Future Planners

I had an interesting visitor the other day. He did not make an appointment but since I had a bit of time in between my meetings and my work, I took the time to meet this guy. He was a Chinese man. I asked him why he wanted to see me.

He told me this story about him who will be retiring very soon but he does not have anywhere to go. Currently he is staying in his company's quarters but he has been told to move out as soon as he retires. He has three children, the eldest daughter had just started work, the other daughter and son is still schooling. His wife also worked. He said that he had been suffering from depression and brought along medical reports to prove it. He was depressed as he had no idea what he can do when he retires. He does not have any land and cannot build any house. He is a permanent resident and therefore does not qualify for the housing schemes. He asked for my help.

I looked at this poor man in front of me and this guy obviously expects me to provide a miracle. I felt like shaking him and yelling at him - what's wrong with you? You had 55 years to plan your life! How dare you have a family when you can't provide for them! What were you thinking? Expect the government to provide for you?! But that would not have helped. He already knew it. The helplessness and the sense of foreboding and doom.

He does not qualify for housing under the citizens' housing schemes. Even if he did, he would not automaticaly get a house. It would depend on which year was his waiting list. We have a number of charities but mostly catered towards the rakyats. Some do help cases like him but not to the extent of providing a house. The most we can help would be to provide him with a small plot of land for him to build a house. But even this is dependent on a number of factors and whether he can actually afford to build one.

There are a number of Bruneieans like him out there. Some I have met. Some are lucky to be born to the right race and to the right parents and hence qualify for all sort of things. But regardless of that, there are Bruneians out there, living from month to month, wondering whether their pay will stretch to the end of the month. Ironically, among these would be people with nice big houses, nice big cars, nice mobile phones, nice everything except for a nice wallet. They can't be poor not by any world standards. The biggest error they have made in their entire life is that they forgot to plan for the future.


Al-Qadr said…
Sorry to barge in into your blogospace again and again, BRo (I'm just like that poor Chinaman who simply wheeze in and out like nobody's business... heheheh:).

I can see a golden opportunity for Takaful (TAIB, BIBD, what have you) to go all out in their marketing drive for potential clients like that guy to subscribe to their financial planning products. I believe only AIA (under now-shaky AIG in the US) is aggressively marketing theirs in Brunei. HSBC and Baiduri are in fact complementing such services.

My point is Islamic financial institutions should grab these opportunities. Hire local agents and train them to become real professional financial planners. This is one field where the unemployed, particularly youths, can be tapped into the ready job market. Pay them basic minimum wage but award them with big fat performance bonus at year's end!

With the sincere intention (Niat Lillahi Taala) to help simple folks like me to plan my finance until retirement age or old age, such professionally-trained financial planners could reap spiritual rewards (Pahala), too.

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