Waiting

Do you feel like your life is sometimes all about waiting? Waiting for that someone, that text message, that phone call, that person to come home. Or for the government cheque to come in, that social worker to respond to your request. Rarely the wait is pleasant. Often it’s painful.

We’re not a city that likes to wait. The MTR comes every 3 minutes. Fast food shops serve your order before the flip of a webpage. Convenient stores station every street corner, satisfying every chocolate, soda, junk food whim every hour of the day. Instant noodles are a staple: 3 minute prep time.

Yet despite the efficiency we are also known to be a city of waiting. Waiting 10 hours for your turn at a public hospital, 10 years to get into public housing. Parents waiting days in line to get their toddlers into kindergarten. Waiting in futile for our Chief Executive to resign.

Lokshen3ace, Creative Commons

Lokshen3ace, Creative Commons

With the need to wait for certain things, money can buy time. If you’re rich you need not wait for public housing – buy your own mansion. You need not wait at the public hospital – opt for expensive, private, premium health care. You need not wait to get into a normal kindergarten – buy school bonds years in advance; your child is then guaranteed a spot while it’s still a forming foetus in the womb.

We’ve just been branded (again!) the freest economy in the world. People flock to do business here in Hong Kong because the government very much abides by the laissez faire principle. Business is good, yet this unchecked economic worshipping has its undesired consequences. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rules are rigged. The poor wait more.

With the haves and have-nots ever becoming so dichotomised, we see the rich becoming more powerful, while the poor scrape by. The poor wait for everything. Time is traded at a lower value for the poor than for the rich.

PUK1894page380rector_poorIf you’re rich you don’t think twice before hailing a taxi. If you’re poor you devise the cheapest route (but not the quickest) to get you there.

If you’re rich you can fly to America to get a kidney transplant. If you’re poor you’ll have to wait in line for one, often dying in the process. It isn’t fair.

Yet I like how it’s fairer when it comes to love. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. You still wait for that loved one’s phone call. You still wait for your kids to come home safe. Your heart still skips a beat when that crush of yours texts you back after an agonising few days. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. You still can wait for someone to take notice of you, to give you the attention you crave.

At least some things are equal.

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6 comments on “Waiting

  1. Very well written. Waiting is something we do every single day. It’s unavoidable, it’s unescapable, as the world doesn’t revolve around us. I have to agree with you money can “buy time” and help us “cut queue”. In that sense money is a means to an end. But unfortunately not for everyone.

    A lot of the time we wait because we think that the future or the next minute or hour or year holds much more joy than the present…which is true quite a number of times. The world would probably be a better place if we stopped focused on waiting and started enjoying what we have around us. I started the year out of work and am waiting for my next job to come along, whenever that may be. Truth be told, it’s a bit of an agonising wait given that between now and then I have to watch my finances carefully. But on the other hand, I do realise I’ve got a lot of time on my hands…which I’m using to do what I love. That makes waiting less painful 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • “A lot of the time we wait because we think that the future or the next minute or hour or year holds much more joy than the present”

      That is so true Mabel. Like not enjoying our time being alone, because we assume that we are better off when the [boyfriend/fill in person] is with us? Or women, for instance, feeling sad about not being in a relationship, because they predict that being in a relationship will bring so much more joy to life. I speak for myself. Looking back I wished I cherished the years I was alone and took more pride in that status, instead of letting others dictate what being a true woman meant (haha…singlehood was not celebrated). Living in the moment, cherishing the present. Counting what we have. Such important reminders, thank you.

      I get what you mean completely, that wait for the next thing. It’s wonderful to hear you’re making good use of time doing what you love (and are very good at!). JK Rowling’s first HP book came out from waiting for something too – every day, at the coffee shop – waiting for the next good thing to come along. All the while writing her novel. Perhaps during this time, your novel will be born.

      Rooting for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will admit that relationships are fulfilling and (romantic) love is a wonderful thing. At the end of the day, the choice is ours alone on whether to be happy or not, our own choice as to whether we mutter angry words while waiting or put up with it and think about something else to pass the time.

        I am sorry you didn’t enjoy singlehood too much…but I’m sure you had some crazy times back then. Don’t we all 😉 Counting what we have, and making the most of the pieces that we have is important too.

        “wait for the next thing”. So true, and I like how you phrase it. We all think that the next thing that comes along will be the next big thing. Funny thing is, life is unpredictable. I never knew the first HP book came out of waiting, I will need to look up how she ended up writing that book in depth. Thank you, Pixie, for the encouragement. I really hope I can start my first chapter soon – after finalising all the stories I want to put in in my book 🙂 Hope you’ve been well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “The choice is ours on whether to be happy or not” – yes! We have more power over our own happiness than we think. How we perceive a situation, what we make out of our circumstances.

          It wasn’t easy – singlehood is more acceptable in certain countries but mine isn’t one of them. I think Hong Kong is perhaps slightly behind India (sorry folks from India – from what I gather it seems that getting married prior to 25 is of utmost importance to single ladies) on this. But we also have some good role models to look up to, so I think this trend is reversing. It’s not uncommon to hear mean, misogynistic comments made to single ladies among friends or in the media (or even within my own family!), especially if the women are in a position of power and are perceived to be aggressive. The worse is if they’re perceived as unpretty – I get angry when it’s on this topic. Yet I’ve also internalised a lot of these values, since I grew up in such a culture. Perception matters. Perception and image is sometimes all there is. “She isn’t married”, “she won’t succeed because she isn’t pretty” – common responses. Terrible.

          On that first chapter of yours – do it! Know that I’ll be one very excited reader.

          Like

        • I have to agree with your sentiments here. It’s still so common for many single ladies over 25 or 30 to be seen as ‘leftovers’ in Asian cultures…I don’t know how some live with the mentality of waiting to get married, like that’s their main goal in life. But it does depend on how one is raised and their values. Truth be told, I think it’s quite sexist some facets of society views women this way.

          But you are right. This mentality is slowly reversing with more female role models around these days. Being perceived as unpretty/aggressive because you’re unmarried on the wrong side of twenty or in a position of (business) power is so unjust. But I think being seen as a failure because of these two factors is also equally terrible.

          I will keep you posted on my book 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • “I think it’s quite sexist some facets of society views women this way” – indeed – but I think we have the power to change the tide. Starting from myself – I have to stop thinking that way. I think despite me not wanting to have these values I subconsciously harbour them from years of living in this environment. So start small, with myself… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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