What is the first thing that come to our mind when it comes to Hari Raya?
Is it the sound and sight of firecrackers?
Or is it the green package that the youngsters get from the elders?
Or is it the cakes and the new attires which we bought especially for Raya?
Or is it the opportune time when we can check out and make our move to the person whom we have admired for so long? (This is also a hint for anyone who haven’t figure that one out yet!)
Or is it the open houses where we can eat homemade cooking of our friends, relatives and colleagues?
Or is it the morning Hari Raya Prayer and subsequently the greetings that we make to our elders, family and friends?
Or is the old fashion tradition where we all ask for forgiveness to each other and foster closer relationship especially with people whom we have not met for a very long time?
I believe everyone has a different version of Raya and it may all relate to the stages of life cycle that we all go through. It is difficult to say that everyone have to celebrate this and that way. I guessed that makes us different and special in our own way. Simply put, everyone has their way of celebrating their joy days.
Either way you put it, we all have to admit that Raya is the month where we had to spend extra more than we normally do. It is not during the Raya itself that we spend the dollars but it is the preparation that led to it. Raya is the month when we enjoy the spending. So if I may rephrase, we spend more in Ramadhan, than any other month of the year for the preparation of the month of Raya.
But is this what our religion wants us to? To spend our money and burden ourselves with spending which we can’t afford and end up with debts? Obviously not. So why are we still spending? I believe there is no direct single answer or factor that contributes to the spending habit. Perhaps the modern society of today has evolved to a level where it is a norm for all of use to spend and turn the fundamental idea of spending as a necessity.
For example, imagine if we don’t spend extra for the drink and food for our guests, I can’t imagine how that would turn out (don’t mean to offend anyone, since it is possible this may occur, it is just for the purpose of my argument). We may have to admit that at certain level it can be difficult not to spend. Spending is not necessarily bad for the society but as long as you can afford it and we keep in mind our own limit.
In the US, consumer spending and sentiments are two of the determinant factors that drive the U.S. economy which in turn drive the global economy. As a matter of fact, there can only be economic growth when there is spending by either the institutions or the consumers. With growth, come job opportunities but if uncontrolled and unchecked may also lead to inflation, interest rate rises etc. The ripple effect is endless. Things can turn bad if it is out of control.
So it is down to us, as social responsible citizen, we can set an example to the others, we should make sure that we spend wisely to a level we all think we can afford. But at the same time, we should also bear in mind that when we spend our extra cash stash in the bank, we are also helping our own economy and our own people.
[Today, our guest blogger, Kamal Muhammad used his experience as an Investment Manager by talking about the need to watch what we can spend and the effect on the economy.] Photo credit: www.tourismbrunei.com