THERE is a saying that money is the root of all evil. The saying probably stemmed from scriptures which describe how the love of money is the root of all evil.
While I am not here to talk about common sayings or scripture, I do want to discuss the dependency people have on money.
Despite of its supposedly negative connotation, money is a crucial part of our lives.
We need it for daily necessities, and to fend for our ourselves and our families.
We work to earn money. And having steady work ensures that our income is consistent.
Money, I suppose is like a double-edged sword. It is difficult to do without but it is dangerous when used with ill-intent.
Whenever money is wasted on unnecessary things, it eventually creates hardship as there is less to spend on important things.
This wasteful habit crops up every now and then, even among the best of us. We get carried away and splurge on expensive meals, new clothes, smart phones or tablet computers.
Arguably, some of these are necessary in today's world, but how do you explain the thousands of people who are able to get by without having these things?
Admit it, guys. We buy a new smart phone because we feel the one we already own is slightly worn out or because the existing smart phone's keyboard has become too sensitive to our touch.
Otherwise, the old smart phone still functions rather well, right? Okay, I may be revealing too much about myself, but it is a point worth contemplating.
The value of money depends a lot on what it is used for.
For the working adult, its value is felt most a few days before pay day. For those who earn a monthly salary, pay day is like a celebration which they look forward to.
There many things which we have to pay for nowadays such as rent as well as car, house, and study loans.
In Johor, shopping malls, restaurants and even massage parlours are packed to the brim on days following pay day.
This is when patrons' pockets are at their fullest, giving them a sense of being financially secure.
This usually happens on the last few days and the first week of a month.
It is common to see Johoreans treating their families to nice meals or stocking up necessities at the hypermarket.
Some people rejoice in the time-honoured tradition of belanja makan and invite their friends out for a nice dinner or lunch.
It is also the only time when many people will insist on paying for a meal.
It is a great time, but this leads to the dreaded pertengahan bulan (mid-month) financial slump.
This is when some people will turn down invitations to go out for meals and go shopping with friends and colleagues with the excuse: "That's okay. You go ahead. It is tengah bulan, lah."
For many young workers and university students, this financial slump is marked with a distinct change in diet.
When times are tough, those affected will lament they have to resort to eating only Maggi mee or rice with fried egg. Often you will hear them say: "Oh, gosh! I'm broke. It's gonna be only Maggi mee for me until pay day."
On a more serious note, a person stripped of any form of regular income may end up in poverty.
I may not be an expert on the matter, but I do know poverty is a result of circumstances which can lead to a vicious cycle.
It is up to those who are more well off to step up and help those who are stuck in the cycle of poverty.
Recently, Kahang state assemblyman R. Vidyananthan helped to send two siblings from a family of six to school. The children had to stop schooling due to poverty.
Vidyananthan highlighted the family's plight to the district education office to help the teenaged siblings to go back to school or be placed at a skills training centre.
One way to break out of the poverty cycle is through education.
After all, knowledge is king and a good education is a solid investment.