Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What would you do with 100 million pounds?

I watched the movie "Flawless" today. I didn't know how the story was going to shape up. It was almost a mixture of suspense and thriller but in the end, it was a story with a moral lesson.

Given all the money you could possibly have, what would you do with it?

As the film asked in the end: Will you be a taker or a giver?

A story about the London Diamond Corporation, the sole buyer of diamonds in that era (60s), it was the best target to steal the world-craved diamonds. But it wasn't for money that the robbery was carried out ... it was to achieve freedom. I encourage everyone to watch it because at the end of it all ... what can we do with money? What should we do with money?

My mom told me that we should not invest in things but in people because when the money is gone, the things cannot love you back, it's the people that do. That was wise advice especially because I was considered a miser in my family - I was the modern-day Scrooge until a few years back. I would cry over giving money. But now, I just give and I use it with joy in my heart. Yes, I try to invest for the future but I am also living for the present. I try as much as I can to share that little that I have because I can't take my money with me. It's best to share it with others so that the joy is multiplied.

In one of the CFC teachings on financial stewardship, it reminds me that we are indeed stewards and not owners. And what better use to give your money than to help people.

I was touched by an officemate who I think is terribly misplaced in our work. I think she should be a development worker because I never see her so passionate as when I saw her last week handing out letters and pictures, asking for donations for the poor AIDS-stricken children of a hospital in South Africa. Day in and day out my colleague would complain about work but once she spoke about her South Africa and the children, she would melt and you could see that her passion lay with those children - with the orphans, with the children who were abused by their fathers, brothers, relatives - girls, especially, even as young as months old. It's a sickening thought but witch doctors perpetuate rape because it is believed that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS.

It was also very moving that our other colleagues did not economize but gave of themselves. My colleague was asking on behalf of the nurse that handled these children - they were asking for four TVs and plastic chairs to hold up babies after feeding so they wouldn't vomit because there weren't enough nurses to carry them.

My colleague was able to collect more than a thousand francs. It was enough to buy all the TVs and the chairs. I can just imagine the look on the children's faces, the look on the nurses' face, the world is not devoid of love. We can all give love and we can all give the tangible support of money.

In Flawless, when Laura Quinn, a senior negotiator was passed over for promotion after 15 years of service because she was a woman, she decided to quit. She left her ambition to become managing director and she lived life. Burdened by the ranson given for the diamonds, she soon found life outside of herself, she donated to all the causes that she could find and she lived her life in service and in giving to others.

Although the message was crammed in the end, it was the catharsis that I was hoping for. Succinct and salient! Direct to the point - in this life, will you be a giver or a taker?

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