Prevention Better Than Cure?

Last week was plain crazy. It was the culmination of a month of overtime and overdrive, of a series of unexpected unfortunate events and bad timings. Thankfully, our annual Partnership Dinner went well – at least the feedback from our guests and hosts and stakeholders were gushing with affirmation, despite the fact that our fundraising target wasn’t met!

To be realistic, a million dollars is hard to raise in a night. Especially in the wake of the natural disaster in Japan and the urgent aid that country needs. We weren’t begrudging it as we’ve come to realize that raising funds for preventive work is always more difficult than supporting remedial efforts. Call it human nature or plain logic, but we’re more inclined to respond to an immediate need that’s in our face, than one that we require the foresight to perceive. My husband and I once conducted marriage preparation for a couple who we evaluated to be incompatible.

The lady was higher educated and earned more than the man. I don’t have an issue against wives earning more than their husbands – it has occurred before in the course of my own marriage. But it was obvious in this case that the lady had more grandiose ambitions than her husband-to-be who was contented to stay in a 3-room HDB flat or whatever they could afford, and live a simple life without any frills. The guy was absolutely willing – perhaps too willing – to do anything and everything he could to please the woman. But she just couldn’t let go of all her expectations. She was in agreement with him to stop work once children came along, but still needed (or wanted?) a tai-tai type of lifestyle.

She couldn’t see herself staying in anything less than a condo, yet felt that would be splurging on money they should otherwise save up for their children. It was one of the rare occasions we cautioned the couple against marriage, especially without first resolving the great divide in lifestyle values and expectations between them. They had already gone ahead to communicate to friends and family their wedding plans so, of course, they refused to take heed. A few years later, we received a call from the wife. They were having major issues in their marriage. When prevention is not taken and the inevitable happens, it’s so tempting to respond with “I told you so”.

This week, I was on my way to the office when I received an SMS from two of my colleagues about their dreams the night before. One dreamt I was asking her to bake bread for our donors – a skill she didn’t possess, but a task on which I was very insistent. The other dreamt that Focus had planned a second Partnership Dinner which was just a few days away but she’d totally forgotten.

Post-traumatic stress disorder of sorts? Well, I’m sure there’s something there as well to be learnt about prevention being better than cure!


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