Courtesy of the coronavirus, many of us are on lockdown – spending unprecedented hours at home. As someone that’s accustomed to being in professions where people are the heart of everything I do – this lockdown has urged me to slow down. To zone in and figure out what really matters to me.
Sometimes it takes a serious blast from the past to make you realise how far you’ve come from where you first started. Two nights ago, I unexpectedly found myself in Singapore’s Holland Village. I hadn’t been there in years – not since I was an accounting student. It was a popular date spot and I had many flashbacks of my life in my late teens.
We have a responsibility towards our ancestors. To receive an inheritance is not merely about property and assets, but also comes with a corresponding spiritual legacy that includes their vocation, their belief system, and their way of life.
I’ve been a minority my whole life. In Singapore, I’m Indian. In India, I’m Singaporean. In Britain, I’m Asian. In Japan, I’m a gaigokujin. Foreigner. The essence of who I am is truly lost in all the labels that people keep giving me. I went to the National Gallery in Singapore last weekend, and the docent told me – ‘Enjoy the rest of your stay here’. No, the comment did not annoy me. To be honest, I thought it was quite amusing. Our preconceived notions about who and what people are can be startlingly different from the truth.
In Hinduism, the fortnight of Shradh is the time during which one pays homage to one’s ancestors. We have a responsibility to our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents as they brought us into this world. Their genes are part of our body system and their mental traits influence our thinking.
I’ve known a few people like that. People who won’t listen to reason. People who cannot make a decision for the collective benefit of all. They create situations where they win and you lose. There is no point in trying to reason with them. No matter what you say, do or explain – they will simply refuse to listen or understand your point of view. They are right. You are wrong. End of story.
I’ve been a traveller on the road for the past 12 years so it’s strange to suddenly find myself back home and playing tour guide to visitors from abroad. I used to do it a lot growing up. I come from a family of merchants – and hosting our international suppliers was part of my job description. But 12 years can change a lot – especially in fast-paced Singapore.