The value of a complaint

In the past few weeks, I’ve observed different critiques of people who complain all the time.

From Channelnewsasia:

Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman started the ball rolling when he called for “reflection and soul searching” among Singaporeans. Dr Maliki noted Singaporeans had become increasing reliant on an “efficient system” that handles issues on the municipal and national level. He said: “When the lift landing of our flat is not clean … we call the town council; when there are mosquitoes in the neighbourhood, we call the NEA (National Environment Agency) … if things don’t improve, we go to our MPs or tell the media.”

MP for Marine Parade GRC Lim Biow Chuan called on Singaporeans to be more gracious and compassionate and said Singapore is fast becoming a nation of complainers.

Then last week in church, the weekly bulletin spoke about why we should refrain from complaining too much. After all, we who accuse others of things they should do better, we may find ourselves guilty of the same thing. And there are those in the flock who will end up complaining so much that they become scorners and dissenters, causing disharmony and reducing brotherly love throughout.

But of course, it was also mentioned one must be able to rebuke others when godly righteousness calls for it (ie when you know someone is doing something wrong and you have to speak up pronto).

Both views are right, but one is left confused. At which point is one over-complaining? What if the pastor’s sermon put everyone to sleep? What if the Gahmen tells you : “Pay me more so than I can give you more?”

Then one last anecdote: I was doing my daily rant at the lunch table when my colleague and good friend said: “The day Ian doesn’t complain is the day I strike 4D.”

I replied: “I’ll shut up for a minute if you let me share your winnings.”

I complain too much, that is for sure, and I’m not sure if my complain rate has dropped over the years.

But why do people complain? And are the things they complain about worth listening to? If so, does the complainant have a solution and is willing to execute it?

For eg. “Why is my boss an idiot?” In this case, just quit your job lah. Problem solved.

Of course, there are some complaints that can’t be fixed. Eg: “Why am I not born rich?”

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