Monday, October 13, 2008

Credit crunch antidote - Simple living, high thinking

CREDIT CRUNCHHH..That’s the talk of the town around the globe. “What’s this all about?” asked a Sri Lankan worker whose job it is to water the trees on Sharjah’s famous Al Wahda Street.
I wondered how to explain it in simple words from what I have read in newspapers.
Well, it goes like this: Willi (fictitious name & story) never believed in taking loans. One day, his brother meets with an accident. The doctor said: “Pay off $5,000 or lose him.” Determined to save his brother, Willi approached a bank seeking loan for the first time in his life. The bank wanted a guarantee. Willi owned a house. “Why $5,000, you are eligible for much more, enjoy life,” coaxed a bank agent eyeing his own commission from the deal. Poor Willi was dragged into the materialistic cesspool. His brother recovered, but he fell neck-deep in debt. The loan interest mounted and mounted and mounted, while the home value slumped.
Willi is in a soup and so is the bank. And so is the country and so is the global situation.
Dunno whether I explained it right. Gardener Nijam nodded his head and I felt like a successful professor.
My friend Faiyaz has a simple solution: “Don’t fall prey to lifestyle lure. It has glitter but no heart. Materialism is a dangerous path.”
I agree and disagree. Personally, I have managed to live all these years without a credit card. Believe me. I live in the UAE and on occasions walk around the only seven-star hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab, to attend press conferences. I have traveled to Hamburg and still could move on without a credit card. We all need money, but we sure can balance our budget within our means. I should be stupid to think I will become a Bill Gates overnight. I can dream of becoming one. But I can spend like Bill Gates only after my bank accounts have a similar balance as his. Oh, this philosopher instinct. For all that I say, I am highly materialistic too. So, there’s a bit of hypocricy.
But, live within your means. Sorry, if I am forwarding an unsolicited suggestion. But you will accept it one day as the right path.

RR/ Oct.13, 2008

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