While I was preparing for my Japanese studies as an incoming middle schooler, … I discovered cosplaying and a plethora of other Japanese stuff like anime, manga, gyaru (girl) style, visual kei style, …………
Anime and manga fans who cosplay – dress up as their favorite characters – were such “eye-candies” to me as a kid. The homemade or “professionally-made” costumes they wore were much more colorful, detailed, and unique compared to the Halloween costumes you’d see at your local party stores.
But soon after discovering the hobby, I realized that cosplaying is far from glamorous.
Kids (and, surprisingly, babies) nowadays have their hands on smartphones, tablets, computers, and/or gaming systems with social media sharing. They’re exposed to much more information than I ever was when I was a kid! (I’m a post-millennial, by the way.)
My initial reaction to the Capital Gazette shootings on June 28, 2018 (before the shooter was identified): “Is this a ‘Charlie Hebdo-like’ attack on American soil?” Yesterday (July 2), I saw the video below and was shocked to hear what Jim Cavanaugh said about the shooter: he was posting tweets about Charlie Hebdo (4:14).
I found a Google preview of the book “The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime” by MJ DeMarco, and here’s the passage that I read:
“The Illusion of Wealth: Looking Rich”
In pop culture, master illusionists of wealth are called “30K millionaires”. If you haven’t heard this phrase, it characterizes someone who maintains an image of a millionaire, yet has no net worth. These folks aren’t hard to find. They drive entry-level BMW’s with custom chrome rims, they wear fancy designer clothes with gothic cursive lettering from some faux French guy, and they congregate in the VIP section of the club ordering bottle service, of course, on credit. These folks broadcast like dashing debutantes with an extraordinary A-game, but behind all the flash-and-cash they’re miserable magicians of the Sidewalk.
The problem with looking wealthy versus being wealthy is that the former is easy while the latter is not. Easy credit and long-term monthly financing options (make no payments for one year!) are tempting conduits to help you purchase the illusion of wealth. Society has led you to believe that wealth can be bought at a mall, at a car dealership, or on an infomercial. Like my initial spending spree when I cashed my first check, these appearances of wealth are supposed announcements to the world: “I’m rich!”
But are you? When you finance an $80,000 Mercedes Benz over six years because that’s all you could afford, that isn’t wealth, but impersonation of wealth. You’re fooling yourself, and it’s a Fastlane detour. But don’t jump the bandwagon yet; this isn’t a sermon about how you can’t spend money on pricey German sedans. Not at all.
Wealth isn’t embodied in a car but in the freedom to know that you can buy it. Freedom to walk into the dealership, know your price, pay cash, and drive away. For a gift, I bought my brother a new Lexus. It was the easiest transaction I ever did. I researched the car and determined the price I wanted to pay. I walked into the dealership with a cashier’s check and told the salesman, “I have a cashier’s check for $44,000 and I want to buy that car. I need a YES or a NO.” Twenty minutes later, I owned a Lexus. This is wealth, not an impersonation of wealth.
When I drive to the gym, I pass a dilapidated apartment complex near the expressway. In the parking lot I always see the same car parked: a shiny black Cadillac Escalade with 22-inch chrome custom rims. Do you see the incongruity? You live in a crappy apartment but you drive a $60,000 car with $10,000 rims? Do I see monitors in those headrests and hear a 24-speaker stereo? Geez, 90 grand of image and two bucks of common sense. Wouldn’t it be wiser if you focused on owning a nice house in a nice neighborhood instead of leasing the tightest car in the Marbella Gardens apartment complex? Priorities: Some want to look rich, while others want to be rich.
Man, I typed that whole passage in this blog post.
Okay, DeMarco mentioned good points that I already know, so I thought that the passage was more dragging to me than insightful.
The first half of the passage and the last sentence are pretty insightful for people who don’t really think about “illusion of wealth vs. real wealth”.
But I thought that the second half of the passage was… hm… it seemed a bit too boastful and criticizing.
“I can completely buy a car at a dealership. Not just any car – a Lexus. Not for me – for my brother, as a gift.” It’s this boastfulness that deters away from his hidden argument that he and some people are really wealthy, and not just living the illusion of wealth.
My thoughts: the truly wealthy people don’t glamorize themselves like what DeMarco did in the above passage.
