Saturday, August 06, 2005

Lifestyle or just life...



We live our lives a certain way and each of us cherish some things more than others. Some their homes, some health, some our friends, some their daily bread, some their intelligence, some their freedom and some their wealth....

I believe that most people invest in brick and mortar for stability that we all want at some point in our lives. Yes - home is sweet home if one is lucky to have one - being the main goal in people's lives or the main expense of one's livlihood.

I grew up in India where there is a huge difference in lifestyles or should I just say lives - depending on whether you belong to the the lucky haves or the unlucky have-nots. Well it is the same all the world over I guess. One man's shack maybe another man's palace etc. After all there is a roof of sorts.

Talking of the haves: I read about a mansion suitable for none less than a billionaire (as if they do not make it into news often enough). I was frankly quite revolted at a house going for £ 70 million according to the BBC.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/southern_counties/4126886.stm

Talking of the have-nots - the homeless inhabit streets all over the world. I know it does not make sense what I am trying to compare but for a homeless person a shop shed is enough shelter when the mega rich need ostentation of the above variety. I was so unimpressed reading that one house has five pools not WHY would one need FIVE pools?

Here in Paris, we have a teetotaler homeless man A in this neighbourhood who reads newspapers and is always cheerful and for whatever reason he has stolen our hearts and we give what we can each week to make sure that he gets by.

Because I grew up in India, I sadly and naively expected all those years ago - only to see homeless people in Asia and when I first saw them in the US, it was a huge shock to my system. What is a super power like the US of A doing with homeless people rather why are there so many homeless people in the US? I was told by most people when I asked that they had mental problems, or were social misfits (hate that term) etc. In the UK, there has been a government policy at play where mental institutions have been closed down rapidly and mentally unstable people are returned for "care in the community". Now that I find totally irresponsible bordering on criminal attitude on the government's part. If such true community care existed then that would indeed be quite an idea . The death of a social worker (and numerous assaults) makes me wonder how it is all going. I call this "the vicious cycle of perceptions"! As a result some of these people become homeless and really get no true help at all from the community (not to mention other aspects of substance abuse etc). This is MY take on part of the problem. Please point out if I am wrong. Here is an older report http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/229517.stm

I meant to write an upbeat piece on lifestyle - wanting to discuss one of my all time favourite architects Horta - but somehow this mansion news really annoyed and upset me today especially when we all know that life can be unfair and there is very little distribution of wealth on this planet.

Parislondres would love to hear your thoughts.

Comments:
It's a good thing to remember those around us who have so much less than we do. It's good to realize we live in a thin-skinned bubble that can be pricked at any time, leaving us the ones in chaos and disorder ... I don't know whether having compassion is any protection but it makes me feel as if I'm at least acknowledging "it could be me." And, for all we know, those poor individuals chose those lives to develop God-knows-what spiritually, and they may be so far ahead of us in that realm. Forgive my sermonette, N. It's my way of saying thank you for a post that made me feel and think. xoxoxo
 
Thank you for your thoughtful response dear M! As always - you do seem to have your heart in the right place.

xoxox
 
I checked out the house. It looks pretty hideous and way over the top. Did this Prince of Egypt really bowl?
He obviously had no taste at all.
There is a MTV show over in the USA called Cribs. It is like a hip Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It appears that everyone that has money has lost all taste. The houses and furnishings are beyond over the top. Who needs gold sinks? Why do cars have several televisions and play stations(video games) at each seat?
How can you drive and play a video game?

I would never tell someone how to spend their hard earned money(or easy money-LOL) but a gold sink,5 pools,bowling alleys and more than one tennis court is very wasteful and not a great investment.
It is not how I would spend money if I had any.

One last note: A heated driveway would be very useful in Ohio. You would never have to shovel snow ever again. Just flick on a switch and the snow just melts. Now that is a clever but expensive idea.
 
My dear friend Neela,

As a champinon of the fight for the mentally ill, more often than not those who are not incarcerated in America are left to fend for themselves on the streets, with nothing in his counry.

Thank you for the infomrative post.
I cannot find the house, but will imagine how it looks.

What I find staggering here in America, is how various spotstars earn such high amounts of money, while those who teach our children, especially in the field of mental health, make a pitance by comparision.

I could go on and on, but will try to end on a positive note.

Thank you for posting.
 
The problem increased in the 1980's when many metal health facilities were closed down and these individuals had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to.

Where I live there is an incredibly high number of those who are homeless as there are a lot of illegal immigrants here.

Years ago I was a regular volunteer at the local Women's Shelter where some homeless women would seek shelter when the other places were full - there is a time limit on how long one can stay in a shelter. There is a policy where nobody is turned away as long as they have room and abide by the rules.

We recently elected a new mayor in town and his wife who runs a catering company decided that her goal for this year is to create a sit down dinner for the homeless on Thanksgiving. While it's a nice thought, it would be even nicer if she took those funds and provided food and services for more than just one day.

After every major award show, the food served to the attendees at the after parties was often thrown away. It was suggested that they donate that food to shelters after the event was over so now the homeless can feast on the same food as multi-millionaires!

I don't understand we being the richest country in the world can have people without homes, food and health care!
 
Dear A - thank you for your thoughts - yes I agree that people who have too much money suddenly lose taste. I watch MTV Cribs too and find the same with VERY few exceptions.

I thought the heated driveway is cool but honestly thanks to global warming we have not seen much snow in the UK etc.

xoxo
 
Dear Barbara,

Thank you for your comments. I too find the disparity in income in professions gravely unfair but that shows the way our society is heading. If teachers cannot feed themselves who will teach? Sportsheros? That is one of the reasons I am very concerned about people bringing children into this rather screwed up world without much thought!

xoxo
 
Dear S! I was touched to know that you volunteered at a shelter. I worked for many years at Mother Teresa's orphanage in India. It was awful seeing what people go through.

About the wasting food bit - that is a huge angle I am upset about with most developed countries. When I am in London, I buy quick salad lunches from Pret a Manger - where they at the end of the day give everything to the homeless and that I believe is the way forward. I like to give my patronage to such socially conscious companies. Hope your Mayor does much more too.

xoxo
 
In the UK, we have the Care in the Community Scheme.
So many people get lost on the margins of society with this scheme.
It is up to you to remember who you are, and take your medication....if you forget to take your medication, and forget who you are......you are lost and on the streets.
For many poor souls, the govt removed the safety net.
 
Welcome Zeppelina and thanks for your comment - yes it is very sad indeed what the governments (in several countries it seems) have done!
 
That mansion got my goat, too. In New York you walk around town and see evidence everywhere of how the old robber barons gave back to the community; Carnegie Hall, the Frick, the Cloisters. These were not nice men, in fact some (most?) of them were horrifying. But they still had a sense that great wealth entailed some sort of social responsbility. This guy with his bowling alley and heated marble driveway ... well, I must look up the Gates Foundation before I am overcome with that "aux barricades!" kind of itch.
 
Hi F! Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes some of the super wealthy are doing something but I believe all of us can make some difference. I think Gates has done a fab job. I wonder what people like Madonna and other millionaire musicians do? Are they into helping others or is it all strictly for Live 8 etc. which is another method of marketing their goods.
 
Thanks for the look see at your blog. For me business acumen is the name of the game. So doing allowed me to collect what I have on display at http://www.rollingems.com. Have a good day.
 
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