S’PORE IS PLAGUED BY CONSUMERISM, THE NEED FOR BRANDED GOODS TO MAKE UP FEEL BETTER

Never in a million years did I expect to park my car, walk out, and end up next to my old car!

There was once upon a time, long ago, when I drove an Audi. At that time, all I ever wanted was to own a “branded car”. So one day, I walked into the Audi showroom, maxed out my credit cards, and ordered one. It was brash, silly, and a reflection of what plagues much of society today – the insatiable need for consumerism; the need to own something nice to make ourselves feel better.

Animal welfare work changed all that. In 2013, I sold the Audi A4. SOSD Singapore was in its infancy, and was facing a financial crisis – we took over an abandoned shelter with 26 dogs, and we had nothing in the bank. I had to mobilise money in case we could not get enough donations to cover the rent. That abandoned shelter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXLZVVkegK4) would subsequently become the current SOSD Rehabilitation Centre, where over 80 resuce dogs are kept at any time.

I was really fortunate – so many kind donors stepped up to support us, and I never had to use the funds from selling the car.

But – what I didn’t know back then, was that the decision to sell the car would reverberate far further than I would imagine. By giving up the biggest material possession I had, I had triggered a metamorphosis which would change me forever. I embarked on a profound journey which saw the growth and evolution of not only my own psyche, but of other things around me, like my professional work, and of course, SOSD.

I became a practising Buddhist – and slowly, began to shed even more possessions. Branded goods, good food, holidays, they all did not matter anymore. If we have them – well and good, but if we don’t, there is no need to long for them – because these things do not last.

What is important is in the present – there are far more important things to life than petty quarrels, money and material possessions. There are far more too many things to do- and we should always channel our energies to creating positive change, and helping others, rather than to be calculative, or to bring others down. These are the foundations which I live my life on; the ones SOSD are built on, and now, the same ones which Radium Medical Aesthetics are founded on.

Today, I drive a 9yr old Subaru which gives out rickety cries of dismay every time it starts to move. More and more frequently, it stalls at a traffic junction, refusing to move. But it still gets me from Point A to Point B, and I genuinely feel that I am very lucky, to be able to have a car that bring me from place to place. Because thats what cars are for, isn’t it?

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