10 July 2016
Doing good for a cause is great, it feels good. One of the easiest way of conducting good deeds is to make donations.
I donated frequently to temples I visit, sometimes to the tissue uncle, and quite too often on Humble Bundle.
It feels good when dropping those monies down to the donation box at the temples the I visit, probably it was because I was behavioural-trained that way. In my childhood, every time my family visited a temple, at the end of the visit, my mom always give me a small amount of money to tell me to drop it in the donation box. In fact, she did this too during the last time we went together to a temple during Chinese New Year.
Another thing that I’m always reminded is about Sigalovada Sutta. In this discourse by the Buddha, the main character, Sigala, is being lectured by Buddha about how to behave well in the society. In one of the verses, it is mentioned that one shall separate one’s monthly income into four parts (not explicit whether it is equal or not): one part is for the “wants”, including charities; two parts is for the chores; one is for emergencies.
With wealth acquired this way,
a layman fit for household life,
in portions four divides his wealth:
thus will he friendship win.
One portion for his wants he uses,
two portions on his business spends,
the fourth for times of need he keeps.
Tissue uncles are a uniquely Singapore phenomenon, as the norm here in Singapore is that restaurants do not serve free tissues for wiping lips after eating. Hence, there is a huge market for selling tissue papers, including by the less fortunate; so the tissue uncles (or aunties) sold those tissue packs. Once, there is a story by Venerable Chuan Guan, involving a tissue uncle offering to sell tissue when he was in a hawker centre, in which the main point was, “how often we were given the opportunity to do good deeds?”. Lots of time, I remembered this story whenever I met tissue uncles, and I recently stopped doing this as I have too many tissue packs already that I purchased from them.
And then finally, Humble Bundle. Humble Bundle game bundles are great, as we can choose what percentage of our money go to which parties. Very often, I made it 99% charities and 1% spread across game developers and Humble Bundle itself. (sorry game devs out there) The thing about donating to charities via Humble Bundle is, it is administered by another third-party, PayPal Giving Fund. And this did not feel good at all when doing so. Probably I feel more like I am buying online games rather than really donating. And probably the recipients of the donations did not even know who donates the money. If it was direct online donation, most probably there are lots of “thank you” e-mails being sent; but this is not the case. Hmm, probably I’ll stop looking at buying stuff I do not need, and start to play & finish the hundreds of games I’ve purchased first.
Good thing that I tried to keep record on my expenditure since earlier this year, including to who I have spent on donations. So, in the first half of 2016, I have donated
- To religious activities, 5 times
- To tissue uncles, 3 times
- Via Humble Bundle (various charities), 13 times
- To environmental activity, 1 time
- Others: 1 time
As can be seen, probably I have spent too much on Humble Bundle, maybe it’s time to cut the spending for a while.