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Selfish Beings

Trouble, trouble, trouble. Nothing but trouble. The night before, I was just talking to a friend-cum-feng-shui master about the direction of my life. The horrible things that are currently going in my life right now. The things that could go wrong, is going to go wrong or has gone wrong. I spent a total of 3 hours complaining, ranting and raving about how unfair life is and how come others who are close to me or my husband can afford luxurious lifestyles. How come they have 2 family cars and we have to share 1 car. How come they can afford to have four computers for the four family members of their home. The youngest being barely 3 have her own computer at all ? like she's got tons of work to do on her own and absolutely needs her own computer, you know what I mean? I was just ranting and raving about how my kids have to fight with me for the computer ? me rushing things out for my clients and my kids sitting right next to me, waiting for me to finish with the consistent but patient enquiries like, 'Mom, are you done yet?' or 'Have you made enough money yet?'.

I can't think straight with my kids sitting right next to me, waiting to pound my keyword into pieces the moment I am done with my 12th article for the day. It's a little bit like having President Bush sitting right next to you informing you about personal sacrifice for the benefit of the entire nation! You just can't say 'no' because if you do, you'll feel like a total loser.

But I realize how insignificant my so-called problems are when compared to the kind of problems that some others have.

Children suffering
Children in poor countries are suffering without food, without adequate clothing, without a roof over their heads. Some have no mothers, some have no fathers. Some have no one to call a family at all, loitering and wandering through the rubbish-strewn streets, looking, searching, finding, losing?.for nothing in particular. Their minds are in shambles because they no longer have anywhere to belong to. Everything becomes a complete blur and yet their focus is on the most basic form of need ? survival.

Jobless people
I am lucky enough to have work. I don't have a job but I have a business. I fought really hard to be where I am today but needless to say, I am well educated and I know how to be resourceful BECAUSE I have parents who raised me well and have forced me to be independent from very early on in my life. Some people without jobs have absolutely nothing. I have a computer, can afford internet access, phone to conduct my business. Some people have no jobs, no computer, no internet access and no phone. Asking these people to buck up and look for something to do is like asking them to go scour for useful rubbish in the public dump site.

Beaten and bruised
Most of us have people who loves us and adore us. Most of us have someone whom we can call family or at least good friends. Some don't.

Beaten and bruised. Belittled and have no sense of self because of the brutal and constant mental and physical beatings that they have taken from the people they thought loved them. They have been betrayed by people whom they thought they loved and could trust.

Those are just a few types of people who have it worse than most of us.

Collecting cans
I was buying a packet of cigarette from the petrol station tonight, when I saw someone looking through the garbage cans unabashedly when I alighted my car. My car was parked, but I was waiting for the man looking through the trash can to go away because I don't want him jumping into my car. He suddenly lifted his gaze and looked my way. His eyes were red, not from alcohol or drugs, but from fear, from tears. From torture from pain, from confusion and embarrassment.

We held each other's gaze for about 20 ? 30 seconds, while I waited and he waited, gauging and guessing each other's thoughts. I guess he was sizing me up in pretty much the same way I was sizing him up. Then he dropped his gaze because in the large scheme of things, he concluded that I was obviously superior.

He continued to scour the garbage cans. In his right hand, he held a large plastic bag. I saw him take out and place empty coke cans into the bag as he went from trash can to trash can. My heart melted and my fears and anxiety dissipated.

What a horribly selfish person I am. Here is a man who was looking for trash to sell and the night before, I spent 3 hours complaining about the kind of luxuries I have that he doesn't.

What a selfish, selfish person I am.

Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and copy writer who works from her home in Selangor, Malaysia. She loves nothing more than blowing bubbles in the park with her 2 kids, Joshua and Jared and considers getting her hair yanked while playing horsey an absolute privilege. She is the author of "Raising little magicians", and the popular "The Lance in freelancing". More information can be found at

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