Money, oh, money…
Fifteen years ago, when I was just a little kid, my mother gave me money for about Rp. 500,- to buy a Rinso in a small shop next to our house. (Rinso is a detergent used for cleaning clothes in water). At the time, I bought only one Rinso. When I came back to my house and gave the Rinso to my mother, she said, “Thanks”. So, that would be the starting moment for me to understand what money is – as a kid. Money is used for daily needs.
When I grew younger as a teenager, I went to a senior high school in Padang city, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The school was in SMU Negeri 2 Padang. Unfortunately, my father, who was and is working as a gardener, had less money to buy all I needed to go to school. Therefore, I had to study seriously in the school in order to get a scholarship so that my father and mother would not have big burden to pay my school fee. One year after I did my best at school, I got the scholarship. The teacher said, “Congratulation! You’ve got this scholarship! From now on, keep your study improving, okay?”. Yeah, I still remember that time. I got the scholarship in SMU Negeri 2 Padang until I could finish the high school well. This was the time when I had understood about money – as a teenager. Money is used for positive purposes.
In 2003 until 2007, I went to a university, which was famously known as Andalas University. I studied English language and literature in the university. In that year, fortunately, I got scholarship again. At the time, I knew that “if you got scholarship, you got money. If you got money, use it wisely”. During the time of my study in the department, I had to fulfil many things which I needed to support myself for my study. If I relied on my father’s salary – because my mother did not work, I would never be able to end the study well as expected. Anytime when friends wanted me to treat them, I had to say, “I’m sorry. I just could…” In seconds, they turned their back and left me sighing. In that condition, especially where I had to save all money I had for my study, I had got achievement as the Best Student of Andalas University. I got quiet a lot from this. However, the appreciation was really great, but, I wish I could get the first position because I wanted to have a notebook for typing my thesis. I just did things in the proper ways. I did assignments, went home early, and read some books. I joined some organization but ended with colourful endings. In this case, I learnt about money – as an undergraduate. Money is used to pay for your daily needs, especially your needs for education.
Interestingly, in the same time, I had another funny moment with friends, too. Since I knew that I was from poor family, that means we only could give ourselves common needs; therefore, I always remembered telling my friends that if I got scholarship or won from a competition, I would not be able to treat them like in a big club. I really realized that soon after treating them, I needed the money for other purposes. Then, in a very sad day, I had to loose a little of my money to help my mother bought an iron and some plates for our kitchen. And, I bought those things for my monther. In the following day, I had to borrow my friend’s money only for Rp. 10.000,- (in dollar means $ 10,-). They lent me some. On a Saturday night, I went out for a party in my neighbour. I only wore simple dress and casual since I did not really concern on style or performances. When I arrived there, some people stared at me, others saw me in such a bad eyes, and the rest ignored me as if I was not there. I made myself brave enough to enter the pool party. Someone, a boy, came to me and I still remembered his words, “Wow, smart student could not have great dress to intermingle, huh? You’re just a nerd. A nerd is a nerd!”. The other boys said, “Yeah, his friends are the books! Haha….! I bet your house is in the library!”. The worst thing was some girls said, “You are handsome, but, if you have no great outfit, you are just not better than them”. That day, my feeling was really torn apart because of money and “good-looking”.
Days and days passed. Since that moment, I had forgotten about it. A few months later, I went to Bandung with my father to visit my grandmother in Cipanas, Garut. We had some money to go to Bandung. I bought some dresses which I thought that they would be fit with me. The price was not really expensive and, of course, not in a very famous brand. All those things were made in Indonesia. When I came to Padang and came into one of friend’s birthday party, my friends said, “wow, you look great!”. What made me surprised was the people who said this were the people who said I was bad-looking before. In this way, I learn about money – as a young man. Money is used to show off your “social status” in the society. If you are poor, you should tun around. If you are rich, your pocket speaks. This is absolutely silly for me. (Until now!)
Now, after all things I have come through and seen lots of things which are related to money, I make one last conclusion. Although money is just money, but, in some condition, having lots of money can be a great way to realize great dreams, especially positive and good dreams for everyone. Money can be used to get what we want. Money is used for trading and business transaction. However, all I cannot understand is that how proud someone with his or her money and how pity someone is if he or she does not have lots of money (I knew pretty much how it felt when we were none, poor, marginalized, and unseen by the society). We have been separated our life into two things in almost everything. In this case, the two things are rich and poor. Then, in this condition, I just do not understand why some people do cruel things just for money. For example, murdering, seducing, raping, killing, robbing, and many other negative things just for money. People are in need of foods and good shelter out there. All they need is money? So, what makes all these things worse? Is it money? We can create our own way of life, and, in turn, that way will kill us all. As a young man now, all I can learn is, having lots of money is good as long as we can use for positive purposes to reach better and proper life together, now and forever, especially for all kids and all people whom we love.
Your money will mean everything when you give it to the people in need – even just ‘a little’ (Syayid, 2011)