The Apotheosis of Maya
Main| The Journals | The Wandering Minds

Sunday 15th; 2004 @ 0800hrs.
We have an invitation to a friend's place. This is the First time they ever invite us for breakfast. `Something we want to share with you" said Mr. XX when he called my husband. Mr. & Mrs. XX is a good friend of us. Like us they are Singaporean with a daughter but 2 yrs older than our daughter. We have known Mr. & Mrs. XX for a long time. They are wonderful couple and Mr. XX is I would say is a business minded person. He is always looking for new business opportunities. I know he have many other business investment joined ventured with other friends but this is the first time he invited us for a "something to share". I know it will be another one of his business opportunity he wants us to see. So I am rather curious about this business opportunity he is about to present to us. Why would he even think us as being a potential business partner? Both My husband and I don't fit into that category.

"Now tell me, have you ever planned your future?" Asked Mr. XX.

We were sitting in his study room. A whyne board, in front of us filled with graphs and numbers. A lot of dollars signs with charts. It makes me feel that I am really attending a business presentation [presented by a professional] and not just another Sunday morning breakfast get together.

"Well yes we do. We always think about our future," I answered.

He began talking about: Passive Salary, about financial freedom, about going into early retirement, about meetings our needs and most important about being free. No to be a slave to anyone. He then questioned: why do we go to work? Thereafter listed for us some of the possible reasons, such as follows:

1. we go to work to learn
2. We go to work to socialize
3. We go to work to earn money.
4. Etc….
So the question here is: You can still learn without going to work. You can still socialize without going to work and the other possible reasons are being downsized, but the main reason remains unchallenged: We go to work because we need the money.

What if we can get the money will we still go to work? Mr. XX asked. "What if you can get the money without going to work?" He continued.

"What are do we want to have when we retire? And he thereafter listed to us again the possibilities:
1. a comfortable house
2. A considerable sum so that we can buy the things we need without having second thoughts
3. To be able to travel around
4. To make sure that our daughter gets a good education.
5. Etc ……

You can achieve all these when you join this business opportunity that I am about to present to you" Mr. XX continues.

We just sat there and listen. Its not that we do not have any questions, but we want Mr. XX to continue his presentation uninterrupted. Listening after all is the toughest thing to do. I have my own opinion about work and money, but I decided to keep it to myself for a while.

The whole presentation lasted for about an hour. During the breakfast, he took out two tickets and placed it in front of us " there will be a seminar: On Business Opportunity [I can’t quite remember the name of the seminar] and we really like both of you to attend it tonight." I looked at the ticket and it’s not free. Cost about Rm25/- per person.

"I am sorry but we already have plans for the whole day. Our schedule today is already tight," remarked my husband.

Mr. XX persisted to know what our plans are.

"Well to visit a neighbor [A good friend of us] who just had an operation, we have prayers at the temple etc.” my husband responded.

"You can do all that some other time. The temple prayers you can always do next week…. This business opportunity is very important. If you miss this, the next one is in May. You must attend this seminar. The information given will blow your mind off [somehow this word sounds very familiar to me. Heard it too many time]"

Eventually we managed to decline the invitation to the seminar. Phew! I sighted in relief. The last thing I wanted to do is to spend the remainder of my Sunday in a business seminar. Who cares if it is at the nearby exclusive Resort Golf Club?

"Then why not join us this Tuesday for an Introductory Seminar. It’s at 8pm …”

Tuesday, 17th; 2004 @ 2000hrs.

We were slightly late because we were caught in the evening jam and when we got to the building couldn’t get a parking lot. By the time we got to the waiting area it’s about 2020hrs. Mr. XX was already there at the entrance of the seminar room waiting for us [Mrs. XX and me]. My husband couldn't make as he claim it is his turn to take care of our daughter. Suddenly it becomes his turn, how amazing husbands can be sometimes. He handed three tickets to the receptionist at the door. I managed to get a glance at it. The tickets are not free.

