Words by: Ashmitaa Thiruselvam
Cardi B once said, “I don’t dance now, I make money moves”. Well in my case, only half of that statement is true. I don’t dance — in other words, strip — for money because one, I’m just way too insecure for that and two, my Asian parents would straight up disown me. As for the second statement, I do make some money but I quite envy Ms Cardi. Money naturally falls into her bank account, must be nice. But enough about Cardi B — in the most humble way possible, let’s talk about me.
“Money can’t buy happiness,” some might say, but it does for me right now! I like to think that’s mainly because I’m still young and ambitious with a (hopefully) bright future ahead of me. Up until the age of 19, I relied on my parents to provide me with pocket money for every outing. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m very privileged. Now before you ask me, why didn’t I just get a job at 16? I have Asian parents which means they wanted me to focus on my studies all throughout school and not be preoccupied or distracted with a part-time job. Kind of a mistake though – no one wants to hire an inexperienced, expensive 18-year-old! I’m thankful for the financial support that my parents have given me but ever since I started earning my own money, I have found small ways to fend for myself, like paying for my own dance fees. Doing things like that has honestly helped me grasp the value of money, a thing that I never fully understood in the past.
Ever since I was young, my parents taught us to not be spendthrifts and instead only spend money on what’s necessary. I would get frustrated whenever my parents said no to something that I wanted, because I thought that they were being way too frugal. But ever since I got a job, it turns out I’ve also become quite frugal. Occasionally, I’ll treat myself to a pricey present — because after all, money is made to be spent. Although being told ‘no’ by my parents was the worst news of my life as a kid, now that I think about it, this really helped me understand that in life you can’t get everything. It’s always easy to spend money when it’s not yours, but I’m proud to say that I didn’t abuse this system.
Money has influenced my relationships with others, for sure. Maybe it’s in my Singaporean blood to find quality yet cheaper options for anything, but some of my friends don’t really see it the way I do. Even though they don’t say it, I feel like they get frustrated when I suggest a cheaper alternative because their recommendations were way beyond my budget. But like, hello? I’m not paying $30 on a basic burger and chips. Of course, I don’t do this all the time; I do love to splurge on a night out, but at the same time I want to be sensible with my spending habits so that I don’t regret it later.
Despite being single as hell, I like to blow my own trumpet and say that I am a low-maintenance person. For real, it doesn’t take a lot to impress me. Yes, a Louis Vuitton handbag would be nice to receive, but I’d be more concerned about why they spent that much money on me. Call me ungrateful, whatever, but am I wrong?
I’ve always thought that since I don’t fall into the typical Asian kid stereotype of studying medicine or law, I wouldn’t be able to financially satisfy myself. Fears about not getting my dream job with a stable income, a nice house and nice car fogs my mind daily. Looking around and seeing people my age already owning their own house, getting married, and even having children makes me feel lost and honestly, kind of useless. It just feels as though they have their life together while I’m just here lurking with no real progression. My parents have worked hard to build this comfortable life for me, and it makes me hope that I’ll be able to do the same when I have a family of my own.