I cannot imagine...
Like long time ago when I was talking with my ex-colleagues and they ask me how I can survive so long without a job.
Then I say, well, I don't go far overseas, I don't have a domestic helper, I don't have a car/big car, I don't have a big house, I don't reno much of my house, no luxury bags, items, etc etc...
And the comment I usually get is... that they would not live that way.
So that's how it usually ends.
They aren't willing to give up their material stuff.
I'm willing to do certain things to get what I want...
I reflect upon things a lot. So when I get negative comments, I try to get some positive return from it.
I think about it. What if I'm wrong? Why would someone say something like that... etc...
Then I think about it...
3 months ago... I could not imagine dumpster diving. Once again. I say, I don't get much stuff from dumpster diving. I get free stuff from other people within the community as well.
But after reflecting. I'm starting to understand. Cos... what is normal for me now. Cos I've been through the experience... is still ridiculously insane for other people...
Come on!!! Where got people willingly jump dumpsters for fun one. Since young, we have learnt that only the poor and uneducated would search dumpsters and become cleaners.
ERSG must be desperate. He must be poor. Why would he be doing such a thing. He needs to get a job if he needed stuff so desperately.
Even 3 months ago, I myself could not imagine myself doing it. It must be smelly, I thought to myself, slimy, dirty, why would anyone do that?
But after I tried, it's not any of that.
I'm fussy. Some of the dumpster divers in the community open EVERY plastic bag.
For me, I pick and choose. If the dumpster is too overloaded or stinks, I just move on to the next one.
Many times, the items are just left on the floor where I just pick them up.
At other times, I see the person throwing away bags of stuff and I just take it from their hands, and they even thank me for taking the stuff, cos my actions will put the items to better use.
But I've come to the realization that... I'm the one who has changed. I've become more abnormal.
It's like garlic... I totally cannot eat raw garlic.
So when I see people who can eat garlic, I think... why would anyone want to eat raw garlic.
Cos in my own mind, raw garlic is inedible. The mind just rejects the idea of that action.
Or like when some people reject the idea of eating bugs. Cos... to them it's not normal. The person must be really hungry or desperate before he is willing to eat bugs.
Similarly, all this mental conditioning from our youth, that only the poor, dirty, uneducated would look through dumpsters for stuff, makes many people think that there is NO WAY anyone would willingly do it for fun. So there MUST be something wrong with anyone who does it. The person doing it MUST be desperate.
Sometime ago... there was this article.
Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin commented that some old folks collect cardboard as a form of exercise and pocket money.
And many keyboard warriors slammed him for his comments saying that he was out of touch.
Cos, in their minds, no one in the right frame of mind would collect cardboard for fun. They wouldn't do it, so they assume that other people don't do it as well. So the minister MUST be wrong.
Many of these keyboard warriors have never been on the streets or talked to cardboard collectors.
I myself haven't.
I'm not here to say whether the statement is right or wrong.
But rather... just consider it. How do you know?
1. You believe the minister for his words.
2. You ask the cardboard collector.
If you yourself believe that no one will collect cardboard for fun without verifying it, then you are living in your own mind without evidence. And even worse... when you ask the cardboard collector and the cardboard collector tells you he/she is doing it for fun, you might even reject the answer and conclude that the person is lying... cos you want to keep your mental framework intact.
(I'm not saying ALL cardboard collectors do it for fun. Some might, others might not.)
But this is normal behaviour. Humans benchmark what is normal relative to themselves.
If they don't like something, or their mental framework doesn't accept something, they assume that everyone shouldn't like something.
Someone who eats bugs might think that dumpster diving is disgusting, or vice versa.
So it's really interesting how our own minds tell us what is normal or not, not to mention that many of these mental frameworks are built up in our youth and what our parents tell us.
So I should probably thank folks who leave negative comments.
Cos they keep me grounded. They give me topics to write about cos they make me ask myself... WHY?
Why would someone comment as such? What was going through their minds when they left those comments?
And I also realize that these comments make me think about where I am as compared to what is normal. Cos my new normal is apparently very far away from the normal normal.
It's just that I don't know it, cos I'm looking at my life from my own eyes.
Similarly, all of us are doing that as well... looking at life through our own eyes. And we so quickly assume stuff based on our mental frameworks which were built long ago.
And we quickly conclude. Dumpster diver, searching through trash, must be uneducated, poor, desperate.
He drives a Mercedes, must be rich, likely living in a condo, doing well in life, etc etc...
Which bring us back to the usual... How do you know your neighbour isn't in debt?
How do you know the karang guni isn't driving a Mercedes?
How do you know the dumpster diver isn't a millionaire? (There is at least 1 that I know of. It's not me.)
In conclusion, it's very interesting how our mental frameworks affect how we think. What we deem as successful, who we think is a failure, what is rich, what is minimalist, what is considered retired, etc...
But in the end... it's all in your mind.
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