Saturday, 12 November 2011

Slumdog Millionaire

Real life Slumdog millionaire: Sushil (left) says thank you with clasped hands as he receives his US$1mil prize from Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan during the fifth season of the Indian version of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Television quiz in Mumbai on Oct 25. Kumar, a computer operator who earns just US$130 a month, has become the first person to win the top prize. — AFP
I remember when I started working; the ultimate dream was to earn a five-figure salary. For most of us, however, being a millionaire is really out of the question unless we strike the lottery or take part in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And win the top prize

What would you do if you have a million bucks? A poor government clerk from Bihar, a remote and poverty-stricken region of northern India, has become the first person to win 50 million rupees (RM3mil) on the popular Indian version of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Sushil Kumar’s win is a classic case of life imitating art as the script is similar to that of the 2008 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

According to the Associated Press, Sushil said he would spend some of his prize money to prepare for India’s tough civil service examination, which could lead to a secure and prestigious lifetime job.

He would also buy a new home for his wife, pay off his parents’ debts, give his brothers cash to set up small businesses and build a library in Motihari so the children of his village would have access to books and knowledge.

Everyone loves a story like this. Although people can become instant millionaires by striking the lottery or pulling the lever on a one-armed bandit at a casino, using one’s talent at a tension-filled game show is more admirable.

And I applaud Sushil for his noble attitude in thinking of others to share in his newfound fortune. Bihar is one of the poorest states of India and its remoter areas, such as Motihari, have been largely untouched by India’s phenomenal recent economic growth.

In 1991, 24 year-old Malaysian laid became instant millionaire when he won the grand prize of RM1 million in a quiz show in a local version of “Wheel of Fortune”. Up till now, Ahmad Samerin Dzulkifli remains the country's only game show millionaire. Currently, he still owns the bicycle-repair shop but has added an electrical appliance shop and several other businesses. But he remains elusive and publicity-shy, preferring to live a normal life.

Do you know that there are now at least 39,000 millionaires in Malaysia? According to a recent report by the Credit Suisse Group, 19,000 new millionaires were created over the past 18 months alone.

Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2011 by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini, also released recently, revealed that Malaysia’s rich prefer splurging on a fancy new set of wheels, luxurious yachts or private jets.

Last year, Billionaire Bill Gates and Warren Buffett meet with a group of billionaires from US, China and India in a private gathering. It was a great chance for the billionaires to meet each other, compare notes, eat and laugh.

What do billionaires talk about when they get together? Their topic this time was of course money; not how to make it, but how to give it away.

The one thing in common for these ultra-rich philanthropists is that they belong to the special club of people who had pledged to give away at least half of their wealth under the Giving Pledge initiated by Buffett and Gates.

And it is good that other rich people around the world, embracing this concept of giving away part of one’s wealth to address the world’s many problems.

An elderly couple in Nova Scotia made world headlines in 2010 when they gave away nearly all the US$11mil (RM33mil) they won in a lottery. Allen and Violet Large, aged 75 and 78, only kept aside 2% of the winnings for a rainy day. The rest went to a number of local organisations, charities, hospitals and churches.

It is easy to say, when we don’t have the millions, that we can be like Violet and Allen. I suspect, however, that if we get our hands on say, RM1mil, many of us will struggle to let go of even a single sen.

Back to the dream, I was wondering to myself, what would I do if I suddenly had a million ringgit in hand? I suppose our wishes would coincide very much with our age, status, and ultimately our character.

To those who believe material pursuits equate to real happiness, a shopping spree would be fantastic. Those who do not focus too much on material things may want to travel around the world and complete their Bucket List.

Note:- I just  wish I don't have to work and live life lazy...

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