Things that are not supposed to last

March 9, 2017

Some time back ago a village girl confided to me her deepest and innermost anxieties. The girl told me lately she has been feeling very blue. As these days none of the village boys seem to be particularly interested in teasing her any longer. The twenty five year kampung beauty even suspects, she may have lost her mojo…her arresting beauty.

Thereafter the girl held out a newspaper cutting – offering a range of beauty treatment. The advertisement depicted a before picture of what looked like a gorilla wearing bright red lipstick. The after picture looked like a canto pop actress.

The girl went on to press her point home in a determined tone – I must save all my money and go to city to regain back my beauty. Once I am beautiful. I will be happy again.

I told this girl in a fatherly tone. Do not fret. Calm down. As even if it happens to be true that beauty has left you. The belief that you are still beautiful can never ever leave you.

Invest in real things…don’t chase illusions, as it will only lead to grief and suffering.


‘Modern living imposes all sorts of pressures on people that can only lead to unnecessary suffering. Women in my opinion are particularly suspectible to these subtle forces – the pressure to look young forever is so overwhelmingly powerful in Singapore that often it is the leading cause of anxiety and grief that afflicts both young and old women.

For men the pressure is not so keen I imagine judging from the large numbers of humpbacks such as myself who don’t seem to have any trouble whatsoever finding beautiful girls.

But for women the pressure to look young forever is undeniably keen.

This I imagine must be particularly stressful for women in their mid twenties who experience this for the very first time in their lives. Suddenly they wake up one day only to discover they look slightly different. They can’t put their finger on what exactly it is – but the feeling of loss is certainly very real.

But the strangest thing is when one shares with these women the wisdom of the ages – beauty may well fade, but the belief you are beautiful is everlasting.

Something compelling stirs in them. And that I imagine can only be very natural in a plastic society like Singapore – where everyone tries their very best to put their best foot forward. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying looks is not important. It certainly is to some degree. Only when one begins to understands the deeper meaning of this Dao can one begin to cultivate a measure of peace and tranquility with the idea of losing something. As when a thing even such a beauty says bye bye and decides to leave, another thing will step right into that slot.

Granted that ‘new’ thing may not be anything resembling perky tits or even a tight gravity defying bum. But my point is, it is still a thing IF seen for what it really is and not what others say it is and most importantly appreciated certainly has the power to make one beautiful.

Granted again. Not perhaps in the same way. But in a different way…..but it’s still beautiful.

Let me give you an example. Wisdom. Is a thing that is very beautiful in a man. As it confers upon a man gravitas, even keeled temperament and self assurance that others can only feed and nourish on – as it has the capacity to motivate others around him to greater heights.

In the same way when a woman loses her beauty – other things such as sensitivity, appreciation and grace can be equally beautiful as well.

Just because some men don’t appreciate these ‘new’ things doesn’t necessarily mean they are unworthy to be considered beautiful….it just means these women are not mixing with men who know how to appreciate these nuanced aspect of a woman’s evolving nature in perhaps the same way some people will always prefer a stick of fish balls to truffles garnished with garlic.

It requires a certain sophistication and cultivation of the educated mind in a man to appreciate all these ‘new’ things in an evolving woman.

That is why if a man decides to leave a woman simply because she has lost her beauty – then it’s the world’s greatest gift to womanhood.

Only understand this reality. At every level of life some things will go….but something new will also come right in to fill that space.

It’s like one season bowing out and another coming in – they are not the same, they cannot be the same, but each has something different to offer that the other cannot….and that is what makes it beautiful.

Similarly at every level of life. A man and a woman will experience countless cycles of loss and even rebirths – do not fret about what has gone. That is the way of the world. Do not be clingy, not even if everyone seems to only want that which has departed – as if you don’t have the wisdom to see the ‘new’ things that come at each level of life. Then it’s all lost and you are likely to feel shortchanged. But if one is able to see these ‘new’ things that come at each level of life – then like the uniqueness of every season – one will come to the awareness of a new realisation…every season, even the bitter cold of winter has something very beautiful to offer.

Don’t fret about what has gone….as all things are impermanent in this world. That is the way of the world. Only learn to see what other things come in their wake….it is these ‘new’ things that will be the bedrock of your belief that you will always be beautiful.’

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