Chinese New Year can be dreadful to some. Especially to those who get bombarded with nosey questions like “So which school are you studying at now?” or “Where are you working now?” And “When are you getting married?” or “When are you having kids?”
Rather than closing yourself off from relatives who ask those questions, have you ever pondered the motivation behind those questions?
Were they asking truly out of concern or was it out of comparison?
Charles & Keith “luxury” bag saga – when people compare for the wrong reasons
The viral saga prompted Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong to comment on it.
Mr Wong noted that comparisons can help drive healthy competition and a desire to learn and improve.
But they may also be motivated by the “wrong reasons” – namely, wanting to acquire status and social prestige, he said.
A brutal debate about brands that are considered to be “luxury brands” and what’s deemed “branded” was seen recently on social media.
Preference for “branded” spills to other areas
Take for example this commercial by Singtel titled “Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy.” It’s a true reflection of the unnecessary negative comparison.
Some parents deem certain schools as “branded” and prefer to send their children there.
In terms of work, people also prefer “branded” jobs seen to have higher status.
He said, “there’s no need to compare with others. The only comparison we need to make is an internal one – to focus on our own lives; to keep learning, improving and, ultimately, to be better versions of ourselves.”
Challenges faced by the workforce today
In his speech on Monday (16 January) at the Singapore Perspective Conference organized by the Institute of Public Policy Studies (IPS), he shared about the growing divergence in salaries between workers of different education.
One way to overcome the issue is to change our mindset and perceptions towards work.
This means recognizing skills and competencies rather than being overly focused on paper qualifications, he said.
Instead of comparing, everyone should appreciate and recognize one another for who they are, he feels, as everyone is “blessed with unique gifts and talents.”
So, to counter some invasive questions about your education or career this Chinese New Year, try hurling some of the quotes by Mr Wong.
Here’s how you can counter their questions:
Question: You still single ah?
Response: “There’s no need to compare with others. The only comparison we need to make is an internal one – to focus on our own lives.”
Question: Married so long… when you having kids?
Response: “Focus on our own lives; to keep learning, improving and, ultimately, to be better versions of ourselves.”
Question: Where you working at now ah? Got promotion a not?
Response: “Everyone should appreciate and recognize one another for who they are, he feels, as everyone is blessed with unique gifts and talents.”
Question: Wah you putting on weight ah?
Response: We are all “blessed with unique gifts and talents.” Mine just happen to be eating.