4 August 2014:
One can be condescending and elitist without mixing with other elitists.Today after lunch, whilst waiting for GP to start, some of us were in the canteen talking and the topic went to the inter-school post-prom party. Some were mentioning about how they would be legal by then or not, since it involved clubbing.
Then K asked me: “Are you going?” I asked her when it is going to be held, but before I could really finish asking, R piped up: “You think he will go meh?” At this point I wasn’t feeling particularly upset yet; it’s true I’m not a ‘social’ person.
So I merely responded by saying I was unsure. Then he added “It’s 25 dollars eh”, and proceeded to tell those who were there that “25 dollars to him is a lot”. I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I shrugged weakly.
I said that since I was not going for prom (which would be ~$80); perhaps I could still afford this $25. But I felt very upset by that statement that R made. It implied that I was (probably) stingy, hard up and a money-grubber.
Which isn’t exactly false: I am eager, desperate even, to spend as little as possible. I never told anyone (because it isn’t really what people would share) but my family’s financial situation is rather severe, but only since last year.
Therefore, I consciously reduce my spending, so as to reduce the burden on my parents. However, in R’s eyes, this is probably something worthy of mocking. And yes, I did, time and again, try to hint about it.
From what I understand R is well-to-do. Maybe not filthy rich, but at least they’re wealthy enough to have disposable income and afford other expenses, such as sudden purchase of a dog.
Alas, not everyone is the same. Not all families do not need to worry about money. And it so happens that I am in the latter category. Which is why, yes, I have been less willing to spend on unnecessary items.
Previously I would occasionally buy unnecessary food like dough fritters, simply because I felt like it. It isn’t expensive per se, but they do add up. Now I simply buy what is enough to fill my belly and nothing more.
And education expenses aren’t cheap. I take history, and for every topic there are reading packages to buy. Each is about $10 – I have ~8 topics for the whole syllabus: you do the maths. (And some topics have more than one reading package.)
Therefore, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to feel that $25 or $80 is a pinch. It is. When you see your parents fretting about money, even $1 spent on junk is a waste. To me, proms and such parties aren’t essential.
Like I repeatedly articulated, to me proms aren’t very worth-it. Although, yes, the food may be better, but its other features aren’t exactly impressive. Unless you know most people, you’re gonna be mixing with your own cliques.
Then, wouldn’t it be better to simply go with your cliques to a chalet or whatever else? You are fully in control of the schedule and price and with people whom you know and will talk to.
But of course, others (like R) do think that ‘it’s for the experience’. Okay, that’s probably not wrong as well. However, for some, they probably don’t have the money to afford such ‘experiences’. They have to come up with alternatives.
I think it’s wrong to mock at such people. They are bound by circumstance and have no other solutions out. For those who have the ability to afford such things, I don’t think it’s nice to laugh at those who don’t.
Somehow, this affected me rather greatly. As such I wasn’t able to concentrate during GP. It certainly touched a raw nerve, and I was shocked by the insensitivity of some. Of R.
Addressing another point: even if I deliberately chose not go because “25 dollars to him is a lot” despite being rich, who are you to criticise? It’s my money, my financial situation and my decision.
At best you may say that I am unsocial. But then again, would an unsocial person suggest things like chalet (which benefit not only me)? No, an unsocial person would simply reject everything.
And, is it a given that rich people spend without qualms? Perhaps that’s what more and more TV shows portray – millionaires who simply throw their money away since they earn thousands per minute.
Even so, it’s not correct, isn’t it? Look at some HK and Western millionaires. They earn a lot but chose to be thrifty. They know how hard it is to earn money when they started out so they rather keep the money for real, necessary purchases.
That was one lesson I learnt from my father, and I think it’s very true. Being rich doesn’t equate to being wasteful; $1 spent on unnecessary things is still $1 wasted. And in such times, I keep to this motto even stronger.
I don’t know what’s next. Perhaps, in R’s mind, I’m still a stingy Scrooge. But whatever, it’s up to him what to think. I will never forget today’s episode, though. People say forgive and forget; I can forgive but never forget.
Above all it’s really ironic: R is a strong advocate for equal rights for LGBTs. He often asks ‘why judge?’, yet he judges others who do not wish to go for prom – which he fervently wants to – for whatever reason.
As I said, the choice to go prom or even its after-party lies with the individual. Even if I didn’t want to go – regardless of whether I cannot afford or just don’t want – does it warrant a condescending response?
What happened to ‘why judge?’?
As it so happens, there's an inside joke where I would jockingly call R condescending. He would get worried and ask others if he was really condescending. Of course, the response has always been 'no', but perhaps from now on I beg to differ.
Moral of the story: Do not judge, mock or criticise those from different socio-economic backgrounds as you. They have untold difficulties that may explain their unconventional actions.
29 July 2014:
The only way is up.Today the official results slip for JCTs has been released. As expected, my results for most subjects have worsened. I guess I shall use that as motivation. There's not much time left. 97 days to the real deal.
Today was I's birthday. Yesterday night the few of them chatted via Whatsapp about calling her at midnight to wish her. I switched my Wifi off since yesterday morning, which meant I was clueless to any of this.
Imagine my shock and horror when I turned on Wifi today and saw all them messages. I was very upset since I am not very close to them anymore, and it's sad. Furthermore, they have been trying to include me from time to time.
I'm guessing this will be a sign of things to come? And I honestly hope I don't need to sacrifice my social life. Already I'm not the most extroverted person; I can't afford to recluse myself further.
Life goes on. 人生就是不停的戰鬥。