Money makes the world go ’round

Today I received a mail from my sister. And though I knew beforehand this could happen, her question took me off guard anyway.


In Indonesian families is the most normal thing in the world to support each other financially. There is no social safety net, so within your family you just support each other. That’s nice, so I think.

But why do I feel so much resistance then? I’m totally not enthusiastic about transferring money to Indonesia. The amount my sister asks is considerable. Even if I wanted to help out, I cannot even afford it at the moment. Over the past few months my working hours have been 100% filled with writing my book. I’ve hardly had any paid freelance-jobs. And so no income.

I’m not stingy, never have been. And yet I’m going to say no to my sister. No, I’d rather invest in our contact first. In bonding as sisters. Recovered family. We’ve known each other barely two months and the number of mails that we have changed is on one hand to count. I want to get to know my sister and her family first, before I’m becoming this family’s ATM.

It’s a feeling. Even though asking me for a favour in the most respectful way imaginable, my sister has put me in an awkward position. She did not beg. “It is ok if you don’t want to.” But even then. To me it’s purely the fact that she even asked that bothers me. I turned to Ana for advice and know now that saying no is also fine. Or depositing a small amount. But I won’t. It’s the principle that counts. Either I give. Or I don’t. To me my decision and the reasons why I came to that decision are clear.

Now let’s hope my sister will understand.

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