Bonds that Build a Better Ontario
I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an ad for Ontario Savings Bonds, described as “bonds that build Ontario.” The government advertises them as a way to support the province’s investments in hospitals, schools, roads and bridges.
It got me thinking about our own personal investments. For many of us, we are making investments too—investments in a house or in our retirement fund, or in an RESP for our children’s education.
We invest in our families when we buy a larger vehicle to fit our growing family. And we invest in our children when we pay for their music lessons or hockey training. We invest in safety when we purchase alarm systems and pay for the monitoring. And some of us do invest in bonds or stocks as well. There are so many things we invest in.
And perhaps savings bonds are a good investment—I don’t know, because my expertise is not in finances or building strong investment portfolios. The ads make big promises: apparently these bonds are “safe and secure” and “flexible,” are available with “annual or compound interest,” and they “mature” and can be “redeemed.” Apparently they also promote “growth” and “help people in their everyday lives.”
I don’t know how often these kinds of promises come true when someone invests in financial bonds, but I do know that such promises can come true about other kinds of bonds—bonds that also build a better Ontario.
The Irresistible Power of Origins
The other night I watched the movie Lion. Perhaps you have seen it. The movie tells the true story of Saroo Brierley and his family. It has deservedly received a number of Oscar nominations. It’s an extraordinary movie, and it left a real impression on me.
As a young child Saroo lived with his family in a poor part of India. The family had to scrabble together whatever they could just to eat. At the age of five Saroo accompanied his older brother at night on one of his foraging missions. Saroo ended up falling asleep in an empty train car, and as he was sleeping the train left the station. He travelled over 1,000 miles on that train and, when it stopped, he had no idea where he was or how he could get back home.
In Calcutta (where the train trip ended) people didn’t even speak his language. He survived on the streets—as a five year-old—for several weeks, before being picked up by an orphanage. He was then adopted by extraordinary, loving Anglo-Saxon parents in Australia, where he grew up. He grew up well-adjusted and happy into his early 20s. But then he simply had to find out where he had come from. That led to a serious crisis in his life and in his relationship with his adoptive parents.
Every night Saroo scoured Google Earth, looking for some recognizable feature in the landscape that would correspond with the fragments of his five year-old memory of that train trip, and of his home village. Consumed with the need to know, he did that virtually each night for three years, with no success. Meanwhile, his life was unraveling.