RM112,000 pocket money or a flight ticket? Flight ticket please.

It’s a privilege when kids have parents who are very rich. When I was in Bristol, UK for my degree, I got to know a few students from Hong Kong. One female and one guy. Both very nice people and have no arrogance whatsoever to Malaysians. At the time, the advice was for all students to carry with them GBP5,000 for one year living expenses. The exchange rate then was around GBP1 to RM7.50 (final quarter of 1998).

So we had a few Hong Kong friends. One day, during one one the conversations, the lady said to the guy. I have nearly ran out of my pocket money for the month. The guy replied, ‘me too. I really wonder how could we survive with just GBP2,500 per month.’ My wife (girl-friend then) smiled to me and I smiled back. How could we reveal that we were surviving with GBP500 per month? (roughly RM2,626 today) Okay, not everyone’s that rich yeah. We have a more normal Hong Kong classmate who told us that she saves a lot because it’s a virtue. Coming back to the present day, wealthy people could be from Hong Kong or it could be from Shanghai too.

Article in thestar.com.my Jeff Gong, a lawyer in Shanghai, asked his daughter, a high school student in Wisconsin, if she wanted 180,000 yuan (RM112,753) as pocket money or a ticket on a private flight home. He said, “My daughter begged me to get her back home … She said ‘No papa, I don’t want the money, I want to go home.” The flight via private jets may take up to 60-hour with multiple transit hops.

US infections for COVID-19 is topping 50,000 while in China, it’s fallen to zero. The window for chartered flights are also closing fast. Beijing has banned all chartered flights from overseas and Shanghai is expected to follow suit soon. Hong Kong and Macau have blocked transit flights. Glenn Philips, a PR and advertising manager at Air Charter Service said, “We have arranged a number of private jets travelling from the US to China repatriating Chinese nationals with routes including New York and Boston to Shanghai, San Jose to Hong Kong and Los Angeles to Guangzhou.” Please do read the full Article in thestar.com.my

It’s a scary fact. The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S is increasing so rapidly that it has just exceeded Italy’s as at 11:56pm (26th March 2020) Latest numbers here. (click) Having wealth is important but many are worried with their health at the moment. Never mind that the death rate from COVID-19, even in the US is still just a very small percentage point. What matters more would be the emotional fear of reading the news everywhere…

Hopefully, everyone gets home safely. I could almost feel the feeling of Malaysians who were stranded in Iran or India and finally touched down in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. When it really matters, home is usually better. It’s familiar and it’s where we could get support even if not from family members, then at least fellow Malaysians. In a foreign country, it will always be much harder. Stay home and stay safe.

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