Health versus wealth. New year. Old argument.

The other day my dad was correcting some English papers for his plantation students. The students were asked to discuss which one is more important to them, and why.

EVERYONE thinks that money is more important.

Let me phrase it differently.

NOBODY thinks health is as important as money. Or wealth.

Being in my profession, working for the people I work for, I would want to disagree with ALL of them. Let me put my points clear.

Good health enables a person to work and care for other people. Good health enables someone to travel the world and make new discoveries, new friends, new experience in life. Good health will, if combined with hard work, bring good money and wealth.

Let’s see if we have all the money and no health.

Life will be spent going to the hospital every week, or everyday,  or every month for follow ups, for admissions, for scans et cetera. Life will be spent stuck on wheelchair, on hospital beds, at home, in scan rooms.

Life will be spent taking medications, suffering from their side effects. Even from things as simple as aspirin.

Life will be spent in pain and/or agony.

No matter how many people you could pay to care for you, how many doctors you could consult, how expensive the medications you could afford to buy, you’d still be at least a little depressed that your life is dependent on others.

If someone is well, he could sleep on the grass, under the tree, and feel comfortable. Whereas if one is sick, or in pain, he won’t be able to sleep even on the most comfortable mattress in the world.

When you’re healthy, you could work, you could think properly, and your wealth will accumulate.

If you’re sick, you might need to get off work often, and whatever wealth you have, will dwindle.

I’m not saying that money is not important (this is where people ALWAYS get me wrong – when I talk strongly FOR a point, doesn’t mean I’m AGAINST the other). It still is.

Well, with money, we could buy exercise equipments to put in our own gym, buy all the organic food (or pay someone to grow them for us), pay someone to cook all the healthy food while we’re away working, pay for vitamins, pay for health books, pay for dental visits, pay for a nice big house with big compound with big trees around so we could have cleaner air to breathe….the list goes on and on and on. Yes, money is important.

But, there’s always a way to live a healthy life, even though we’re not so rich.

Of course, with money we could get earlier diagnosis and better treatment. Rather than lining up for radiotherapy in HKL, we could go straight for it in a private hospital. It does make a difference, but not all the time. If you’re destined to have a bad cancer, you’ll have a bad cancer no matter how rich you are. It’s still incurable even when you’ve seen the best (or most expensive) oncologist in town.

It is frustrating that people think wealth is more important than health. I shouldn’t be too surprised, though, because if our society makes health their priority, then we would have one radiotherapy machine in every major hospital, rather than two machines in HKL which breaks down all the time. Don’t blame the government/ministry all the time, people, because if we really fight for something, we might get it. Thing is, we do not think that health is important enough. So we don’t fight. Until illness comes to us. Until it’s too late.

Let’s get our priorities right.

Let’s work, and pray, for our good health.

And let’s thank God for our good health.