There are a lot of people in there. All the seats were taken. Several people [men as well as the women] all in black business suit standing at strategic point all looking very smart and professional. A well- dressed lady was in a middle of the presentation. The same presentation we heard on Sunday at Mr. & Mrs. XX house. For Malay, she speaks English well, I whispered to Mrs. X who was sitting next to me. "Oh! She is a psychiatrist," remarked Mrs. XX. "She gave up her job to do full time in this business"

I look in amazement. So how many other professionals are there who give up their jobs to do a full time in this business? I wondered.

Next Product Presentation. A cosmetic product supposedly one of the top products in the market inline with Lancôme, Shesido [apologized I am never good with cosmetic, so I can't really remember their names] etc. The presenter asked for a volunteer, nobody come forward. Any one she said; we like to have a new comer. Her eyes roam about the room. And then! How about that lady in red with the long black hair sitting over there. All eyes turn to look at me. Oh! My god! Why me? Anyway I survive this one. Phew! I just have to use my hand to try out and not my face.

Next the successful story. They showed us a video presentation of their previous business seminar. Looks very grand and was held at one of the five star hotels. They were showing all the successful business directs receiving their awards. The diamond award, the rubies award etc. The Diamonds Awards recipients come in with Car chauffeured into the main stage. How they even get the car in there fascinates me.

I watched the whole video presentation. I see a lot of happy faces. A lot of happiness. People clapping and jumping with joy. They were showing a big diamond sign. Somehow the whole scene reminds me of the Christian Healing Gatherings that they usually held at the stadium. Interesting don't you think?

Thereafter followed by another successful story, this time couples [how interesting, they encourage husband and wife to be actively involved in this business scheme] to come up the stage. More like a confession session to me. Why do they leave their professional job to pursue with this business opportunity? I listen to each and every one of them. Each have a different story to tell but all are telling me the same thing: They want to have financial freedom and not wanting to be others' slave. And I observe they always close their speech with "You should attend the coming seminar. We have a distinguish couple from USA who have really made it big. You can learn from them. "

Mr. XX introduced me to one of the Diamonds recipients. Supposedly a very successful employee of a multi national company, A CEO [about 50 ++] I was told, who left his job because he too don't want to be a slave to the company and have found his financial freedom. "So do you believe the figure" The ex CEO asked me. "Well the figures look impressive. That's about it" I remarked. He laughed and said "maybe we should make appointment and I will come to your house and talk to your husband and you together personally".

"Yes how wonderful, that will nice". I gave him one of my biggest grins. Its not always I have an ex CEO coming to my house for dinner. After all this are successful people. As they say, if you want to be successful, mixed with successful people, and you will be one of them one day.

"So what do you think?" asked Mr. XX during our drive back home.

"Not sure" I responded. I was feeling rather disturbed from what I have seen. "Have a lot of questions, maybe I will get the answers later on."

18th February, 0900hrs. [With a trusted friend over the chat lines]

"When I asked the couple who brought me there about my questions the husband seems very disturbed as if I have humiliated him. It surprises me of his reaction."

"Why did your questions disturb him so?"

"What I question about is this need to make more money. I feel they bank a lot on people's insecurity. They keep on mentioning about what if, what if. He mention first about house, and my responds to him is that is it possible that we might come to a stage that we might not need a house at all. Even a 3 room flat might be too big for us. So my rationale is our needs change over time. What we want now might not be what we really need in life later on. When I join nursing school my aim is that when I retire from nursing I want to retire as a Director of Nursing and I worked hard for it then I came to a situation that I have to make a choice between career and family. And I choose family because at that particular moment in my life, my needs have change, my goals have changed too and it is more directed toward: what is more important to me now. He was very upset with this statement. I was surprise with his reaction. So my big question is: What is enough?"

"Right -- the problem is that these financial cults don't want you to ask such questions because the answer is, nothing is enough. It is the apotheosis of Maya. Your desires constantly recede before you"

"I ask about the failures. What I am seeing is all success stories. About professionals making it big and retire early. So I am interested to know who are the failures and why do they drop out? The couple was very upset when I asked. The husband remarked: if I go to university and made it, why should I bother about those who didn't. I said, it bothers me. I need to know why they leave or why they fail, so that I will not make the same mistake"

And my next concern is: Isn't it frightening to see professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers leaving their profession to be a salesman?