Ijun's comment yesterday made me think a little bit more "sharing" and "buying gifts." For me this tradition has started way back in Secondary school. We girls were on limited budgets and sometimes wanted to get something for someone's birthday, then someone becomes the ring leader, collects the money from the rest, buy the present and present it to the birthday girl.
And then it continued on with some friends we hung out with, and more recently, with the ladies in the compound. I had two of such experiences, which made me decide, not anymore. Well it started like this, J was leaving and W was very close to her. W decided that she will gather a bunch of people in a list, ask them if they want to share a present for J. Kudos to W, she managed to do it, but apparently not without some problems. One lady E, decided that the Rm50 we were collecting was too much. She basically said that she didn't know J well enough to contribute the Rm50 but will contribute Rm30 instead. Fair enough, surely its up to each individual however much they want to contribute or choose not to contribute but somehow it made the situation a little bit awkward. And considering these ladies are mainly Europeans the difference of Rm20 is barely Eur4, which will only buy you a sandwhich on the go, or 4 Cokes.
And then it was time to buy the gift. We went to the local souk to scour to the gift that hopefully will remind J of us and the country we lived in. At first we wanted to buy a camel wool afgan cushion cover, but the cost was way too much. It was Rm200 above the budget of RM700. So finally after much going in and out of different shops we settled on a camel wool cushion cover as well, but the less finer quality.
Now, one thing W forgot was that J's husband also works with M's husband and both were leaving at the same time. She already asked M to share in J's present, but forgot that perhaps we ought to be sharing for M's farewell present too? I mean their husbands worked together, they are leaving at the same time, and M knows that we are sharing to buy J a gift and we cannot possibly not give M a farewell gift without offending her.
So I hinted to W that perhaps we ought to buy M the same thing as J and she said, well if someone else do the money collecting, she doesn't mind sharing. Silly-over- sensitive me decided that I would undertake that role and boy what a mistake it was. I am terrible at collecting money. I just hate asking people for money and in the end I ended up paying a bigger share of the gift out of my own pocket rather than from the shared kitty.
Now this apparently started a snowball effect because by this time a few other people are leaving as well and other people are rallying for the rest to buy them farewell gifts. But I cleverly shirked any responsibility from buying the gift because I thought the last gift I bought ended up to be an expensive venture for me.
Don't get me wrong, I consider myself as a thrifty, rather than a miserly person. But more and more I am beginning to find this sharing of gift buying event somewhat uncomfortable. On one instance, I found myself contributing much more than I thought I would. On another instance, I found myself buying something which I don't quite agree with, but complied anyways because I don't like conflict.
I find that I am a terrible gift giver anyways. I never know what to buy the person and most times I tend to just give them money, so they can choose whatever they would like to do with it. I remember on one ocassion, the ladies were lamenting what to buy for N as her farewell gift as they knew that she has an exacting taste. She either likes something or hate it and would not hesitate to get rid of the item if she dislike it. Kinda like Rachel from Friends. So I told the other ladies, why don't we just ask her what she wants? If the item she wants is way above our budget, then perhaps we can ask her if she wants to top up or she can choose something within our budget. But apparently my idea wasn't well received because apparently the gift ought to be a reflection of the giver. But what about the receiver, I thought.
And without sounding too bitter about it, sometimes it feels like I am forever sharing for gifts for other people and never quite get to be on the receiving end. There is a trend here where people will hold a birthday party, where other people are invited, bearing gifts of course. I suppose you can say that perhaps if I hold a birthday party or anniversary party or whatever party, people would come bearing gifts for me as well. But I am not the party sort of person anyways. I am not the sort who makes everyone knows when my birthday is by reminding them one month in advance to buy me a gift etc. And I am probably a difficult person to buy gifts for anyways.
Having said that, however, I do realize that by being generous, the universe has other ways of sending the "repayment" back to you. I like to pay it forward and I believe that what goes around comes around. I may not be getting birthday/farewell/anniversary/etc gifts in return, but we have had good luck in general. Hubby won two phones in a lucky draw (not the same draw, and not the latest top of the line models) and I won some semi precious stones. All in all, our rezeki has been Alhamdullilah.
Just that sometimes, I am tired of going out and buying gifts. I really think whoever thought of a gift registry was a genius! What better than for someone to buy you gifts that you really want rather than gifts you don't quite know what to do with. I remember receiving some glass sets, a few electric kettles and a bunch of other stuff as my wedding present, most of which we ended up giving away anyways because we are constantly on the move.
SO what about you? Are you one of those people who love to buy people presents? Do you know what to buy for them? Are you one of those people with leadership skills who can rally people together to share a gift with you? Do you like to give the presents as surprises? Or are you, like me, just prefer to give money or ask the person, what they want?
Hmmm I am thinking of setting up a "Any event gift registry" for people to choose any item they wish to "give" to me. Would anyone care to share to buy me a private jet? Amboiiii melampau nyer! But it doesn't hurt to dream right? Hehehehe.
But frankly, what I actually really want, is a lifetime of happiness, good health, peace of mind, patience and rezeki yang murah. And a comfortable afterlife in the Jannah. Amin.