My idea of a happy life| | When I begin to think of my idea of a happy life, I think first of all of money — plenty of money for everything all the time. Money to buy a beautiful house for my parents or my brothers and sisters with every convenience and luxury, money to buy a fine motor car, all the clothes we could ever want and as many possessions like transistors, bicycles and modern appliances, as the heart could desire. money too, for foreign travel and for a first class education. Then, I think, I could be happy. But, is this really the answer ? It is true that the possession of money contributes to comfort and easy living, but money in itself cannot create happiness. Let us look at some of the world’s richest people.
Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth’s heiress, for example, was divorced several times and lived a most unhappy life. There are many other rich people, whose misery is much greater than that of those living with only enough money for the barest necessities of life. The essentials, therefore, of a happy life do not lie in money. Indeed, very many of them are things that money can never purchase. Good health is one of them and the one that we value least, until we are in danger of losing it. It is true that brave people who suffer from ill-health do surmount it and often find great happiness, but this needs great courage and all of them would admit that they would be happier with a healthy body and leading a normal life.
Like most of my fellowmen, I am a gregarious animal and therefore, love and human companionship are important factors in my idea of a happy life. Since a child, I have needed the love of my parents and the affection of my brothers and sisters. In a wider circle, the interests of my uncles and aunts and the companionship of my school friends have all contributed to my happiness. Now that I am older, I realize that I must find a loving girl to marry, who will share all my joys and sorrows, and who will provide me with a congenial home life as a refuge from the storms and stresses of the world outside. My childhood friends are being substituted for adult companions in college and in clubs, but I am still surrounded by a wealth of friendship and love, which to me are essential for happiness. I am now training to be a lawyer in our university. This subject has always interested me and since a child, my dream has been to become a solicitor and to return to my town to work and to help people there. Here again, it is essential to happiness to be trained to do an interesting, worthwhile job that absorbs all one’s working attention and provides an outlet for one’s abilities and energies. I like sport of all kinds, particularly basket-ball and swimming, and my idea of a happy life would include time and opportunity for these pursuits.
It would also include time to reading and for all my leisure activities and hobbies. Public service has always interested me, and so I would want to take some part in public life. What I actually do will, of course, depend on where I am living, but I shall certainly want to be an active member of my Residents’ Committee and my local church. My faith too is important to me and therefore, it is essential for happiness that I should be able to live in a country, where the people walk in freedom to practice their own faiths. Singapore today, is a living example to the world, of this. People here, of many diverse cultures live side by side in peace, each contributing to the culture of the rest. All are tolerated.
This is not so in every country of the world, and when freedom of speech and of action is taken away, as it regrettably can be, then all hope of happiness goes with it. It is said, and rightly so, that happiness is the most elusive and evasive thing of all, Indeed cynics have remarked that a man can only be truly happy when he is dead. The world would indeed be a miserable place if this were so, but fortunately, the majority of us find more happiness than unhappiness in our lives. The secret of happiness perhaps lies in wanting the right things first, in working hard, in giving more than in receiving, so that eventually, we are able to achieve it. |
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