「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


The King and the Farmer

By Kip A. Cates


Everybody needs money! But different people spend money in different ways. How people spend their money can tell us a lot about their priorities and the values of their culture.

When I was a student, I traveled across Asia on a very tight budget. It was exciting to visit countries such as Iran, Pakistan and India. In each country, I was curious to learn what people spent their money on and what they felt was important.

In Thailand, I came across a folktale about money called The King and the Farmer that illustrates traditional Thai values. Here's how it goes:

Once upon a time, there was a king. One day, he began to wonder how the people in his country spent their money. To find out, he went out to interview them.

The first person he encountered was a farmer. "Tell me," said the king. "What do you do with the money you earn? How do you spend the money you save?"

"Most of my money I use to buy food and clothing for my family," said the farmer. "The rest I divide into four parts. The first part I bury in the ground, the second I use to pay my creditors, the third I throw in the river and the fourth I give to my enemy."

The king was surprised at this strange answer. Throwing money in the river? Giving money to your enemy? What did it mean? The farmer explained: "The money I bury in the ground is the money that I give to charity. This is an investment for the future since my good deeds ensure that I'll go to heaven after I die.

"The money I give to my creditors is the money that I spend on my mother and father. I owe my parents everything and it's my duty to support them. The money I throw in the river is the money that I spend on gambling and drinking. The money I give to my enemy is the money that I give to my wife."

So, the farmer spends his money on four things: charity, his parents, entertainment and his wife.

The money that he invests in charity is his insurance for the future. The money that he spends on his parents is his way of repaying them. The money that he spends for entertainment is soon gone, just as if he threw it in the river. And the money he gives his wife is money that she won't let him use to enjoy himself.

Half of his money is spent supporting his family. The other half he divides between the temporary pleasures of life and the permanent treasure of heaven.

There's an old joke that goes, "Money talks … but it usually says good-bye!" How people spend their money tells a lot about what they value. So, what about you? How do you spend your money?



The Japan Times ST: June 26, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版