Compiled by KRISTIE THONG
Meet the varied personalities behind some of micenet ASIA’s valued contributors, faced with a burning question: What would be the first thing you do if you received US$1 million today?
If US$1 million just falls on my lap without me having to lift a finger to earn it, I will split it into three parts. The very first thing I would do is to donate 10 per cent of the amount to charitable organisations – those that help orphans or needy kids. I believe in giving opportunities to the needy by providing education.
Then I will see to the needs and wants of my family members – my dad, older sister, niece and son – and fulfil their needs. Whatever they want, I will source for them. Depends on how much I have left from the second part, I will use the last part to travel to visit magical places such as Machu Picchu and Galapagos, or go live in Australia or Italy’s Tuscany for a year or two and come back as a fat wine connoisseur lady.
I would immediately pop open an ‘82 Chateau Latour and savour its bouquet, the fullness and maturity of three decades of cellaring a tease for the wonder lurking inside. Such a wine naturally needs time to breathe, time I use to consider the industry I’m fortunate to write about, one that like a fine claret has also matured over the last three decades. Today it rewards as much as seeks its own rewards, human connections are pivotal to its success, CSR is way beyond marketing or a tick-box exercise… when suddenly those million dollars (minus one bottle of fine wine!) springs to mind. The industry has rubbed off on me – this is my opportunity for improved human interaction, for CSR. Although the world offers many options, we have an abundance to choose from here in a Europe currently re-defining itself, and a million is a useful start. Eco-farms in Portugal, renewable energy in Ireland, Greek orphanages… all good causes best determined by bringing people together, brainstorming, hammering out great ideas… in short, by meeting. And in today’s world what better ROI can there be than belief and hope, smiles and hugs? I’ve worked up a thirst thinking about the possibilities. Oh, do excuse me, I’ve poured my first glass…
First, I would fall on my knees and thank God for this great blessing! Then I would sit down with financial advisers to devise a way where I can invest half of the money so that it becomes self-sustaining and can see me comfortably through my retirement years. A percentage will go to supporting several foundations that work with the environment, animal welfare, education and livelihood opportunities. Whatever is left will be for me to enjoy life with family and friends, especially travelling which I really love to do. No plans to buy a new home or fancy car for me. I am likely to maintain the same lifestyle choices I have now, except with more means to pursue them.
First thing, I would call my Mum back in Australia. But after many years of practical jokes, I don’t think she would believe me – it would take a lot of convincing… Something like photographic evidence of me frolicking in a mountain of $20 bills would suffice.
Jokes aside, I believe that with wealth, like all forms of power, comes great responsibility. Wisely invested and properly managed, US$1 million would be enough for me to travel the globe and live an idyllic, nomadic lifestyle without the constraints of finding permanent work. From the savannah in Africa to the jungles of Asia and the glaciers of Patagonia, I would live my snail-like lifestyle with all of my worldly belongings in a pack on my back.
Yet with this freedom I would want to commit my time and talents to the charitable causes that I am passionate about. I am an advocate for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and believe that one day people will endeavour to protect animals from exploitation in the same manner. I would see this money as a way of dedicating myself to both of these causes.
And just to balance things out – I’d invest in a Stella McCartney Falabella Chamois Tote and her fabulous Linda Patent (Faux) Leather and Leopard Print sandals. After all, I’m carrying all my worldly possessions on my back, so every single one would be FAB-U-LOUS.