By TK Chua
There is a famous book written by Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”. Today, we can write another story: the tale of two worlds, separate and unequal.
When Sheila Majid grieved over the falling ringgit and high cost of living, someone in authority told her off, saying she shouldn’t be complaining since she is a high-income earner.
This is the luxurious world in which some are now living. They are so blinded, they can’t even imagine how the other half of the world lives. To me, Sheila was not wrong to highlight the plight of others, even though she herself may not face it personally. This is being sensitive and empathic towards the needs of others.
Some of our rich and famous think they have arrived. They worship Jack Ma, listen to TED talks and read of the latest marvels in new inventions and engineering.
They are mesmerised by the longest bridge, the tallest building, the best coffee, the most exotic food, the latest cars, the most opulent homes, and the most luxurious and sophisticated planes.
Not forgotten are the latest phones and the wonders they can do in the digital world.
They long for that holiday on an exotic island. They admire art works and obscene shopping trips. Yes, it is not just diamonds; a painting can now fetch US$450 million.
This is one-third of the world which they never fail to admire. This is how the bulk of the world’s resources are used.
Now, let’s look at the other two-thirds of the world.
This is the world where people are struggling to make ends meet. They struggle to put decent food on the table and for proper housing for their families.
This is the world where many are still without regular water and electricity supply. Each time there is a supply disruption, they have to carry pails of water up the stairs of their flats.
This is the world where some may skip a meal just to make ends meet.
This is the world where they can’t even send their children for tuition or give them a proper meal before they go to school.
This is the world where many suffer from poor health because of low quality food or unhygienic conditions.
This is the world where many work their butts off, sometimes holding two jobs, but earning only a meagre income.
This is the voiceless world. If Sheila had not spoken, then who would?
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.