Scarcity and Abundance

If you grew up in China in the early 60s, you would definitely understand and fully appreciate what “scarcity” means, literally.

I remember vividly that at the end of each month, my parents would scrape the bottom of the container where flour was stored hoping to make do another meal if they could just add some filler like water.

Starvation Was A Perpetual State of Being

I was constantly starved to death and felt that I had a bottomless stomach.  Granted I ran every day and I was hyper-active like most of the teenagers going through growth spurts.

During that time, China and the former Soviet Union was experiencing the so-called “cold war”.  The former “Big Brother” turned his back on China pressing the Chinese government to repay all the loans and debt.  With China’s population as it was back then, everyone in the city was on a “ration” system.  To be more specific, everyone would have x kilos of wheat flour, so much cooking oil, so many eggs, tofu, etc.  Every family had a little booklet of coupons for this type of staples.  It was such a rare occurrence if we could have an entire meal made of white flour.

A Story Retold A Million Times by My Dad

It was such a devastating experience that one time, my dad asked me to go to the grocery store, I accidentally lost my family’s coupon book.  You could just imagine how I was scolded by my dad and how guilty I felt to have deprived my family of all the goodies for the month.

To retell a story like this seems to be unreal to many younger generations in and outside of China, especially to those in the United States who have enjoyed nothing, but abundance in life in every sense of the word.

Simple Abundance


Simple Abundance

As much as I still have the obsession over food and the subconscious fear for starvation, I miss those days with its simple life style and easy-to-fill expectation.  I didn’t feel shabby or shamed because my worn-out clothes may have patches on them.  My siblings and I only had one piece of new garment once a year.

Joy in life is not measured by how big your house is and how fancy of a car you drive.  The contentment in life comes from a pure connectedness with yourself and with the universe that nurtures you.

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