Samseng Zhabor

By Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor

Spending Elon Musk's money

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Samseng Zhabor
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In the latest issue of Splice’s Frames newsletter, Rishad shared the link to a game in which the object is to spend as much of Elon Musk’s money as possible in 30 seconds. You can play it here.
By Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia - Elon Musk, Tesla Factory, Fremont (CA, USA), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38354348
By Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia - Elon Musk, Tesla Factory, Fremont (CA, USA), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38354348
Musk has a fortune of about $160 billion. That’s a freakin’ ridiculous amount of money. The game demonstrates this brilliantly, showing that you could fund the Falcon 9 launch over 2,000 times (basically, I clicked the button to launch it 15x repeatedly for pretty much the entire 30 seconds) and still have billions left over.
That pisses me off, man. It’s grotesque for one person to have that much money, especially while so many others are struggling. Just a tiny fraction of his wealth could change the lives of entire families.
While storming about the neighbourhood trying to complete my Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps a day, I started fantasising about what I would do if I had Musk’s money.
This is, of course, not a fully comprehensive list. It also doesn’t include things like donating to NGOs and humanitarian aid, which should go without saying. But these are the ones that came to mind and offered the most catharsis.
My entire family, sorted.
If I had Musk’s fortune, my parents and my parents-in-law won’t have to worry about work or retirement. Knowing them, they’d probably all still find something to occupy themselves, but the point is that money will never be an issue again. I’d also renovate my parents’ flat, hire a whole bunch of people to pack things up for my mum, then move her into a cushy serviced apartment while all the works are going on.
I wouldn’t necessarily want to support my brother all his life—and I doubt he’d want me to do that—but at least none of us would ever have to deal with financial anxiety and stress, and can focus on pursuing careers that we find fulfilling and meaningful.
A kitten sanctuary
With all that money, I’d be able to put together a kitten/cat sanctuary. There’ll be some staff who’ll keep the place running, but also volunteers who drop by to help out and manage programmes like pet care education and adoption drives.
There’ll be incubators for tiny babies and good, nutritious food, and we’d never have to worry about not being able to afford vet bills for sick kitties. Heck, with that sort of money, my kitten sanctuary will have its own in-house vet and surgery.
Maybe, after the kitten stuff is all up and running, we could expand to taking care of all sorts of other animals too!
No more visa woes!
For the entirety of our marriage (seven years) my husband and I have always had to deal with some sort of visa instability. We aren’t eligible for a spousal visa for me under the UK Home Office’s rules, and we struggled to get a long-term visa with the right to work for my husband here in Singapore.
This would not be a problem if I were as rich as Musk. Governments that worry about things like integration and sham marriages and shit like that miraculously stop worrying about these things when you have money.
And we'd have homes, too.
Of course, apart from the visa issue, we’d also be able to afford property wherever the hell we want. To me, this means a nice big flat in Singapore and a beautiful home in Scotland. My brother lives in New Zealand so let’s get him somewhere of his own there too, and maybe one more where my family can stay when we visit him.
In all my homes there’ll be big bookcases for my tsundoku habit, and cat-friendly furniture with modular cat walls or cat trees. My husband can have his own gym, and the house in Scotland will have a nice big dining room for the best family Christmases ever.
I am admittedly not a domestic goddess so we’ll probably hire help, but they will all be paid living wages and have weekends off.
We’ll not have a car in Singapore, but I guess I’ll bite the bullet and learn to drive for when we’re in Scotland or elsewhere. And then I will buy an electric Smart car.
I went to the Smart Car website and picked the colour I'd want.
I went to the Smart Car website and picked the colour I'd want.
Civil Society HQ
If I had that much money, I’d buy a piece of land in Singapore and build a big complex that will provide super low-cost (or even free) office space for civil society organisations and independent media start-ups, particularly those that would never be able to get funding from the government. I will also have a black box (or two) and theatre that will give theatre companies space to workshop and develop work that they might not get support to do otherwise. Activists will never have to deal with venue operators suddenly and mysteriously cancelling on them ever again.
This centre for activism and organising will have a library, and spaces for groups to run drop-in centres and helplines. The Transformative Justice Collective will operate out of this space, with funding to pay people to coordinate our working groups as full-time jobs. We will still do the occasional fundraising campaign for specific issues because fundraising can also be good for community organising, but we won’t ever have to worry about not being able to afford our own operational costs.
Eventually, once I see how this works out, I’ll buy buildings or land in fast gentrifying cities, and hand them over to my friends who are active in the independent media and civil society scenes there to run as they see fit.
Still a workaholic, but...
I’d probably still be run We, The Citizens since I genuinely enjoy doing it, but I won’t have to worry about getting paid subscribers anymore. I’ll fund my own long-form reporting projects, and only freelance for others when I feel like it.
When I don’t feel like working, I’ll read all the books and watch all the drama I like.
And finally...
…since I will probably still have a lot of money left, I’ll fit the cliche and fund a space programme. I’ll make sure the spaceship is really nice and lux, and then I’ll invite my fellow world’s wealthiest people on a trip to space. They will all get on, lured by the opportunity to engage in techbro pissing contests on board and my promise that we will build our own futuristic space station that’ll play by Silicon Valley’s rules. The spaceship will launch with great fanfare and media attention, which these billionaires will absolutely love.
At the very last minute, I will, for some unspecified reason, fail to board the spaceship.
Once they are all safely ejected into space, I’ll pull the funding and close the programme.
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Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor
Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor @kixes

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