Not too long ago, my 4 year-old cousin celebrated his birthday. Days before his smashing birthday party, he ran up to his mother as she was busy purchasing groceries and said, “Mama, can I have that Ben10 figurine as my birthday present?” The adorable look on his face, together with his cheeky smile successfully melted his mother’s heart. That day, he went home gleefully with a new toy in his hand.
I, on the other hand, struggled hard to find the best present for him. After spending hours in a shopping complex hunting in vain for the gift, I finally decided to buy a Ben10 figurine for him, only find out later that he got the exact same toy just a few days ago.
Two weeks after that came my 10 year-old niece’s birthday. This time, I had learned. I asked her openly what she wanted as her birthday gift. She gave a good long thought before replying to me in her sweetest tone that she wished to have a Barbie Doll set. Now for once, I did know what to look for. However, there was also the dilemma of choosing the right one amid hundreds of Barbie Doll sets. What a bummer! Thankfully, my intuition proved to be right. She is reported sleeping with the Barbie Doll every night!
A fortnight later came my own birthday. This time, no one asked what I wanted as my birthday present. Instead, I was given two birthday bashes on the same day and both were only two hours apart. Deep down inside, however, the inner child in me cried and yearned for a present. Sadly, I received none.
As we age, our birthdays are no longer celebrated with hills of colorfully wrapped presents or cartoon cakes, but invites to dinner or lunch together. Sometimes, my silly self wishes to be showered with gifts just like my childhood time, before I came to a realization that I was already pampered and surrounded by the Earth’s most precious gift.
Perhaps as we grow older, our desires are more easily fulfilled. We are capable of purchasing our material wants with our income. In addition to this, we are much more mature and wise now. Who would want teddy bears or “Masak-Masak” toys? Or perhaps we really do not know what we want at all.
I dare say that many of us would have, at some point of our lives, wished that we were given expensive gifts on our birthday by our friends and family. Good examples would be Ps3, Xbox 360, iPhone, iPad, car, Coach handbag and so on. Among all these luxurious items, have you ever noticed that you have already received an imperceptible present? A present that is weightless but worth more than gold; a present that often comes unwrapped and most of the time, overlooked- their time.
Buying my father’s time
In the movie “I’m Not Stupid Too” directed by Jack Neo, Mr. Yeo told his son that people are willing to pay $500 for an hour of his time. Jerry, who wants his parents to come to his school concert, started saving money and eventually resorted to stealing. After he is caught, his furious father caned him, but calmed down when the boy explained that he wanted $500 to “buy” an hour of his father’s time.
Benjamin Franklin once said that time is money. Why did he say that?
This is because time is the most perishable procession of mankind. In this techno-savvy world, technology has sped up human work. Every second and every minute counts. For a stock broker, a second means losing a million or earning a billion. For a cancer patient, a minute past is a minute closer to death. For an SPM student, every hour brings them closer to SPM. There is not enough time and there never will be. Due to its irreplaceable value, various time management courses have been invented and organized, to help us better manage our endangered capital. Unfortunately, time will never be obedient and will forever be stubborn. No matter how much we ask, pray and beg for it to stop, it will still not budge or change it course, it will just move forward.
During the celebration, I had a serious stomach ache after too many tortilla chips. In addition to this, I was served spoiled tofu for my dinner and blew my birthday candles in the middle of Jusco’s food court under the “No Outside Food Allowed” sign. Suffice to say that the celebration was chaotic. Nonetheless, I wish to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to my friends and family members who were there for me on my birthday.
On my 19th birthday,
You gave me the biggest cheque I have ever received.
It was unwrapped but I have no complains.
For you gave me your greatest asset.
Your presence is already my present.
Image taken from here.
Manglish_lysia often wonders how she could wrap her time as a present!