It is scary to think about money.
When we were a baby, money means nothing to us. All we need to do was to survive growing up.
When we were a little bigger, pocket money means a meal during recess at school. I always had the RM2 economy rice in the canteen where you can get 3 dish and a rice for that. I don't eat sweets so there isn't much to spend on apart from that during recess.
When we reach puberty. All kinds of desire comes to mind. Games, Tamagochi, gameboy, playstation, gshock, babyG, Shaker, if you don't have any of those, you are not cool in the eyes of your peers. I never had any of those. I got my first playstation, fourth hand or what not when i was 18 just because my neighbour moved and had to throw them out cos they had so many other advanced version of it and I spend most of my time playing naughty dog haha. primary school was shit basically. my mum came to my school to take my report card one day during primary 5 and the teacher told my mum that i dont have much friends? lol. like i care.
silly enough. maybe i do. but what can i do? i dont have stupid gameboy shits to exchange with friends. Nor do i have any of the different SHakers that you shake for fuck sake wtf were the student in that era thinking? i dont have any dinasour to fucking lay eggs for me and grow into some animate shit where i have to feed and walk that shit.
it all seems so trivial now to think of it but then, at that shoft period of time, it was everything for a young boy growing up in the city. I dont know if life is the same in rural parts of the country, maybe you guys catch spiders to fight and raise instead of tamagochi. lol.
so basically that part of life was shit.
then came high school. everyone basically was at their prime. all grown up with good looks and big boobs and hairy dicks everywhere. if you're not hot enough, you won't be invited to the "party". Then formed cliques where the rich bitches will group together, the not so pretty ones will have a group, then the cina ones, different coloured ones, and the outcasts etc.
money was the IT thing then. you have your gang that goes to the cyber cafe and play CS and DOTA and whatCRAFT. if you got no money to go. youre not cool. then there will be 101 birthdays all around the year and you will be forced to go if you wanna be "included", and there you need to fork out money to get presents for them fake friends that maybe doesnt know or like you at all.
so no. i dont attend all those shits. i dont go to cyber cafe to play them shits. why? because i have no money. i wont ask my parents for them because i know they only have enough to support the family through the month with little or no savings whatsoever.
and so i started to look for a job.
my first ever job was a banquet waiter/usher when i was 15. you get free buffet dinner at the workers canteen before an event and you get about RM4-5 an hour and events usually start at 5pm and ends around 11pm. RM25 a day and free dinner. Not too bad eh? But my back hurts like hell everyday because of the heavy lifting of tables and chairs. hm....
after 2 months, i told myself i dont wanna do this anymore and I stopped and found work at a supermarket as a promoter instead. just part time. during form 4 and form 5 school holidays. SPM was shit. I never really put much effort into it. While waiting for results I did the promoter thing full time. Results were shit and so I went and did form 6, because once again, everyone else seems to have the money to do their foundation ALevels and SAM. friends that we make during high school slowly grew apart and slowly, soon enough, were all gone. so high school sux. lol.
of course, we make new friends wherever we go. so i'm not really bothered at that department. as long as i know and treasure the keepers, the rest, if they dont impact your life in anyway whatsoever, little chance they will "connect" with you for genuine reasons.
throughout working on odd jobs here and there till i finish my form 6, i made about 20K. I feel really proud of myself then. then came the news from the gov saying that i'm not good enough for my CGPA of 3.5 to enrol for a good degree course in the local varsities and that's where my world kinda just stopped. so that sucked.
coincidentally, there was an education fair that i went to in Mid Valley with my mum. It was like the only other option that i could think off.
So now, money was everything.
i went to my dad, and with his agreement that he was willing to fund my degree with his EPF savings, I enrolled into a private university. I paid my first semester and enrolment fee myself. the world seemed complete.
the course was a twinning programme to the UK, and it was decided after much consideration and thought. the programme cost the same if i were to do it locally hence the decision. it was one of my best decisions ever made and so i thought.
i worked throughout uni period. money was spent mostly on food, car maintenance, petrol, and yea, basically just that. I was thrifty then, when it comes to myself. I do buy necessities other than food only when there is like some major sale or clearance and thank God Malaysia has it all year round.
And then i left to UK.
Leaving my family, friends(whats left) and my bf behind.
Long distance didnt seem to work. The young eager love craving self needed more than a skype call every now and then and so, it ended.
I had a weekend job at a restaurant. I had an on-call job interpreting that pays quite ok for a foreigner like myself so thank god that i could speak and converse in a few languages like most malaysians do. A year went by and summer came again. Half of my classmates went back to Malaysia. I found a summer job in the same field of what i was studying and worked full 3 months non stop on weekdays while doing the restaurant job on weekends and so basically I was occupied throughout.
