What we can learn from the foreign labor – an unhurried life

I know this is an easy topic to write about but extremely difficult to practice – an unhurried life.

To practice unhurried life NOW, let me write a little about my week for you to read.

It was considered my last week of continuous assessment and I can have about a week more to prepare for final examinations before reading week starts. I felt relieved after last Tuesday and I had been slacking away from Wed to Sat! Alright, I did some work on Fri and Sat. It’s funny how we feel guilty we didn’t do much of ‘official’ work. We often classify ‘official’ work as work related to money, job, studies, etc. What about our housework? What about our love ones and friends? One of the economic factor mainstream economics did not capture is domestic work! Aren’t domestic workers contributing to the economy? Yes! Aren’t housewives contributing to our money society? Yes!

After church service, my cellgroup and I went to BEST coffee shop to have our dinner(usual place). We had alt of fun and conversation and we were very familiar with the drinks stall aunties,etc. Pastry Chef pâtissier James was back from Johor and joined us in service. He is coming back to Singapore to work soon! Gonna have more chance to disturb him and have free pastries from him. hohoho..

After dinner at BEST coffeeshop, cellgroup went to *scape. [We will skip this part, otherwise it’s getting too long for a blog post]


On the way home, I was reading a photocopied chapter of a book. I do not know the book’s title but the chapter was “An Unhurried Life”. That’s when I started to have thoughts or rather was being reminded to be unhurried in my life.

Have you ever noticed how some people walk on the streets? Strolling, walkingggg vverrryyy slowwwlly… when you just wish they could walk faster and get out of your way? Especially the foreign labor?

I am going to quote some paragraphs from the chapter I find it useful in this post.

We suffer from what has come to be known as “hurry sickness”. One of the great illusions of our day is that hurrying will buy us more time. Because of advances in technology, people have radically cut back on how many hours a week they work. The great challenge is, what these people would do with all their free time. Amazingly, they do MORE work. Agree?

As a student, after you arrived at your weekends, do you still study? Do you read books OUTSIDE of your curriculum? Do you go for a jog or catch up with friends?

As a salaried worker, do you give your leftover time to your family and friends after a day’s work?

We buy anything that promises to help us hurry. Ironically, all our efforts have not produced what we are after: a sense of “timefulness”, a sense of having enough time. We often experience the opposite. Developed countries are rich in goods but extremely poor in time compared to the poorer who would pale in comparison in material possessions but rich in time. They are not driven or hurried. They live with a sense that there is adequate time to do what needs to be done each day. [Not procrastination, but the true sense of “timefulness”]

To eliminate hurry from our lives does not mean we will never be busy. Hurry is not just a disordered schedule but hurry is also a disordered heart.

We tend to read faster, walk faster and when listening, we nod faster trying to encourage the speaker to accelerate his conversation.

Despite rushing around, a hurry-sick person is still not satisfied. So out of the desperate need to hurry, they find themselves doing or thinking more than one thing at a time. -multi-tasking

We buy time-saving gadgets and don’t have the time or patience to read the instructions and figure out how to use them. We buy stacks of books for information and knowledge but do not have time to read them.

Being hurry also means being superficial. Richard Foster said, “Superficiality is the curse of our age.”
If superficiality is our curse then hurry pronounces the spell. Depth always comes slowly.

I am really impressed by Abraham Lincoln in terms of an unhurried person. Perhaps one reason that Abraham Lincoln achieved the depth of thought he did is that he grew up with so little to read. David Donald noted that Lincoln grew up with access to very few books like the Bible and Aesop’s Fables. “He must understand everything – even to the smallest thing – minutely and exactly,” his stepmother remembered. “He would then repeat it over to himself again and again … and when it was fixed in his mind to suit him he never lost that fact or the understanding of it.” -Similar to how I tried to remember Computer Networking concepts when I first learned it, it’s still in me. Amazingly. Never learn a thing just for the grade or knowledge, learn to apply it and it will stick with you for the rest of your lives.

Lincoln himself often spoke of how slowly his mind worked, how even as an adult he read laboriously and out loud. -We should try that too.

Today, we trade wisdom for information and depth for breadth. We want to microwave maturity.

Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don’t have.

Hurry lies behind much of the anger and frustration of modern life.

As a Singaporean, I can understand how we cannot afford not to hurry but we will discover we can survive without hurry. Having a good and healthy life starts from the beginning of your time. We ought to start being unhurried from young and I would hope I can nurture the next generation not to be hurried by the cares and pleasures of this world. Not to trade wisdom(where we lack in this modern age) for information. We often base our decisions on information but hardly on wisdom. Information is objective, but many a times, life’s situations aren’t objective but subjective!

Wisdom is subjective! Wisdom deals with different subjects in our lives and wisdom definitely has an objective: To preserve your life and the lives around you.

Remember, time is a gift from above. Let your unhurried heart and mind be your ‘time-keeper’, not that physical watch you wear which hurries you all the time. But please, don’t be late, be early for your appointments. Hurry-sickness is in the heart, not of the watch.

As such, learn to appreciate how the foreign labors walk so leisurely and slowly. Make a conscious effort to be unhurried. If you are pressed for time, plan early – that takes wisdom not information!


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