Wednesday, December 26, 2007

St Stephan's Day aka Boxing Day

It's St Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas - the day that celebrates the first Christian Martyr. Stephan was what they would call an unfortunate Sod, a man who was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Poor bugger was stonned to death for his faith and unlike Paul who only became a Christian much later in life, nobody even remembers the day that was named after him.

Poor Stephan. How many of us have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Timing and place are everything. Hans Hofer, he of the Appa Guide Books and one of my early mentors, once said that the one thing that NO BUSINESS SCHOOL teaches is - CHANCE. Sometimes business is all about being at the right place at the right time and recognising that you are where you are and doing everything to grab hold of it. The flip side of that being you are in the wrong place at thew wrong time.

Stephan did the honourable thing and became a martyr. It was a risky - in his case it paid off - but think of the number of people who have lost their lives for wierd and wonderful causes that have ended up nowhere - think of the Jihadist and American troops in Iraq - each side probably thinks they've got righteousness on their side and yet each death only leads to more deaths.

Anyway, dying is a vastly overrated experience - even if living in places like Singapore is becomming so expensive that life seems no longer worth living. Had the shock of my life the other day when I took a cab and ended up paying $7 in surcharges. I've reached a stage in my life where I'd rather take the scenic rout on cabs - better to give the extra money to the cab driver than to cover the government linked company's inefficiencies (ok, that's not fair - its probably efficiencies to make money beyond their core busiess.)

But I digress. Yes, I may be a little cynical about the way life is turning out but life is ultimately still good in its own particular way. Here in Singapore, it seems that the poor are obliged to hemorage money to pay for the well to do - but life is on the whole good. Infrastructure in many ways is first rate, the city is safe, clean and green - and ultimately what else could you want in life.

So, no, don't become a martyr unless you are convinced that what you're dying for is worth it. Instead, look at what you can do to make things right when the time and situation allow for it.

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