Friday, July 22, 2011
The Irony of High Living
I think I've done my fair share of observing people enjoying a high standard of livingand living in luxury, sometimes taking a small bite of it myself. Very small just to have a little taste even if it blew a big hole in my little pocket. That included dinner in Paris, breakfast in Stockholm, high tea in the Netherland etc. That was long ago when still thick in the contest of life.
Now is the time to watch more than compete. After touring the high spots for culinary excitement in the country, enjoying a plate of rojak or mee curry, nasi lemak bungkus, or roti canai and teh tarik at a small corner eatery, suits my tastebud more than the buffet and ala carte routine at the Curve, Pavlion or even the KL Tower. Afterall I can only eat so much if I don't want to experience a bloated or stuffy feeling in my middle. Eno helps sosmetimes when that happens.
But what do you know? I often see some familiar faces at the little corner eateries too. Faces that used to feature in luxurious hotels and restaurants. Rather shriveled in spite of the rich and high class food they used to nimble or gobble. They won't recognize me though behind my large dark glasses. country hat and nondescript clothing bought from Jalan Masjid India. Hey they feel great in the sweltering heat. Oh yes. Some of the familiar faces have blown up - fluffy and red. I think they are worse off than the shriveled ones medically speaking. What remains as a reminder of their high status and living standards are the impeccable clothes, rolex watch and belly shoes ( or is it Salvatore Ferrafamo?}. They don't bother me anymore since i found my Bata shoes and Petaling Street timepiece served my purpose just as well.
Most satisfying is when I see some of the familiar bourgeois faces of old joining the common man-in-the-street for prayers at the mosques and madrasahs. I like to watch their lips when the Imam and the Makmum in general are reciting some familiar prayers, more so the less familiar ones. Are their lips moving in tendem with the others showing that they knew the prayers by heart or are they just moving their lips to pretend that they are also reciting the particular verse from the al-Quran or the doa.
I must confess that I was doing just that when I was still pretending to be in their group of buddies.
Now that I am retired ( old is a relative term nowadays for even a young man can die tomorrow), I can at least say that I don't have to pretend anymore. Neither in my clothes, food, drinks nor in fulfilling the injunctions of Allah. If I can fulfill what needed to be done I do it if not I strive to practice or learn how to fulfil it. It's never too late to learn and the funny thing is that the more you try to commit the prayers and the doas to memory the more you forget. Oh how I admire the Imams who rattle the prayers like teenagers singing Michael Jackson's songs. Why didn't I start memorizing the important prayers and doas when I was a young man? It wouldn't have taken too much of my time or memory space. I really don't know how many mega or gigabite of memory space is left noggin though I know the human brains contain more memory space than hundreds of mainframes put together.
Hey. it's good to move around now in all kinds of places to watch out for the old bourgeois faces turned humble and pensive with age. When I watched them it makes me feel young again just like when I watched the young people enjoying life and sometimes making a fool of themselves. Don't be angry men! I did that too when I was young and everyone pof us is entitled to fool around when we are young. The question is when do we stop doing so and start to accept the fooling around of the world as a way of life in the new world ( even if it's old to you). I enjoy learning more than competing in life, now. How about you?