Friday, October 9, 2009

Keeping Up with the Joneses

My neighbour said something to me last weekend over an over-the-fence chat that had me sporting a smile as courtesy, but causing bewilderment at the same time.

I was re-doing the small garden we have at home with the kids - you know pruning, cutting the grass and revamping it a bit after years of neglect, when the neighbour from the front house popped up and we had our small chat over the fence. I could not invite him in for a small Raya chat instead in the house as we were not in the state to take guest with our sweat and dirty appearances.

Anyway, back to the chat.

I guess he would like find out about Arif taking his flying classes as that was the second time he asked about him. His daughter was a classmate of Arif at SMK BTHO for him to keep a distant interest in him, I guess.

Once he completed his small chat on Arif's flying (and me on his daughter's at UIA) , I complimented him on his new vehicle. It is easy to get on the neighbour's or anyone's good book. Just compliment them on about anything. Their slimming down over the Ramadhan, the new coat of paint on their old gates, their new sport rims etc etc.

Not that I would notice much of the happening surrounding my house. Me, going back and forth from office would take most of my energy anyway. But since his house is practically in front of my house, and the fact when we returned on Thursday on Raya week, there were only a few cars parked on the street, hence I noticed it .

You know his response?

"Aiyah, Rahman, terpaksa lah. Everybody semua kereta baru. Habih we all dah cornered ni. Org depan (not my house) new car, org tepi pun sama, orang belakang pun kete baru jugak. Tinggal kiterorang je kete lama. Mana boleh tahan!" he said. He was smiling when he said that; he was non-chalant too but I know he was serious.

To be honest, I have no inkling about what he was talking about. I have not the faintest idea over which neighbours would have what cars. I don't keep track of them - I try not to. He mentioned their names and their new cars, but for the life of me, I simply would not and could not remember those.

I know there is no point for me to keep track of them. I know I can't compete. If I have one neighbour who lives below my income capacity, there would be 10 more neighbours above it. If I can afford Saga, they could buy Waja; if I Perdana, they can buy the latest BMW 5 series.

Why bother?

The reason I bought a car is that I need it for my work. Not to keep up with the Lees, the Alis and the Ahmads. The same reason I would buy a house is that I need to live in one and I need to shelter the family, and not for me to compare with my neighbours.

It never ends.

To be honest, I was not taken aback by what he said. I honestly thought he would use the excuse of replacing his 'old' 4WD SUV. I would have bought that. May be he was trying to do small talk with me. I seldom sit with them and have a chat over nothing. May be that was what he was trying to do. And I will keep him and myself entertained I guess. ;-)

And amused, if I may add.

But for anyone to keep up with the Joneses....hmm...


  1. Rahman,

    Pernah tengok artikel ni?

  2. Hey Anon, good article. Something to mull over for sure.

  3. Rahman,

    Forgot to introduce myself in my earlier posting above. I'm the junior from KB again.

    Glad you found it interesting. Actually because of your posting on keeping up with the Joneses that strike me you could be interested in the article.

    The academic pressure nowadays for kids to excel in primary school so that eventually they would go to a boarding school and etc etc. I don't remember myself to be particularly inclined academically in primary to eventually enter a boarding school. All I remembered was spending the majority of my free time in some form of games.

    Having the chance to go to a boarding school to me is more like filling in a curiosity and I don't remember doing too much studying there too. It's more towards the exposure and personality development that I attached it to. And we had fun.

    No wonder kids nowadays that go to boarding schools would not be sharing the wonder and enthusiasm that we had before. Its just a run of the mill thing for them. Something to do to escape home and of course, after that, to cram all the time they were there to memorize all the notes, in the hope that they will do well in SPM. Its something they had to do, not something that they enjoy to do.

    I would concur with the article that going to school nowadays is like going to a prison, not something that you look up to.

    Your junior in KB

  4. On the above comment on boarding schools, I do wonder the reason for their current existence.

    Some are great schools like MCCK, I would understand but others are becoming mediocre and most are founded in the 70’s...

    Do they have broadband for each and every student?

  5. Good points/question by the both of you. It is not an easy question to answer - it is debatable, and it can go either way.

    NOnetheless I disagree with Anon's statement that MCKK is the only great school and others especially those started in the 70s are mediocre. YOu must be an ex MCKK to be saying that. I think education in Malaysia has dropped in quality over the years.

    Anyway, that's another forum.