This is what has brought many a family to ruin. That illusion of social superiority as displayed by material wealth is one of the easiest ways of ruining a family and bringing it down from one social class into a lower one.
With all the economic measures taken by the Government to try to put Egypt back on the right track, stringent economies must be practiced by those who want to weather the storm without going under.
Now is not the time to show off with a huge, splendid wedding reception for your son or daughter. Now is not the right time to go to Haj for the fourth time, nor is it the time for a summer vacation of shopping and tourism in Europe.
Retrenchment is a painful word, and even more painful practice, but retrenchment is the only viable solution if you want to survive, somewhat intact.
A whole group of socially acquired habits will have to go out of the window, and the only way to do that is for the new habits of minimisation to become the “new cool”.
Wearing last year’s clothes is now cool, eating at home is now cool, walking or cycling or even taking public transport is now cool. If enough opinion leaders stick to their guns and practice what they preach – in face of others who WILL try to disparage these efforts – this new cool stuff will carry the day.
Not only is it a must to retrench if one wants to survive, but it is also a challenge: to change a social norm is one of the most difficult things to do, and one of the most satisfying accomplishments.
Get your walking shoes on Egyptians, take out last year’s clothes and spruce them up with imagination, work on ideas of enjoying the simple (inexpensive) life of yesteryear and you should weather the storm in style and have fun at the same time.
“If it is expensive, then I don’t need it”! Say it out loud, and practice it.
Last week a friend and I went into a restaurant, found the prices had DOUBLED! We walked out saying it was too expensive. Though the manager said in a snooty tone that they were keeping up the quality- implying we were not up to the standard – we grinned and said, no, not good enough. We had the last word and I think it hurt them much more than it hurt us. They will probably have to re-think their policy now. The restaurant was totally empty, we had been the only customers!
It is much easier to die for your country than it is to live for it. But with the right attitude, it could be a lot of fun living and changing for, and with, your country.
God bless our beloved Egypt.