Dosh. Wedge. Coin. Bread. Bills. Bones. Greenbacks. Dead Presidents. Loot. Sawbucks. Scratch. Shekels. Loot.
The folding stuff.
There are so many different terms for Money. I think we would all be richer without it. Cash is King here in Singapore and life is all about Money. It is the national religion and the collection and accumulation of it is worshipped.
How much does that cost?
How much do you earn?
These are all opening gambits in everyday conversations. The Singaporean loves money and their worth is measured by it.
The pursuit of it here is relentless.
Now don’t get me wrong for I know that money is important. We all need it to get by. I like the sound of it jangling in my pocket and I like the feel of it. I always have some cash on me.
Multiple currencies actually.
I am looking in my worn leather wallet now and I have $100 or so in Singaporean currency, $75 in US notes, 1000 Nepalese Rupees and two Australian five dollar notes.
I have a wad.
I am a walking foreign exchange office.
Money does keep the wolves from the door. It puts a roof over my head and food on my table.
Food and shelter - I like and need both.
I certainly don’t work for free either but I am not obsessed by how much I earn or how much I spend. I guess that is easy to say because I don't really want for anything. I would probably be a bit more concerned and have a different perspective altogether if I didn't have any.
Or if I didn't earn any.
Money that is.
Money doesn’t buy happiness nor love though. I know this for a fact. I am acquaintances with many very wealthy people here in Singapore although I won’t claim them to be friends. They are often sad and are more often miserable. On the flip side some of the poorest people I know live in Nepal and these people are my friends – they are not just acquaintances. They have no money.
None at all.
They are the happiest people I have ever met.
By a long shot in fact.
The whole money shemozzle is complicated further by the credit system. This is perpetuated and promoted by the Banks. I work for a Bank. I work for a very BIG one. I am a part of the machine, a money making machine. We banks make most of our money selling credit.
We finance debt.
We rake in billions.
Credit is a system whereby a person who can't pay gets another person who can't pay to guarantee that he can pay. Then he doesn't pay. He can't afford to and he never could - which is why he got credit in the first place. Then it all falls apart and we have a global financial crisis or two. Messy huh? Ridiculous.
I actually have enough money to last me the rest of my life. This is providing that I die tomorrow - or unless of course I buy something.
Then I am fucked.
There is a perception too that money can actually solve any problem - all problems - particularly here in Singapore. It obviously can't solve problems but it can certainly create them. All money can really do is buy things or it can lease them. It can perhaps then free people up to pursue those things that can't actually be bought. Ironically these are more valuable things.
Does that make sense?
I don't know.
I should ask the Nepalese.
Money - it's a gas. It's a crime too apparently. So said Pink Floyd. I wouldn't argue with those boys.
I wish you were here.
I get the gas analogy because my money seems to evaporate. It disappears into thin air all the time. I am not so sure about the crime bit. I think it is only a crime if you steal it.
Abba sang "Money money money. Must be funny. In a rich man’s world."
Crazy fucker Swedes. I have no idea what they were trying to say.
I went to a barbecue hosted by a bunch of Swedes on Saturday night. They were a very strange group of blonde haired and blue-eyed people with whom I couldn't really relate. They stood around the barbecue drinking schnapps and munching on meatballs and they were mostly talking about the joy of nudity.
I ate their food, I told them that I thought that IKEA and Volvos were an abomination and then I left after only an hour.
I left before they started to take their clothes off.
I think a rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
I hesitated before I accepted my current position in the BIG bank.
I am a firm believer in social justice and I am appalled by the inequity of the fiscal system. There is no doubt at all that the almost constant global financial crises that the world is currently in was caused by greed perpetuated by the Investment Banks on Wall Street.
Lending money to poor souls who could never afford repayments.
Then selling debt.
A catastrophic collapse was inevitable.
Yet I became a part of the machine.
I wanted to change the world and I still do. The issue of climate change and global warming and the extinction of species and other environmental calamities must stop. I am a father and I want my children and my children’s children to inherit a world that is not ravaged by pollution or ripped asunder by war and poverty.
I remain convinced that the Financial and Insurance sectors are key players to sustainability and change.
Over the past five years I have witnessed the concepts of citizenship and corporate social responsibility transform into something tangible.
The energy crisis the world is facing is biting and carbon economies are crumbling. There is a realisation in big business that fossil fuels are in fact a finite resource and they are becoming very expensive. Innovation in renewable energy is suddenly blossoming.
It is blooming.
In the machine in which I work the ideology of responsible lending and sustainability and citizenship are becoming very real. In the past twelve months alone I am seeing hard evidence of the very big brands and players banding together and espousing schemes labeled sustainable letters of credit, net deforestation and green bonds.
I delight in the fact that my Employer is leading the way.
The global polluters and big business that are killing our planet and making our animal kingdoms extinct rely on the financial and insurance sectors to survive and flourish. What if we say to them “no more”?
What if we say we will not provide credit or banking or insurance to you unless you repair the damage you have inflicted?
This is happening.
It is a reality.
I am seeing it for myself.
Come on then you organisations that are not responsible.
You can’t survive without us on board.
Clean up your act or we will clean it up for you.
Bring it on.