I was returning home from a late night out.
It was past midnight by the time I was walking back.
A dark figure scurried past me.
Partially startled as it was late, I glanced and noticed that it was a tall dude in a gray tee.
He was out of sight when the walkway led him into the HDB block.
As I was fighting an urge to use the restroom, I scampered along rather quickly too.
When I reached the lift lobby, the tall dude had just stopped right in front of the door.
I detected that he was panting slightly, probably due to the brisk pace.
There was an old lady, around the age of 50s.
She was already at the lift lobby, pressing the button before both of us did.
Our sudden appearances made her apprehensive.
She observed the tall dude for a while.
Then turned and looked at me.
There was a look of confusion and unease in her eyes.
And I could read her mind.
“Why would two men appear out of the blue in the middle of the night?”
“Are they harbouring ill intentions and planning to harm me?”
“Should I go into the lift?”
She was still surveying the two of us when the lift approached the ground floor.
Nevertheless, she had made her decision.
She spoke in Mandarin and told us to go ahead without her.
We entered the lift and pressed the buttons for our respective floor.
As the elevator rose, I could not help but think that the old lady must be observing us through the CCTV of the lift.
She must have seen that the two of us had alighted on different stories and concluded that we were not criminals working together.
“What a waste of time to wait for the next lift!”
Crimewatch was one of my must-watch TV when I was a child.
Well, that was because my Mom made me watch it.
I was not sure if this was a message from the show but I knew from young that I should not take the lift if someone (usually male) entered the lift at the very last minute.
The old lady must have recalled the same thing.
Here were two strangers who rushed onto the lift lobby in the middle of the night.
She had done the right thing in terms of taking care of her own safety.
At the same time, she spent a considerable amount of time waiting for the next elevator.
Given that the tall dude and I were not bad people, this amount of time was wasted.
She could have saved a good couple of minutes.
You may not see it this way.
One could argue that she had spent some time in exchange for some assurance that she get home safely.
It is not incorrect to view the situation in such a light.
An unworthy exchange ?
In Singapore, the crime rate has been great for many years.
The probability of that the situation would have resulted in a robbery in the lift is exceedingly low.
123 robberies were committed in 2015, much less than vehicle theft (302) or cheating (7873).
Statistically speaking, the old lady had almost nothing to worry about.
Yet, no one will begrudge her because it was the right thing to do.
A couple of minutes for safety?
Totally worth it!
On the other hand, the chances of dying young in Singapore are usually limited.
There is a 2% risk of anyone dying before the age of 40.
Life insurance cannot prevent that 2% chance of occurring.
Yet, it will help the family financially after the deceased has passed on.
However, many have lamented after paying premiums for many years.
Insurance is such a waste of money!
The expectation of having a return.
When we pay a dollar, we expect some value back.
Sometimes it is a bad deal.
At times, you get back more than a dollar’s worth.
That is the basis of all exchanges in life.
It may not involve money but other things such as time or personal service.
This expectation of a return is why we trade.
The issue with insurance is that the returns are invisible to the buyer.
When you buy life insurance, the return is a promise to pay your beneficiaries when your life has ended.
You do not get to see the returns at all.
Thus, some may view it as a waste of money.
In truth, there are some things in life that offer intangible, uncertain returns.
Investing time and money on the person that you fancy does not ensure reciprocity.
Doing charity only gives you a warm fuzzy feeling in your gut.
Nevertheless, we do all these things because we want to.
Some are willing to exchange a few dollars or a couple of minutes to secure a safe passageway, even if the odds are generally favourable and harm is unlikely.
However, some are not.
Life insurance is the same.
Are you going to spend a couple of bucks per day for the assurance of taking care of your loved ones when you are around?
Or are you hopeful that they can fend for themselves?
I know I prefer to squander some money in return for a peace of mind.
Just like how the old lady at the lift wasted a couple of minutes for a safe elevator ride.
At the end of the day, we are certain that this exchange is very much worthwhile.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.