Tuesday, August 03, 2004

My Chinese Kernel

My Chinese Kernel

The Chinese, ever-busy and bustling with their businesses is a common sight in any Chinatown in the world. Here in Kota--the Chinatown of Jakarta--there's hardly any hint that the Chinese being deterred by the many massacres and riots against them throughout the city's checkered history.

Everywhere, you'll see their sheer voracity for success, their infinite wisdom in all things financial and their unabashed worldliness. The Chinese are indeed worthy emissaries of materialism.

Sometimes I'd like to think that the Chinese "kernel" that I possess is something that I can turn on and off at will. It is like a secret talent that I can unleash whenever the situation demands it. You see, there are times when it is good to apply a little bit of Chinaman wisdom: For example, when it comes to things related to money, some pragmatism and prudence will never do any harm. I actually have the tendency to take things easy when it comes to financial matters. So, if someone tells me that I do business like a Chinaman, I'll happily take that as a compliment!

The danger with being too money-centric in one's view of the world is an unhealthy attachment to material wealth. Prudence, when practised to the extreme, can lead to selfishness and stinginess. An uncontrolled appetite for material success can easily overshoot into greed. As in everything else in life, balance is the key.

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