Thursday 2 June 2011

Dog in the manger

In old Macdonald’s farm, all the farm animals lived together peacefully in harmony.

But the peace was disrupted when farmer Macdonald adopted a new male dog one day.

The dog grew up in the city where he had to struggle and fight for his every meal. It’s a dog eat dog world of existence…

Now at the farm, the dog was lovingly cared for by old Macdonald; well fed and showered with love. What a difference from the dog’s previous life! No longer is the dog “branded” a stray. Now he is farmer Macdonald’s 2nd in command.

Instead of being contented with his new found good fortune, the dog grew dissatisfied more and more each day. What gives?

The dog noticed old Macdonald gave to the horses and cows hay every morning – but not to the dog. Old Macdonald is being partial! The dog mumbles…

This jealousy brews and stews in the dog until one morning it just erupted.

The dog rushed to the manger where the hay was kept and jumped on top of it. When the horses and cows tried to take their morning breakfast, the dog barked and chased them away.

The dog thought – if I can’t have it, then others should not have it too!

There’s a little of this “dog in the manger” in all of us (OK, only me!)

Instead of seeing how our lives have improved, we keep on comparing what others have that we do not have…

And if we can’t have it, we do our best to bring others down to our level. We have “beggar thy neighbour” attitude.

Or we cast innuendos and aspersions on how they got to be better than us.


Just look at how we the citizens behaved during the last election.

Roar of the heart from Jared Seah - 5th descendant of a Chinese immigrant and I have a sister


  1. Hi SMOL,

    People tend to take good things for granted and forget how difficult things were before. Instead of counting their blessings, they start to begrudge the good fortune of others. Complaining non-stop, they should take definite steps to make their lives better without beggaring others.

    Of course, I am only one guy and not a very smart one probably. What do I know? ;)

  2. Hi SMOL,

    Ya loh...I don't like those people who complain and complain and do nothing to improve their lot in life. Usually these people will tell you hundred reasons why something will not work instead of giving one reason why it will work, when suggestions are given to them.

  3. Hello AK,

    I still remember you gave your security guard "ang pow". And that to me speaks louder than words.

    A smile, nod of the head, a word of thanks, etc to others who have made our lives a better place.

    Small gestures to acknowledge their presence.

    What goes around; comes around.

  4. LP,

    I guess you msut had your share of "well-intentioned" advice when you took the plunge to be self-employed - despite your fantastic academic achievements.

    Those who don't have the courage to walk their own paths don't like examples/reminders to what's possible.

  5. Hi SMOL,

    what a great analogy you have here. Humans always like to look at the negatives and shun the positives in life; I guess Singaporeans more so than others. Maybe it could be the sense of entitlement we have here.

    I'm also guilty of this sometimes; though I've been blessed with a good family and good academics, I sometimes envy those with a nicer house, nicer car, without seeing that hey! my house and my car are nice enough!

    Thanks for your always insightful posts :)

  6. Hi Isaac!

    Thanks for your kind words :)

    I saw your cbox chat today. Glad you are aware of your good fortune.

    Not many can afford an overseas education - even if they have good grades ;) You the best! Make Singapore proud in UK!

  7. Hi SMOL,

    Indeed...even up to now, my parents are still telling me to get a proper job. I think people who said things cannot be done should not stop those who are doing it, haha :)


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