The Desire For What’s New, Shiny and Better Than Yours!

Recently the topic of Materialism, Happiness and who’s got a more expensive bag surfaced again, be it with friends or comments from friends. Louis Vuitton opened its first floating shop in Singapore too. I guess the bad economy didn’t dampen the spirit of More. So a story crept into my mind after lunch.

Danny, Freddy and Sandy were playmates at the childcare center. As all children are, they were always playing on the floor with their toys. As Sandy was the odd one out because she had a ponytail, she was always playing with her jigsaw puzzles while she watched the boys play with their toys. They met every afternoon after school and today, Danny had a surprise to show them!

Danny beamed as he took out a parcel from his school bag. It was a reward for doing well in the spelling bee. He gingerly tore a corner of the parcel to peek into it. Pictures of various toys popped into his mind as he guessed with glee. Gradually, as more and more of the wrapper came off, the possibilities in his mind got struck off one by one.

“A new LEGO firetruck set!” he exclaimed. Freddy and Sandy looked on excitedly too. He poured the pieces onto the floor and stared assembling them together. Freddy helped too as Sandy looked at the instruction manual. In no time at all, it was all done! Danny drove his firetruck all around the room, up the walls, and even behind the teacher’s desk. Freddy looked on with envy. Without a glance, he placed his favorite toy soldier away and ran after Danny. They played with Danny’s new fire truck together for the rest of the day.

The next day, Freddy brought a surprise for them to see too! He proudly said, “Last night Daddy took me out and I saw something really cool!” He ripped the parcel open and took out a brand new firetruck. “Look! Water comes out of the fire-hose and you can press this button to play cool sounds!” Danny and Sandy looked in awe as Freddy looked on at them with pride.

“Let’s play together! Your firetruck and mine!” Danny said excitedly. They raced their firetrucks around the room; They rescued the teacher’s desk from catching fire;and they rescued Sandy’s cat doll from the pot of plants too! It was a day full of adventure. As evening came, Danny was still playing excitedly with his firetruck while Freddy grew tired. He looked at Danny’s firetruck and still felt something missing.

Came the following day and instead of his new firetruck, Freddy brought a different parcel! He proudly said, “Last night Mummy took me out and I saw something really cool!” He ripped the parcel open and took out a brand new Airplane that could change into a robot and back again! Danny and Sandy looked in awe again as Freddy enjoyed the moment of admiration.

“Let’s play together! Your new transforming plane and my firetruck!” Danny said excitedly. They rescued a burning tower of books together; They fought in a war against aliens together; and they even started their own secret hero hideout together! Nothing beats a day full of fun. As evening came, Danny continued to think of new scenarios to play with while Freddy however started to lose interest. He looked at Danny’s little firetruck and at his shiny transforming plane and still felt something wasn’t right.

On the third day, Freddy brought in two parcels this time! He proudly said, “Last night Grandpa took me out and I saw the coolest ever toy!” He ripped both parcels and took out a brand new remote controlled car! Danny and Sandy looked at the car and cheered in delight. Freddy felt really satisfied with their reactions.

“Can we play together please!” screamed Danny in delight. Freddy looked at Danny’s firetruck and smiled smugly, “If you can keep up!” They raced their toys across the rooms and because that’s all the fun a remote controlled car could do, they just raced and raced and raced. Danny was having a lot of fun, and so was Freddy because Freddy was always winning. As evening slowly came, Freddy grew more and more upset. Danny however kept asking to race again and again and again.

Danny’s parents came to pick him up first and before he left, he begged Freddy to bring his car to compete with his Firetruck again the next day. Freddy agreed reluctantly. He turned to Sandy, “Why is Danny always so happy with that stupid firetruck? I’ve got a different toy every day and yet he’s still happier than I am!Even when he loses he’s still so happy!”

Sandy thought for a moment. She has after all observed the two boys for the past three days. “Well…I guess he’s happy because he’s happy with his firetruck,” she said as she smiled. She continued, “He just loves to have fun and I guess no matter what you place in his hands, so long as he can have fun with it, he’ll still be happy! Oops, my mum’s here bye!” she waved as she left.

Freddy felt her words knock the wind out of him. He realized that he didn’t need a new toy, he just needed to learn to have fun.

I wonder how many instances of our lives can this story apply to you. Comparison definitely makes people happier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that wanting more is bad or leads to unhappiness. I know some people who truly find happiness knowing that they have newer toys than others; I know some people who find joy comparing girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands/wives; I know some people who take pride comparing their jobs with others; I wanna know more people who are happy because they simply are.


3 responses to “The Desire For What’s New, Shiny and Better Than Yours!

  1. Singapore is very much a conformists’ society..that is why the famous
    word, KIASUSIM is so real here.
    I have raised my kids (24 & 20)NOT to compare with anybody..with anything.grades, toys, allowances, food, holidays etc etc..
    To me, it is like a addiction, you will NEVER stop comparing if you start..
    At home, words for them are ‘ i do not CARE what others have/ do, this is
    How & WHAT we have/ do here in this house..” ” We are proud of whatever little we have and be happy for whatever others have..””
    So far so good, they are quite grounded..All these should start from a young age..and never give in/conform when pressures sink in..
    20 years to make sure they are grounded sound long time, but thinking of
    ” i CAN depart this world anytime and i know they will be FINE” a much
    consolation reward..that as Mother, i CAN GO PEACEFULLY..
    i know of many aged parents (70s to 80s) still have to
    worry for their grown up ‘kids’..for whatever reasons..
    It takes COURAGE to be different. i am glad i did it.

    • Thanks for sharing pinkie! I’m glad some one agrees with this story in this time and age.I think competition is good but only if its for the right kind of progress 🙂

  2. I love this little story you told, unfortunately it epitomizes so much of what’s wrong with us- we want stuff. Bigger, better, shinier than the other guy but so it doesn’t always satisfy us.
    Same thing for adults, you can drive your 3 series happily until your ex-schoolmate pulls up with a 5, then you start convincing yourself it is time to change, maintenance costs are coming up and all that.

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