Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Bank of Happiness


Imagine a bank of happiness.  Cool, right? Would you not be interested in it? I was. And so with much interest, I clicked on the article on Time Mobile, and read on.

It’s not something in the clouds. It isn’t an abstract idea excerpted from personality/psych books. Such a bank does exist in Estonia, a country in Northern Europe with a population of only 1.2 million. To me, Estonia only rings a bell because I watch Miss Universe, and I recall one candidate would shout out to the crowd introducing herself as Ms Estonia! Now, I know more about this post-Soviet state, because the article so piqued my interest, I had to look up Estonia on Factbook.

This benevolent bank trades good deeds online. One can open an account and either post an offering or make a request. There are more who offer services than ask. Services can be tutoring a person on foreign language or teaching yoga via Skype. The article further describes the bank, “The bank’s unit of currency is called the “Star of Gratitude,” equivalent to a big hug, a box of chocolates or with gratitude coming from the heart.”

This idea reminds me of another article (also on Time) which talks about paying for 2 when eating at a restaurant, and someone can avail of that paid meal at no cost. It’s similar to the “pay-it-forward” concept.

Often, guilt strikes when beggars (especially children) approach knocking on the car window, or whenever we would eat out after attending church in the Quiapo area, and we would see poor people who have made the streets their home, filthy, and obviously with almost nothing but a cart filled with scraps.  While charity starts at home, scenes like this kind of tug at the heart and serve to remind of the blessings I have, and that somehow I should find a way to “pay it forward.” Not that I have money to give. I don’t. But in other ways may be.
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