My father says that he used to be able to get a bowl of noodles for 20 sen. That is hardly believable considering that a bowl today costs more than a ringgit. Then my grandmother says that a bowl of noodles cost half a sen before World War II. That is even more unbelievable! Now I understand what the cost of living means. It simply means how much it costs to buy things we need.
The cost of living seems to be always rising. The first car my father bought cost less than six thousand ringgit brand new. Nowadays a second hand car costs more than that. Apples used to cost 20 sen each, as my mother says. Now they cost almost a ringgit each.
My grandfather used to earn 5 ringgit a month and that was enough to feed his family of five comfortably. I marvel at that because 5 ringgit today is hardly enough for a meal at a fast food center. Things have certainly become more and more expensive and there is no indication that they will cost less in the future. Compared to my grandfather, my father earned a princely sum of a thousand ringgit a month. That is two hundred times what my grandfather earned. However I know it is hardly sufficient for my father to meet the family expenses. Fortunately my mother earns a bit as a part-time seamstress to help ease the burden. Otherwise he can hardly cope.
Things a few decades ago were much cheaper than today. Besides that there were fewer things to want. Today, the prices of goods shoot up partly because of increased demand and partly because of advertising expenses. There was hardly any advertisement in the days when my grandfather was young. Today advertisements govern every facet of modern living. We are bombarded by them from every angle, via newspapers, magazines, radio and television. No wonder we have to pay more for what we buy.
Also in those days of old, radios were rare and television were unheard of. The people have less to want. So they do not have to spend much. They spend only on everyday necessities. Today there are so many things to want. Some are unnecessary but we still buy them, thus adding to our expenses.
Anyhow bygone days cannot be recovered. The cost of living will keep rising. I hear that in Japan, most of people cannot even afford to buy a house, even though they earn much more than people here. That goes to show how the cost of living can rise to crazy levels. My father says that his Japanese friend told him that my father’s monthly salary cannot even pay for a night’s stay in one of Tokyo’s hotel. That is an example of how high the cost of living has become.
I suppose the cost of living will continue to rise. When I have children of my own in the future, I may have to tell them how cheap things were in my youth. Things will probably cost much more than today and I will have to earn much more than my father in order to cope. Anyhow, when the time comes, I will know what to do. I will have to pay whatever the cost of living requires.