Live for money

Last June 10, two Canadian naval vessels first docked at Cam Ranh port. They invited three Canadians on board to the party, including Raj Taneja - the director of a restaurant chain, Canadian ambassador to Vietnam Barbara Paul and me.

The soldiers invited me to drink Canadian beer and talk. Most of them are admirals, captains and senior positions in the navy. Everyone dressed up very nicely and properly. I looked down at my shirt, a bit old, not too bad but this is the best thing I have. Long time ago I had no money to buy new clothes.

I find myself very different from everyone else. Here, talking about finance, they are very successful. I have a view of living separately, working for passion, but recently started to sink into debt. I had to borrow money from my best friends, and I felt terribly guilty. It was like I was stuck in the swamp, the harder I struggled, the deeper I sunk, in despair. But I kept a happy face throughout the party.

After the party, Raj invited me to a nearby rooftop bar to continue talking. It was called because I had only VND 100,000 in my pocket, and I still needed it to return to Saigon. Honestly, the cost to Cam Ranh this time is also borrowed.

This is a good opportunity to get advice from a financial expert on my problem. "Raj, I don't get it, I try my best to do it well but I'm still poor. I thought I was still considered successful so I had the honor of being invited to the party by the government, but why didn't I get out of it?" financial problems. Were you wrong to choose passion over money? ".

"What is your main occupation?", Raj asked. I said that I am currently involved in about 10 projects, writing articles, writing books, and monologues in both English and Vietnamese. I said and thought about the things I did, seeing a lot.

Raj replied, my problem is work overload. It is true that we should choose passion, do the things we feel happy and creative, but we should only focus on one thing until we can balance the money and passion. But just like my situation right now, I don't know how many decades it will take to succeed in all those 10 areas. "I think you're not wrong to choose passion. Did Jesse ever hear about game theory?", He asked.

I said I heard it briefly, but I'm quite allergic to people who live for money. He explained that it is a tool to better understand economics. It has two main laws. "Zero-sum game" is a game with a zero result, in which anything gained by one is lost by the other, only those who collect income for themselves without care. to anyone. The second law is "cooperation" - when people collaborate, support each other by providing things that are useful to all, through which we make money and everyone benefits.

I realize that making money also has many paths, no need to hate making money to the extreme. My hometown now has a lot of creative people who do many things that benefit the environment and the community, and the balance between nature and the economy. Everything is progressing smoothly because everyone knows how to work together, creating both value for society and money.

I left for Saigon, thinking a lot. Maybe my weakness is time. I choose to do too many things that offer little income while being able to choose less and focus on developing it, earning more money. Should I focus on monologue, both humorous and meaningful, as I still write to the newspaper, or just write as many books as I like? All ideas hover in my head. I felt I had to seize this opportunity. The dark days can finally disappear and the sun will come out, giving me warmth.

Sitting at home, drinking tea and thinking about the future, I know that many people have chosen the wrong path for Vietnam. They choose "zero-sum game", trying to collect any money or coins for themselves, as much as possible, despite the social rake. We are focusing on collecting lifeless numbers. From an early age, children are encouraged to get the highest score "how many points are you getting today?" , then they try to buy a lot of unnecessary expensive things because their desire "points" will be higher in the eyes of others.

In philosophy, virtue is neglected to keep up with the numbers, especially when some people cheat and corrupt to gain "points" faster than the path of fairness and integrity. Virtue is the morality and good qualities of man. It is particularly important in religion, including Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, in the underground principles of the European knights or the Japanese Taoists. Virtue has taken us out of the cave, cooperating to organize a civilized society.

Too many people are focusing on their money. In order to change a country where so many people live for money, education and leaders have to work hard to set an example and think about the common good of the community.

I realize we don't seem to have enough time to focus on educating our children about the virtues of the old days anymore, or at least it's not a top priority. It's rare for people to learn virtue when their parents, schools, and companies love results based on numbers but forget honesty, kindness, integrity, courage, patience, tolerance, humility ... Its value is greater than all the numbers that people are racing to collect every day.

Jesse Peterson
(Originally in Vietnamese)