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The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Krauss & Emma McLaughlin

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Hi Kanchi!

Hope you’ve been well!!! This past semester has been awful for me- missing you girls, missing LSR, adjusting back to the working pace of Singapore. I must say that since being in Delhi, I really question what I want to be doing once I graduate, which will be like in 4-5 months time!!!!!!! Life passes by too fast my dear.

So this is the book that I have finally finished since the December break. It’s set in New York and tells of an NYU undergrad majoring in Child Development doing her part-time job as a Nanny and whoa and behold, her name is Nan.

She’s great with kids. Just a natural she is. And since she has to finance her rent due to the exorbitant cost of a square foot in New York, she does it by taking care of others’ kids.

One day she bumps into a Mrs X and her family is in need of a nanny. At first I thought… no way, there can only be a Professor X and his ebtourage of X Men! Hahaa. So the child under her care is 4 year old Grayer. Over time Grayer takes a liking and becomes affectionate with Nan.

The book goes through a series of events where we see the incompetence of Mrs X at being a mother, the absence of Mr X and him being more committed to his work, and the women at work more than his family and Grayer’s desire for more attention and affection from his parents. My heart reallu goes out to grayer. Nanny goes beyond her job description just because she starts to love Grayer and feels he deserves so much more than these parents. It’s horrible the emotional load she has to go through.

Grayer just becomes this social accessory for the parents. They refuse to deal with him during tantrums, falls, and expect Nanny to take care of it.

I see parallels with this story and a recent film released by Singapore. That movie won our first Cannes D’OR for best feature film I think. I’ll go and check again. Well both touch upon the issue of domestic help being relied on to take care of the child but in this story, it is much worse. It’s a trend for working parents. After this book it made me realise that I really want to be around my children during their formative years. And hire a babysitter or drop my children at the parents or relatives or a girlfriend’s if I need to do something urgent or go on date nights w my future husband.

Hahaha. Well Nanny gets fired in the end and is wayyy underpaid for all the work she does. Poor Grover. Another beloved nanny out the door. Another round of attachment issues. The X family is stinking rich by the way. Mrs X spends her time at a clubhouse doing manicures, pedicures and going for spa. Such nonsense. I say, if you’re not committed to have a child, don’t. Just horrible how she uses Grayer as bait to keep Mr X around too….

Ah well.

Hope you’ve been enjoying your December holidays!!!! Tell me about your documentary and dissertation! !!!

Love,
SAFIAH

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Time to Face the Dollars! Learning about money.

I admit, that’s not the most brilliant hook of a title, and neither is this first line. But read on anyway.

There comes a time in your life when you get a chance to step up and cross the invisble barrier called ‘Adulthood’. It’s different for everyone.

For me, I had to face it when my brother was born when I was in Seconday 4. I was sixteen years old. I had a terribly important national exam to take at that time. 3 years later, I had to face another issue- Money. Long story short, there were some problems my family faced regarding it. I’m not ready to reveal this story to the world. It affected my family. It affected me really badly. I decided then, that I wanted to be Master of my money, and not the other way around.

I recently bought a book “Why A Students Work for C Students and Why B Students Work for the Government: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Education for Parents” by Robert Kiyosaki. I’m not a parent but I am, in a way, bringing up my younger brother. And in this house, we don’t really understand money.

I am in that process, to learn about money. I read the book within a week, it’s easy to read, really a breeze. Now I understand a bit more about how finance in the world works, why America’s economy is in such a bad shape, and the possibility of being rich. I learn about the Employer-Self Employed or Small Business-Businessmen-Investor quadrants, the four types of income that you can have and the amount of taxes you pay based on that, and why I don’t mind working for experience, not for money. It’s not hard to end the book with all these lessons practically branded on your brain. Kiyosaki repeats it so many times, he sounds like he’s selling the idea to you. After every chapter, he also gives you actionable tips on what to teach to your children on money. He spends the first half of the book trying to convince you why you need to teach your children this financial education knowledge, to the extent of sounding very sales-y.

However, like many good books, this left me with a few questions I had to think- about my life, and my direction in this life. See I’m going on to my fourth year in university and I just returned from an exchange in Delhi. I’m at that point where I feel anything is possible, and there is so much to this world that I don’t know. I’m also slowly trying to shape my life the way I want it, and yet I want to be taken under someone’s wing to understand what and how the industry works, and what professionalism is like. I’m wondering if I have the dilligence to be a B kind of person. I think the first question I have to ask is, what passion do I have that I can live on?

I’m also wondering what the ethics is behind whatever Kiyosaki has shared. It seems to be very ethical. If you have the talent, create a big business. You’d create jobs for others, and provide housing for them. I’m wondering: What’s the Islamic view behind this?

Lastly, the context of this book is set in the U.S. The Rich Dad Company doesn’t have workshops in Singapore.

My next action step was to look up on Financial Education in Singapore. So far I found several options:

1/Associate Financial Planner Certification from Financial Perspectives Singapore.

I could learn about these: Financial Planning Process, Cash Management & Budgeting, Time Value of Money, Business Statistics & Basic Investment Concepts, Basic Economic Structure, Government Policies and Investment Analysis, Investment Planning Products, Retirement Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Income Tax and Estate Planning, Code of Ethics and Regulatory Controls.

Rich Dad said to learn about Real Estate. I am not sure, where in Singapore, I can learn about this. This costs SGD $715. If you self-study, it costs SGD $500. I don’t have the discipline to study alone. And I believe when it comes to money, I really have to have someone with me.

I will enrol for this, for self-enrichment.

2/ Certificate in Islamic Banking and Finance by Centre for Islamic Management Studies

Besides the things I remember from Weekend Madrasah during my secondary school years, I don’t remember much of Fiqh Muamalat anymore. I find I will have to study about this, I’m not sure how. I have a book that my Ustaz gave me, on ‘Money, You and Islam’. It’s in Malay though (sometimes I feel like taking all this valuable books, translating them to English)

This costs SGD$3,500. Not really sure if I’d like to take this up.

Also, I recently bought another book, ‘Debt- The First 5000 Years’ by David Graeber. It’s about the history of money and debt. Really wondering how it was allowed in this world to use money that people don’t have on their hands. It really amazes me the consequence of what people did in the past. I’d like to study that better, which is why I bought this book.

Hope that my curiousity pulls me through this book.

Will update you once I finish reading! 🙂

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This All Started When…

So here’s the thing.

Kanchi is crazy over good stories in books. Me too.

I was exploring films. She did it last semester.

We wanted a way to keep in touch, and always have something to talk about.
So this blog was born.

It’s tough you know, having this Long Distance Relationship. Kanchi is in New Delhi, India… or in Kanpur, India… and I’m in Singapore, Singapore. But we will work hard to talk about the things we love. The words and images that move us. Because when we talk about it, we know what makes us human.

And we get to understand each other better.

This blog will be a sharing about the moments we loved in the stories we read or watched. And when we are typing words here, we will pretend that we are there, lying under the stars of the back lawns at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, talking to each other about life and good stories.

For the love of good moments. May we Begin Well.