Rich in Love
Cancer in a row - an old classmate contracted third stage lung cancer in August 2006, a good friend contracted first stage breast cancer in January 2007 and shortly after, another good friend contracted advanced stage lymphoma cancer in April 2007.
Will I be the next victim? It prompted me to review my insurance coverage in order to ensure that I have adequate hospitalization coverage and money to pay for complementary treatments in the battle against cancer.
I recalled what my mentor told me - to learn as much as I can from him while he is still alive. He reckons that he has ten more years to go before reaching the age of 84 years old. I took his cue and decided to read about the lives of centenarians.
After reading the book - "Healthy at 100" by John Robbins, the pages on My Rocky Road left a deep impression on me.
"My father had achieved the American dream, but I was called forth by a different longing. He thought I was being hopelessly idealistic, and he warned me sternly that idealists end up poor and miserable. But I did not feel drawn to the life he wanted me to follow. Whether it was hopelessly idealistic or not, I wanted to be part of the effort to bring about a more compassionate and healthy world. I felt called to take a stand for a thriving, just and sustainable way of life for all."
"Under the circumstances, I decided that the most courageous and life-affirming thing to do was to walk away from the family business and to leave behind all connection to my family's fortune. This felt like the most honest and liberating choice I could make. It was a choice for my integrity."
John Robbins understood what Thoreau meant by, 'I make myself rich by making my wants few.' He celebrated simplicity.
John Robbins taught yoga and meditation classes to raise his own family. In the later years, several of his books about healing ourselves and healing our world became bestsellers - giving his family some measure of financial security.
Who is John Robbins? Perhaps, you have already heard of him.
He is the son and nephew of Baskin-Robbins' founders, Irv Robbins and Burt Baskin. He did not want to run the ice cream empire as he sees the connection between ice cream and disease. His uncle, Burt died of a heart attack at the age of 51 years old. His dad, Irv developed diabetes and high blood pressure. Eventually, Irv gave up eating ice cream and greatly decreased his intake of meat to improve his health.
Indeed, John Robbins is an extraordinary person. I reckon it is hard for any of the rich in Singapore to share his mentality and wisdom. It took a long while before John's parents made the following remarks :
John's father : "I see that time has proved you were right to follow your own star."
John's mother : "You may not be rich in material things, but it's obvious that you are rich in love." She took a deep breath - "And in the long run, that is actually more important."
My Thoughts :
I ponder over the call for corporate social responsibility(CSR) in Singapore. Corporations are encouraged to be 'socially responsible' in various manners. To be truly effective, some businesses have to be banned in order to promote healthier lifestyles. A healthy nation will enjoy cost-savings in medical care. Unfortunately, the ban of such health-wrecking businesses will affect the balanced scorecard of the economy.
Business entrepreneurs having the same mentality as John Robbins - to be part of the effort to bring about a more compassionate and healthy world, are 'rare gems'.
In an interview, a member of parliament(MP) reckoned a 'socially responsible' corporation will receive stronger patronage from the consumers.
Logically, consumers should be discouraged to buy products that are detrimental to the humans' health and living environment irregardless of the philanthropic acts of the corporations.
In conclusion, I reckon the push for corporate social responsibility is merely a call for philanthropic acts. In 2005, Bhutan became the first nation in the world to impose a national ban on the sale of tobacco and on smoking in public places. Will this measure be taken in Singapore as well?
Books by John Robbins
Diet for a New America : How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth
Reclaiming Our Health : Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Source of True Healing
The Food Revolution : How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World
May All Be Fed : Diet for a New World
The Awakened Heart : Meditation on Finding Harmony in a Changing World (with Ann Mortifee)
Healthy at 100 : How to Extend Your Life and Stay Fit!
Posted on 7 May 2007
Update on 29 July 2008 : Out of curiousity, I checked my life expectancy at www.livingto100.com.