The truly wealthy people understand that wealth can easily be lost, and therefore they’re pretty conservative when it comes to their lifestyle, frugal in their purchases, and humble (or at least try to practice humility often) when presenting themselves to others.
One example of a truly wealthy person is Jackie Chan. I was watching an interview of Jackie Chan in a Korean talk show on YouTube, but I can’t seem to find the video anymore. The closest video I can find is “Jackie Chan in Ellen show” (he talks about the same topic I heard in that Korean interview).
Jackie Chan washes his socks and underwear at hotels. People who hear Jackie Chan say that on talk shows laugh, thinking that what he’s doing is absurd! They’re thinking “Man, can’t you just dump your clothes at the hotel’s laundry room or something? Or maybe bring more clothes in your travels? Or maybe even wait to wash your clothes at home?”
I laughed when I first heard Jackie Chan talk about his laundry routine at hotels because I basically do the same thing during family travels. LOL.
Anyways, Jackie Chan isn’t just wealthy; he knows how to manage and maintain his wealth. It’s cheaper to travel if you can check-in a free luggage or with the cheapest option available. Laundry is hella expensive at hotels, so it makes sense to just use the free soap bars the maids provide you with to wash your underwear and socks. And obviously, don’t wait to wash your clothes at home because you gotta stay hygienic during your travels, LOL. And since you’re trying to stay as hygienic and comfortable as possible, you bring the most essential clothes that will make you feel hygienic and comfortable, not your “whole damn wardrobe”; for example, you bring a jacket so that you don’t stain your shirts when eating at restaurants.
So how is Jackie Chan’s personal story different from DeMarco’s story?
Well, Jackie Chan’s is about not spending money, while DeMarco’s is, of course, about having the convenience to spend money. Both of those things are true for wealthy people, but the more important lesson of the two is Jackie’s.
Another key difference between the two stories is that Jackie Chan didn’t write a “self-help”/”self-guidance” book like DeMarco. Sometimes when I read books like “The Millionaire Fastlane”, I get the feeling that the writers are trying to strike a balance between helping people and (subtly) bragging about themselves. Yeah, I get that DeMarco is an entrepreneur and he earned his money; but to me, his wealth sounds pretty cheap. The really rich people are the ones that are mostly quiet. It’s quite difficult to understand how to become truly rich if you really don’t listen to the quiet ones (like Jackie Chan) because they’re the ones with the true secrets to success.
One more thing to point out: Jackie Chan doesn’t need to tell other people what he owns, and he certainly doesn’t need to own expensive brand-name items to let people know that he’s rich. We all know his name, and that is enough validation for us to know that he’s richer than the guy who bought a $44,000 Lexus for his brother’s birthday.
If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of Jackie Chan. Not because of his movies (I’ve probably only seen a few of his movies), but because of him as a person.
Jackie Chan… what a role model. He’s using his time, energy, and money to protect endangered species. He’s a supporter and ambassador for protecting Chinese tigers and panda bears.
If you want to learn how to live a wealthy life, then learn from this Chinese man, LOL. No really, Chinese people really know how to make and secure their wealth.
More importantly, Jackie Chan isn’t just financially wealthy; he’s so happy. It’s a blessing that we have a man like him who voluntarily spreads happiness to others instead of keeping it all to himself.
Takeaway: Listen to the quiet people. They may hold the secrets and answers you’re really looking for.
To end this blog post, I want to mention another celebrity that I admire: Suga (pronounced like “sugar”).
Suga is a member of the most popular K-Pop boy band, BTS. The group and its company became so successful that they’ve dominated the American music charts, won American music awards, and won the hearts of music listeners around the world.
For his birthday, Suga fulfilled a promise he made four years ago to his fans: he promised to buy gogi (Korean meat/BBQ) for fans when he makes a lot of money. LOL, he didn’t give away meat to just anyone; he donated gogi to 39 children’s facilities in his hometown, Daegu.
The world is blessed to have angels like Suga, Jackie Chan, and other people (not just the wealthy ones) that are altruistic and humble. People like them are truly wealthy and successful not just because they know how to hold onto money for themselves, but because they go through the cycle of giving some and receiving more. We don’t live in a perfect world, but it’s people like them that strive to make the world as best as it can be. And that’s why they deserve and will always live with the (monetary and emotional) wealth they have.
This blog post was so good to write. I’m gonna recommend this topic to my friend who’s hosting a radio show!