Years ago, we were part of a group that decided to cook a sausage sizzle in the park on a Friday night and feed whoever might be in need.
It was an amazing experience and I learnt so many things, about myself and the world around me.
One thing has always stuck with me. I remember one of the other guys in the group expressing his consternation at what one of the people at the park had said. I can’t remember all the details but it ended with the man saying that we should be feeding them ‘because WE are the poor!”
I must admit, it surprised me too. A sense of entitlement that they should be helped was not something I expected, naively, I guess.
And it’s in contrast to my experience of the poor in Thailand.
The people I met in Thailand, who had far, far less than those people in the park on a Friday night, do not consider themselves poor. And, I suspect, would be quite insulted if it were implied.
We all have a different idea of what poor looks like, depending on our upbringing and what we get used to. And I think we all know, ‘poor’ here in our western societies is markedly different to a large percentage of the world.
And you know what struck me?
The people in the park are poor because they see themselves that way; victims, controlled by society and circumstance. They have a poor mentality that the people I met in Thailand don’t even entertain.
So, yes, they are right, they are the poor.
And the people I met in Thailand are the rich.