Let me tell you about my ‘friend’ Sota (not his real name). He is a trilingual Japanese man who recently visited Singapore for the holidays. He stayed at the city’s most expensive hotel. Oh yes – the super luxurious Marina Bay Sands that has a pool on the top of the building. He also dined at Raffles Hotel – where Michael Jackson used to stay when he toured Singapore. Fancy smancy.
When Sota returned to Tokyo, we caught up for dinner. He gave me a bar of soap as a souvenir. He had stupidly forgotten to remove the price tag. The gift was a dollar fifty. Why bother? To be honest, I don’t even like receiving gifts. But considering that Singapore is my hometown – I expected a more thoughtful gift… Perhaps a Singaporean favourite that’s not available in Japan?
Since this incident, I’ve downgraded Sota from a ‘friend’ to an ‘acquaintance’. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Mr. 6 of Pentacles
There are some people who are more than happy to spend LOADS of money on themselves, but refuse to put their hand in their pocket for another human being.
That – is what I believe Mr. 6 of Pentacles is all about. There he is – dressed in his nice red cloak. He looks clean. Shaven. A man of prestige. He holds a scale in his hand – giving each man what he thinks that person is worth. He hands out crumbs to the beggar with the outstretched hands. Look at the way Mr.6 of Pentacles looks down at those he considers beneath him. You should be grateful for what I give you.
The truth is – Mr. 6 of Pentacles is a miser. A stingy selfish self-righteous person who gives to assuage his guilt so he can go bed at night thinking he’s done his good deed for the day. WHATEVER. I don’t have time for these types of people.
Many people who give – give with the expectation that the receiver should repay them with some sense of eternal gratitude. Others give to create future debts. Remember when I did that for you, now you have to do this for me. That is not truly giving. That is a cold and calculated business deal.
Moreover, giving is not just about money. It is also about time, the thought that goes into something, as well as the place it’s coming from. Ultimately, giving is about sharing: offering the best that you would give yourself to another human being.
I’m a teacher by profession. I live and breathe by this adage: give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for life.
If Mr. 6 of Pentacles truly wants to give – he should give the poor man the tools he needs to empower himself. The beggar doesn’t need his crumbs. What he needs is assistance to learn the skills with which he can earn his own living.
That – is giving generously.
So I threw my stingy friend Sota’s gift in the bin where it belongs. Keep your crumbs. They’re not worth anything anyway. No one wants your token gift – not even you.