I just left Bangkok but I'll be back again in April if you're around.I'm the dude on right, with glasses. If anyone is in or around Bali hit me up, Singapore! - Bangkok, Taipei, Philippines, Malaysia.
Do you not think it a bit crass and distasteful to drive around so arrogantly in a Bentley in a city where children are forced to beg, some even having limbs hacked off?Driving this car on the streets of Delhi and especially my hometown Aligarh (very rural place) is a pain in the butt though. Most people don't actually even recognize a Bentley here but sure enough they know it is a 'foreign' car.. the huge tires and all. I pretty much get mobbed at traffic lights and such a lot of times. And have to deal with guys in 1000 cc Suzuki cars trying to follow me.. lol. I have actually parked this car like a boss directly in front of a shop in one of the poshest malls of New Delhi in this picture.
One of the benefits is though that cops are kind of lax with me, I can ride around in fully tinted windows, smoking marijuana (I don't see it as a drug!) while playing Pink Floyd or Led Zepellin or Elvis on full blast and pretty much do whatever I want. Another benefit is whenever I take this ride to one of the posher areas of Delhi, especially around malls and stuff, it attracts a lot of attention from young Indian chicks and such - they can spot that lovely B sign from miles away.
Couldn't you say the same thing about any city in the world? It is not a zero-sum game my friend. His driving a luxury car is in no way responsible for the children's horrible conditions. Shall we all just walk about in cardboard sandals in order to respect the sensitivities of the less fortunate? The contrast may seem greater in this instance. But who gets to define the degrees of differentiation, when it comes to appropriateness? Your argument is a non-starter.Do you not think it a bit crass and distasteful to drive around so arrogantly in a Bentley in a city where children are forced to beg, some even having limbs hacked off?
Do you not think it a bit crass and distasteful to drive around so arrogantly in a Bentley in a city where children are forced to beg, some even having limbs hacked off?
I didn't in any way say it was a zero sum game. And no, it certainly is not the same in any city in the world.Couldn't you say the same thing about any city in the world? It is not a zero-sum game my friend. His driving a luxury car is in no way responsible for the children's horrible conditions. Shall we all just walk about in cardboard sandals in order to respect the sensitivities of the less fortunate? The contrast may seem greater in this instance. But who gets to define the degrees of differentiation, when it comes to appropriateness? Your argument is a non-starter.
I'm not going to go into what I do and don't do for charity because it is irrelevant to my point.Actually, this is something that used to bother me at one point and I used to think a lot about it - I believe in giving and I have been helping out the people of my country ever since I started earning. I have so far done the following to help out the underprivileged:
- Since the past 4 years, I have donated roughly 500 blankets every winter - personally handing them out to underprivileged homeless people around my area along with my friends. Every month I send out a special food delivery (chicken etc, considered a 'delicacy' here) to 2 Government run schools mainly serving the underprivileged.
- Last year I installed flooring covering 12 classrooms, and tile flooring covering 2 toilets for a public school.
- I sponsor the education of 4 children of my maid, who is widowed and doesn't really have an income.
- Every year on Eid (the most important festival for Muslims) I gift clothes, sweets and toys to 2 homeless juvenile shelters with roughly 2,000 children in EACH one of them.
- I donate a set amount of cash to a vet clinic run by an NGO (non-governmental organization) twice every year.
- India is a place where you are constantly asked for favors and such from just about everyone once you taste some level of success - I not only help random strangers I meet on the streets (not just cash but other means as well) - I go beyond my capacity and help out my friends, friends of friends and numerous other people who I absolutely have no connection with. I have given out more 'loans' than I can remember - never to see them back, nor did I ever ask any one of them to return it.
That's all that I am able to do for now, and I hope to do even more in the future. I want to setup a world class school and a hospital in different parts of India which would be absolutely free for underprivileged students.
All in all I end up donating around 20% of my wealth (after 33% in taxes) every year.. while I'm only making $30,000 or so. There's people a lot richer than me and my family within India, such as Reliance's Ambani brothers or Tata's and Birlas etc - they are amongst the richest in the world. They do their bit too. People accuse them of living a luxurious life etc - but they are amongst the biggest givers of the nation, and they also indirectly help out the underprivileged by creating thousands of jobs and other opportunities. They also help build the nation by being among the highest tax payers of the country.
I have seen poverty up close - my family wasn't always rich, I have spent days in Saudi Arabia where I used to walk 15 kms to my school in 45 degrees Celsius when my dad was just a truck driver for CocaCola (in Dammam, Saudi Arabia back in 1990s). Eating out at KFC or Pizza Hut would be kind of a big thing for us back in the day. Then moving to India and having lived here for the past couple of years, I have seen poverty everywhere. I have done whatever I can in my capacity to help as many people as I know.
What kind of poverty have you seen living there in London, UK? What makes you qualified enough to accuse me of being crass and distasteful for driving around in a Bentley while donating 20% of my wealth every year? What percentage of your wealth do you donate year after year? Do you personally hand out blankets to 500 people every year in freezing cold?
Do you not think it is a bit crass and distasteful to eat out at McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut or at expensive restaurants when you could probably buy 10 meals for the underprivileged with that money instead. Do you not think it is a bit crass and distasteful to drive a Toyota or a Honda or any other car for that matter when it could probably pay for the education of 10 kids for the next 5 years in a country like India?
You see, these kind of accusations are flawed at their very core. There is no logic here. A person earning $30,000 an year and donating 20% of his wealth versus a person making $100,000 an year and donating 10% of his wealth - who do you think is the bigger giver? Maybe 10% of 100,000 is more than 20% of $30,000 - but I'd always say the guy donating 20% is the bigger giver. It takes a very big heart to donate 20% after paying 33% in taxes, year after year - at ANY income level.
I'm sorry to say but that is typical slowlane mentality - yes, there are lots of underprivileged people in the world - but if you're fortunate enough to have an income, ANY kind of income - you can go out there and do your bit and still enjoy luxury as and how you like it. Without hurting anybody. It is YOUR money. A good part of it goes back to the economy anyway, when you go out there and buy stuff. It is nobody's business to be calling you crass or distasteful for enjoying your wealth while sharing it too.
There is nothing "arrogant" about driving around in a nice car enjoying some of the best music ever made - Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin etc. Pray tell me what do you find arrogant about that? And I do actually have a real need for speed - I have to do around 200 kms 2 days a week from New Delhi to Aligarh because of work issues - and that is both ways. Sometimes in a single day. That is 400 kms in a single day for 2 days a week. Luckily most of that distance is covered by a world class expressway - and I can use my speed there. Time is money, and speed saves time.
Quoting Elvis Presley, one of the biggest givers ever in his lifetime:
"Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes."
This post brought back some old memories, so here's a pic of me with my dad at the CocaCola head office in Dammam where he worked. I'm around 4 years old in that picture. This is the same 4 year old who used to walk 15 kms everyday to his school. And take a look at my dad - dressed wonderfully even for a truck driver, isn't it?
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