At the end of summer holiday, I went on a eurotrip exploring neighbouring countries without much difficulty since I've saved up from working through summer. I even secured a job after summer placement and will commence work once i graduated. So that worked out all well.
Then shit happens.
Funds for tuition fee didn't turn up from Malaysia. I can't blame anyone except myself. I blame myself for choosing to study so far away from home where I have no other support system other than my classmates. I blame myself for not thinking through before coming here. I have to think of tuition fee, and apart from that, my living expenses which includes rent and food.
Feeling helpless, I didnt know what to do.
Tuition fees, I just push it from one semester to another. Luckily the uni was lenient enough to let me continue studying with that debt. My living expenses and rent was all paid by my weekend job.
If only I knew this shit is going to happen, I would have saved up and not go for that eurotrip. But, in life, there is no such thing as "If Only" and so I brush the thought away.
I blogged about this shit before and a few bloggers did reach out to me and wanted to help which I deeply appreciate but still, it just don't feel right taking money from someone just like that.
Mum tried to get a loan back home, I feel so bad for her, knowing that her son is somehow "stranded" overseas with no money whatsoever, it must have been hell for her. She took up a loan in the end and sold off her car but that still didnt cover much. I reassured her from time to time that im ok and that the money she sent was sufficient. anything to make her feel better.
As the year came nearer to the end, a red letter appeared, a reminder that i have to pay the outstanding of my tuition fee or else I dont get to graduate. I broke down.
Luckily then, my observant housemates realized and the fragile me at that state couldnt keep it in any longer and I poured. The next day, each of them chipped in equally among the few of them to pay off my tuition fees. I really didnt know how to react. They just pass an envelope to me with that exact amount of the outstanding sum. I was shocked but of course I feel like the world is better all over again. The dateline for the graduation attendance, and robe rental and all was way over but i begged and appealed for it and they slotted me in just in time.
Graduation day was really quite significant at that period of time. So many shits happen in that one year and it was all gone on that day. The day i hold that fake scroll in my hands walking from one end of the stage to the other end, cheered on by Asians classmates, the feeling was fantastic.
But of course, days went by as usual and before I know, my work contract commenced and i had to start work. The feeling that I was in debt to my friends still irks me so much that I did the unexpected. I sat Keith down, my then angmo bf and asked him to loan me a sum to pay off my friends and I will pay him off monthly with my salary. He agreed and with that I was so so grateful too. So instead of being in debt with 5 person, i now just need to focus on Keith.
I paid him off within a year. The feeling of being debt free was so so so uplifting! I earn my international drivers license with one sitting and bought my first ever car for 100 pounds! it is so worth it for that one year. No regrets. It was bittersweet. But it was a hell of an experience. I drove all around England before I bid goodbye to my beautiful car and the land of fish and chips.
Later that, I came back home. Finally... after 4 years. Even before that, a fellow reader was the one who helped me out with my return flight ticket.
I can honestly say that ive met really nice people along the way throughout my life. Selfless. True heroes in my eyes.
Now that I'm back, I could say I'm doing all right. Ive got a decent job, i bought a decent car, allowances for mum every month, i took care of all the utility bills at home and on top of that, savings.
When you see that your mum is happy, everything else doesnt seem to matter.
I was never the bad kid. I wasnt an angel either when i was younger. I think I was understanding enough to know my familys situation and never messed with the money department at home. Relationships were made hard at times because of the money issue but I was blessed with good lovers along the way.
Money, will never be enough. To look back at everything that money had been an obstacle, there are so many options to go around it, just that sometimes us humans are afraid of change. To be afraid, is to not try. When we dont try, we wouldnt know whether the end result will benefit us or not.
Sometimes i wonder, will my life be any different if i chose a different course to study?
or what if i drop out half way because of money, how would people see me? how will i see myself? what would my parents think of me?
so many questions, so unnecessary.
its my life. no one can tell me how to live it except for me. until you truly embrace it, you will still be living in the shadows. It isnt a bad thing to live in a shadow. Humans are born in the shadow in this context, stepping out of it sometimes is scary, hence the change concept.
tuls, why dont you stay back in the UK and work? it is 1 pound to 6 ringgit now. you will be rich when you come back!
tuls, why not work in singapore?
the fact is, you can work anywhere. you just need to pick whats best for yourself. if one option doesnt work, just try the second one. Dont let money be a deciding factor.
When i feel that I am poor, I always think about people who dont have food to eat, or a place to stay, or have got no clothes to wear. Not to make myself feel better, but to appreciate what i have now and be humble.
This blog post is sparked thanks to the countless bloggers currently talk about money issues. I hope that you guys can somehow overcome your worries and not to stress so much. Life is short.