[New Project] Stories For Life

Hello strangers and friends :)

About two weeks ago, I learnt from my friend – who is working as a human geologist with an indigenous population in Northern Thailand – that a flash flood struck the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp (which had an estimated refugee population of 19,512 in 2008) and homes, NGO and CBO buildings, schools, TBC warehouses, roads and bridges were all affected by the flash flood.

News: http://reliefweb.int/report/thailand/flash-flood-ban-mai-nai-soi-camp

25 houses affecting 99 persons were completely destroyed and will need to be rebuilt. Landslides have also created unstable conditions for other houses within the camp which affects a further 44 people. Inhabitants of these unstable dwellings, as well as the aforementioned 25 families, are now staying with friends and relatives.

Amongst them are 118 children who have lost their school. To help them go back to school, I’ve started a new charity project in collaboration with Actseed (who recently launched 100 Verse, One Heart) to raise funds by designing and writing a book.

What’s the project? We all grew up listening to different stories that teach us different values in life. And every single one of us – depending on which culture and country we come from – has a different story to tell. This project will put together an English storybook for children, with 25 local stories from 25 different countries. Each story will be accompanied with illustrations, in partnership with our designer friends. The book will then go on sale, and funds will be used to procure and deliver 118 “School Starter Packs” to Ban Mai Nai Soi. Additional funds that we receive will be used to support the rebuilding of the school.

What do I need from you? A folklore from your country that teaches a positive moral value from these 9 themes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. They should be retold in your own words, and not exceed 300 words. New ones are also welcome if the story is compelling. Here’s an example from Paulo Coelho.

What if I can’t write? You need not be a writer to have a story. We will team you up with professional writers to produce the writing of the story. :)

What do I get out of this? Two free copies of the book delivered to your doorstep, your story, name and country immortalised in print, and lots of thanks from the entire team and the villagers in Ban Mai Nai Soi!

I’m keen. How do I contact you to find out more? Email us at hello.actseed@gmail.com, and will furnish you with more information, details on how to proceed, and get this started! :D

What if I don’t have a story, but want to support this project? You can (1) be a Contributor by donating $10 – and have your name and country imprinted on our page of Special Mentions (link here) (2) share this with your friends – who knows, they might have a story! (3) buy our book, when it’s out!

We’ll be posting updates on Facebook, so follow Actseed.co on Facebook, or follow my blog for the latest updates. :)

Thank You!

Dawn

dear august

dear august,

it seems i have found some bearings, and time, to start writing again after a five-month lull. i have put up new things at the fig tree.

i have also changed. in the way i view the world, the way i view things (like money, fame, beauty), and the way i view myself. i’ve slowed down in my life, and in my stride. i’m trying to put 1 John 3:16 into practice.

this is what they call a new season? or just growing old. or am i spiritually maturing.

strangely what often comes to mind are the people i’ve hurt.  i think about what i could have not done. and about my younger, conceited self with the focal point always on me. it was all about how i felt, what i thought, what i wanted to do. i am sorry. really. and by sorry i mean i won’t do it again.

not that (any of) you would want to come into my life again, i understand. it’s ok, i don’t expect it.

i have also been thinking about love. not sexual, romantic love. but spiritual, agape love – the look outwards, not in. the focus on others and not self. without expecting anything in return.

i am blessed to be living in a country with no civil conflicts, economic strife, war, disease outbreak or natural disasters. i have a home, a family, a job. most of the time, what i fret over are first-world problems: what to have for lunch, what should i do with the weekend, should i spend a few thousands on a new watch, where to go for the next holiday.

and while most of us feel sad and disturbed when reading about people dying and suffering in distant lands (especially of the conflict in iraq/syria/israel/gaza), five minutes later we are thinking: what’s for lunch, or laughing at a cat video online.

we’re back to the loop of self-focus.

humans are ironic. many of us seek happiness, and yet we seek it through a constant assessment and revision of our circumstances. if contentment leads to happiness, then our behaviour is all backwards.

“生在福中不知福”

the question though, really is: how can i put this all into practice. i hope that my next post will be an update on some actionable steps.

:)

 

so what are you going to do with the money?

It used to be about the paper chase. Grades at PSLE, ‘O’ Levels, ‘A’ Levels, and the GPA you were getting out of classes in the university. But as I grew up, I realised that there was more to this obsession with grades – it wasn’t just about competing with your friend on who got the A+ or the Dean’s list, it wasn’t just about acquiring more knowledge to make better sense of the world around us, it wasn’t just about graduating valedictorian so you could have your 15 minutes of fame before the entire school.

There was a different kind of education going on, a more insidious kind, conditioning us to be competitive, to be selfish, to have more than the person next to you. And at the core of all this was money. Money, money, money. The more the better. The easier the merrier.

And what do we do with all this money? We spend it on ourselves, of course! To purchase status symbols, to eat at the better restaurant, to go on more and more luxurious holidays – so we can show our friends, family and peers that “I am better than you“. That is how our world today defines success. A never-ending comparison of me versus them. And then, we die.

And nothing goes with us.

 

Self-Righteousness & Petitions

What good does it do, but drive those who are already alienated further away from the way, the truth and the life?

 

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The Grass is Greener…

The Grass is Greener...

A visual journey of Yuhui’s sojourn in New Zealand.

Date a girl who reads

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.” – – Rosemary Urquico

Source

Aside

I just wanted to say hi. That I am still here. I am trying to write, but not finding the words.