Story About "Wang Sinawang"


The phrase "Wang Sinawang" (or sometimes "Sawang Sinawang") is a Javanese proverb which literally means "look at each other". It refers to a condition when someone sees other's life is better than his/hers. For example, Markonah may see Juminten as a beautiful woman, blonde hairs, and rich. But Juminten also sees Markonah as a talented girl, having good personalities, lot of friends, etc. Markonah wants to be like Juminten, and vice versa.

Sometimes the phrase "urip kui mung" that comes before many Javanese proverbs is also seen together with "wang sinawang". "Urip kui mung" is literally means "life is only....". So, "urip kui mung mampir ngombe" means "life is like stopping by to drink" (life is short). This happens a lot when we talk about wealth, jobs, looks, or lifestyles. Sometimes we think that life ain't fair, God doesn't exist, and we don't be grateful for what He gave. We feel unhappy for what other people have. We ask for more and more. We are greedy and become greedier.

One time I watched Oprah giving a test to all her audience. They had to choose the happiest person between several people who have been tested with a "happiness test". Here they are (I copied from the original post)

Peggy is a 44-year-old married mother of two teenage boys who works as the bookkeeper of the family business. Last year, both her father and her sister died, and her mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Noreen is a 52-year-old divorced mother of two college kids. She's an avid swimmer and works in the operations department of a major airline.

Lachelle is 27 years old, married and has no children. She works two jobs and has two dogs. Last year, four of her friends and two of her family members died within six months of each other.

David is 53 years old, and he's been a funeral director for 30 years. He is married and has two sons.

Lorrie has been married for 15 years and has six children. She works in retail and also serves as the vice president of her PTA.

Which one of them do you think is the happiest?

You will be surprised that David (who deals with dead body most of his time) gets the higher score! His job doesn't define his happiness level. Sometimes I think it's not about money, because we see people who get difficulties spending it. It's not about marrying the most gorgeous woman, because we see people divorce although they look like a couple in love. It's not about having so many houses or luxurious cars, because sometimes we see them end up in a jail.

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