has diminished due to covid (perhaps not those profiteering from it) and sure we all have a right to vent about it for our mental health, but certain statements really show lack of compassion and blatant insensitivity. Like when Ellen DeGeneres compared covid lockdown to being in jail.
In Singapore, especially during a recession, most of us have to apply for thousands of jobs without even the courtesy of a rejection letter. Interviews where we have to put our dignity aside and endure racist and sexist questions, because we are desperate. These days many are falling to job scams who prey on the unemployed. On the other end of the spectrum many get where they are through connections. I’m sure you’ve heard the terms blue eyed boy or sugar daddy pertaining to bosses who practise favouritism. It’s impossible to stomach when privilege, luck and often favouritism or even nepotism is not mentioned at all.
You know who I truly think are hardworking? Not those in office jobs, but foreign workers who labour under the blazing sun and are paid a pittance. Frontline workers like nurses and teachers who are on their feet all day. Hawkers who work long hours, carrying out heritage on their backs, but are under appreciated as sadly in status conscious society only inflated titles are valued.
I feel I am entitled to criticise office workers having been one of them. I was definitely overpaid for a job where I get to sit in an air conditioned office (those above me were grotesquely overpaid) and due to the prestige that is put on corporate jobs in my country, my head got too large. I so regret the big ego now. I didn’t know what a gift I had when I had it and listened to the wrong advice to reach for more. How I wish I had been more humble then and not so complacent. (If you’ve got it good, don’t move. You might get hit by a recession)
Having said this I am totally against toxic, abusive office environments. Had my share of that too, later in my career. Those are a whole other topic and a nightmare. If you’re in such a hell, my heart goes out to you.
Everyone who has had success needs a taste of failure to connect with their more compassionate side. It definitely makes you less of a know it all and more empathetic.
There are people who are successful, but somehow, perhaps as success has come late, or they have always been more self aware or self critical, have always been humble. They are passionate about helping others (put this and ethics over monetary gain) and they are the ones on my pedestal. I feel lucky to have known them.