My 65th Blog today - 11th May 2015

My 65th Blog today has got me thinking as 65 is the notional retirement age in Australia.

As a young man I was an avid reader of the great Greek philosophers especially Plato who wrote “The Republic” around 2400 years ago. My interest today stems from a discussion in this publication that Plato reports on between Socrates and a wealthy old man called Cephalus.

Melaka river walk

Melaka river walk

In a nutshell Socrates asks Cephalus how wealth sits with him and in his reply (and I will not quote verbatim) he says that money is only good in so much it can give one comfort in old age and enable one to repay ones debts.

When you think about it an Aged Pensioner couple in Australia get around $1288 a fortnight from the Australian Pension and on this would (if they did not own their own home) sentence them to life in a caravan park shopping for specials at Aldi and using the Public health system. Hardly a comfortable lifestyle!

An Aged Pensioner couple living in South East Asia however would receive $1216 a fortnight from the Australian Pension (indexed) forever and for this can live in great comfort, eat out, use the Private Health system and save money for travel almost as often as they wish. Their relatives would visit them with cheap flights from Australia ($453 Return to Brisbane At present) and they would be freed from money worries for the rest of their lives.

This is the lifestyle of comfort and ability to pay debts that Cephalus (the wealthy old Greek man) said are the only benefits of wealth all those years ago!

I hope that I have not bored the reader but the point that I am making is that all Australians can live a comfortable and dignified life in South East Asia from the moment they reach that magical pension age.  

“Sell Up (or rent out) Pack Up and Take off” and you too could experience this lifestyle.

Erica in sarong happily sweeping

Erica in sarong happily sweeping

It does not take much to make Erica happy and this morning, dressed in her sarong she is happily sweeping the condo floor with her 2RM dust pan and her 5.5RM “native” broom!  Cost $2.64 Australian.

We have fired up the Electrolux washing machine/dryer as per the instructions to flush it and then washing can commence. It washed perfectly.

Went down to ground level and walked out straight onto the Riverside Walkway to the old town. It was a beautiful stroll along the winding river which is lined with potted bougainvilleas, crotons and various other plants. It was absolutely delightful stroll along the Melaka River and we soon arrived at a street we remembered housed a couple of old style barber shops as I needed a haircut.

Out of one of them sprang a Chinese man who looks like Scott Cams love child and in Chinese cajoled us into entering the shop. The Chinese barber who was busy cutting acknowledged us and I sat down to wait. Erica at first refused a seat as she was hot but they insisted she sit in the vacant barber’s chair and turned a fan on above her. The Chinese man who turned out to be a waiting customer was like a circus act and spoke quickly and very loudly. He did speak some English and spent half an hour asking about Australia; how long we had been married? If we had children and the surprising one was do the Chinese in Australia run drugs and carry guns?

Cut throat razor finish

Cut throat razor finish

New friend in the barber shop

New friend in the barber shop

We noticed with some alarm that the barber who was 65 and had been cutting for over 50 years seemed intent on removing most of the hair from his current victim! The Chinese customer who was waiting deferred to me and I mounted the chair with some trepidation exclaiming, “just a trim thank you”. Out came the clippers and scissors and he was off.

He apparently only knew one type of haircut, the super short back and sides of old and I was getting one, like it or not! Resigned to my fate he snipped away, cut throat razored to finish including inside my ears and rounded it off with a firm neck and shoulder massage. Thank goodness short hair is in fashion. Cost was only 15RM or $5.30 Australian. Both his other customers were Chinese and born in 1945 as I was so it must have looked a little like a retirement home gathering to passers-by.

Lunch at Selvam restaurant

Lunch at Selvam restaurant

Our favourite Indian Restaurant in Melaka was only 50 metres away and in we went for a late lunch. Selvam restaurant on Lorong Hang Jebat specialises in banana leaf lunches.  You get 3 small vegetable chutney style sambals, a big scoop of rice covered with dahl and a bowl of curry of your choice complete with pappadam all on a banana leaf for 5RM or $1.75 Australian. It is eaten with your fingers. We had two lime juice drinks for 1.20RM or about 40 cents Australian each. Great food anyone can afford.

Nice sea breeze blowing as we walked back to the Shore. Warm but not too hot.