Being More ‘Traditional’

S: A relative commented of another relative being very traditional, of waiting to first wear recently bought new clothes during Chinese new year (CNY) celebrations. I commented that I’m more ‘traditional’ – because I usually buy clothes only when old ones are torn, whether it’s a new year or not.

A: I guess it depends on which tradition you keep. Tradition – one word, various meanings.

S: I prefer the tradition of frugality and simplicity, of getting only what I need when needed. Struck me that the tradition of buying new clothes for CNY is similar to the spirit of excess consumerism during Christmas, when increasingly more consumers feel obliged to buy presents for gift exchanges between people who don’t really need anything extra. The lights of Christmas at Orchard are nice but are terrifying too – because they represent another level of consumerism – a huge waste of energy, that furthers the climate crisis. Lights that spur people to buy and buy more, that further consumes resources.

To be poor is not to be lacking in wealth and possessions,
but to be lacking in contentment,
to be missing compassion and wisdom.


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