Thursday, April 3, 2014


By : Lisa Azelan

Shopping in Milan, fine dining in the best restaurants in Paris, or perhaps even get a taste of the world’s most expensive cupcake adorned with gold glitters and served on a covered Villari 24-karat gold empire cake stand in Dubai. 

Perhaps these would be some of the responses of many people when asked about 
“What is the good life?” 

We are so obsessed with living the lifestyle of the rich and the famous, blinded by the seemingly blissful lives of celebrities and business moguls we see on TV. But sadly many fail to realise that some people are so poor, that all they have is money. What is the true definition of a life well-lived? What is the answer to the great questions we ask in life ie what do we live for? What adds meaning to our lives?

Since the dawn of time, man has been known to seek comfort in a Greater Being. Anthropologists have uncovered the mysteries and tales of olden times and studied their behaviours and activities of any particular belonging era. It is interesting to note, that of all the eras and empires that has risen and fallen, one thing remained constant through it all; the presence of shrines or temples or proof that there has been religion or worship at that particular time. 

This shows that it is in the innate being of human to worship and seek solace in meditation and praying. Religion gives you comfort and a sense of purpose, redirecting your life for a greater cause and offer answers to the Great Perhaps. Many atheists or anti-theism movements would highly beg to differ, saying that there is no place for religion and God in this era of science and technology, and yet they still could not disprove nor prove the existence of God. The absence of proof is not proof of absence. As for a firm believer like myself, I would say that a life that has meaning is a life lived within a set of principles we subscribe and practice to ie religion.

      One of the many delights of life many would agree,would be music. Music gives you the sense of liberation and gives freedom to express and be creative. The unparalleled joy of getting together with a group of friends or maybe even strangers and music-making together gives a beautiful feeling of being lost, but not wanting to be found. 

Music is also believed to be integral and essential in psychotherapy and helps alleviate mood in depression and other mood disorders. A child that learns a musical instrument is also more likely to perform in school as music helps develop concentration and motivates a child to be goal-oriented. Music also promotes unity and a healthy way of bringing people together despite other ulterior differences. Truth is found in the words of Shakespeare in Twelfth Night, 1602, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

      No man is an island. No matter how recluse a person tries to be, he has to admit albeit begrudgingly, that no one can live and survive alone. It is in our nature to love and be loved. We seek companionship to drive away the loneliness that creeps and smothers us in the still of the night. Among the simple pleasures of life, would be friendship or a sense of camaraderie. Lucky is the person who has one or two good friends that he can run to in the middle of the night and cared for unconditionally compared to the trend of having so many friends especially on social networking sites but unfortunately enough all those are only fair-weather friends, gone at the first sight of trouble. 

      A friend can shape and define who you are as the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is recorded that a good friend and a bad friend is like a perfume seller and a blacksmith. The perfume seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you might breathe in the fumes of the furnace. [Bukhari, Muslim].

     On October 9 2012, the world was shocked into silence and later on retaliated with a furore so intense when 15-year-old MalalaYousafzai was shot in the head and neck at point-blank by the Talibans for promoting education for girls in her hometown Pakistan, where so many girls are deprived of education. Why did those Talibans felt they had the need to shoot Malala? Because education is a powerful thing. And it’s even sadder to note, in some parts of the world, privileged children fight to NOT go to school while some others, like Malala, are vulnerable to violence and detrimental living just for a chance to practice their rights to learn. 

      Knowledge gives meaning and power to life. A person’s life would be stagnant and empty if he or she does not read or gain new knowledge or skills to learn in life. Education shouldn’t be bounded to the limited perimeters of things that we learn in school or a formal setting, but it should be expanded to the intelligences or lessons we learn through our experiences in life. If people think that education is expensive and troublesome, just try ignorance.

      In a conclusion, life does not revolve around glamour or high-flying lifestyles that are blown to epic proportions. Rather, it’s about celebrating the little things in life that are simple, enlightening and should be well-worth celebrated. We need to stop defining happiness and success as ‘who gets the biggest payroll or makes the most money’ and start to redefine what’s really worth our time and energy. Yes, surely money gives leverage and acts as a tool to gain what we want in life, but that is just what it should be; a tool or a means, and not part of whom we really are. 

After all, money can only last so long, it’s our moral integrity and character that’ll bring us a long way.


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