Tag Archive | passion

Of regrets and lessons from Malala Yousafzai

Regrets are like dreams, we all have them. If I would be asked of my greatest regrets, I can easily identify three: 1) taking my education for granted 2) abandoning my love of and talents in art (if there is any — see I don’t have confidence!) 3) not writing often.

There are a few women I adore and look up to. These women have their own distinct character. But, there is one thing they all have in common; they live life to the fullest by passionately doing the things they love.

Thoughts of them inspire me. Their words fuel me. But their presence is like a mirror. It compels me to see my reflection; to see a wandering woman who does not have a clear grasp of what she wants to make of her life.

I like to write or create works of art because I’m hopeful that they can channel positivity, joy and inspiration to others. My attempts to create a piece, however, were always hindered by my hesitations that it will ever make any difference even at least to one person.

Recently I read the story of Malala Yousafzai, a very young — she’s only 14! — and brave Pakistani activist for girls education who was gunned by the Taliban. Even before I fully read her story I already knew she was going to open new perspectives for me.

Photo credit: thedailywhat.tumblr.com

Young Malala Yousafzai showed me one more thing those women I admire have in common. They are all privileged women. They were sent to prestigious schools. They live in a society where they can exercise their freedom. They came from a family that can provide whatever they need to pursue their dreams and chosen careers.

Malala, on the contrary, live in a war zone; a village away from the city. She didn’t have as much access to technology that can facilitate better learning. Education to her comes with a great price, her own life.

As I reflected on her story I came to appreciate the blessings life has bestowed on me. What is missing in me is the recognition of the gifts I had been given to fulfill my life’s purpose. My failure to recognize these gifts caused me to live an idle life, always short of motivation.

Malala risked her life for the cause she strongly believes in while I spent mine regretting what I could have done in the past. While she fights for her life at the hospital right now, I would like to pay my simple tribute to this brave young girl by redirecting my life and making the most of what I have.

Her mission may be for the children in Pakistan particularly for girls to be allowed to go to school but her story can serve as inspiration to all other women in the world. She is teaching us to live not just for ourselves but more for others. She is teaching us not to allow anything stop us from pursuing our passion. She is teaching us to stand bravely in a world full of threats to put us down.

I am praying for you Malala. Thank you for being an inspiration.

Think different

Today’s inspiration. “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Volunteering in relief centres: things to keep in mind

Little girl packing clothes

The flooding in Thailand has left thousands of people homeless and in danger. While a lot of people particularly those in safer zones were busy discussing how things came about and who to blame, others were busy volunteering at evacuation and relief centres. We decided to join the latter.

On Saturday off I went with friends Anake Lekkon and Nesszi Lapin to Don Muang airport to help pack goods for the flood victims. Being a VSO volunteer not so long ago, I thought I was ready – just a T-shirt, short pants and slippers – then I realized there are a few things that I should bear in mind. These may be simple but still worth sharing.

What to bring
When our mind is too focused on what we can do, we tend to neglect what we can bring. With houses submerged in water, some people have barely anything so bring whatever you can. This is the best time to clean your closet and let go of things you haven’t used for the past years.

When we reached there, the first thing I got involved with was unpacking  cartoons and packs. How I wished then that I had brought my cutter, it would have made the job a lot easier and faster.

Comfort is one important factor to be able to work efficiently. So, bring a mask as there will always be different kinds of odor to deal with. Better yet, have a menthol inhaler in your pocket. Don’t forget your handkerchief and for ladies, anything to tie your hair. It also pays to bring a band aid.

What to wear
Wear a T-shirt bigger enough to allow you to move comfortably. For ladies, this helps when you have to squat. Shoes will allow you to move or run quickly than slippers and it can protect your feet better too.

What to do
This actually never crossed my mind before I went there because I expected that we will pack goods. However, when we reached there we were greeted by a crowd of people – and I mean massive crowd. Some were busy working but a lot just stood there without doing anything. The manpower was not maximized and it was not very systematic.

A little boy collecting nylon ties and garbage

In this kind of situation, just try to use your initiative and start working without being told. You don’t need to have a specific task. In my case, I went back and forth distributing and tying sacks, carrying packed goods and even gathering trashes. Just try to help the other volunteers do their job more efficiently and easily.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the ThaiHealth Relief Centre instead. As there weren’t as many people as there were in Don Muang airport, the organisation staff were able to manage the volunteers and gave us specific tasks to do. Our group, composed of friends from the Youth Engagement Summit Nyo Min Ko, Pimsiri Danphitsanuparn and Ruby Manchada,  made EM (Effective Microorganisms) balls which will be thrown unto the flooded areas to reduce water pollutants that can cause the spreading of diseases. We learned that sending donations to ThaiHealth is better as they send them off to the affected areas right away.

What we did last weekend were just simple acts of kindness to our affected Thai brothers and sisters. But these little acts when put together can already make a difference. After all, caring for others is more meaningful when it becomes a verb.

ThaiHealth Relief Centre
BorBorSor Bldg, near Paholyothin Soi 3. By BTS, get off at Sanampao Station. Get out at Exit 3 and walk towards Aree for about 100 meters. The center will be on your left. For more information, call Ms. Patsy Tapasan at 0898148800