Saturday, April 10, 2010

I am (not) a public speaker

Hi guys. I pretty much screwed up what I wanted to say today for sharing about my reflections on going to the 2 trips to Maesot, and I figured I needed to do more justice for all the wisdom I gained while I was there. So here I am now posting what I should have said. I am a much more eloquent writer than speaker HAHA.

Anyways, for those uninitiated, I participated in the 2008 and 2009 humanitarian trips with Firefly Mission (FFM) to Maesot/ Maesod, Thailand. I remember being very excited during my first trip to Maesot. The feeling was that of being part something bigger, that meant something. At each village we visited, I’d ask my dad ‘What went on here?’, ‘What is this place?’, ‘What are we going to do now?’. The bumpy rides, the cold mornings and showers, local food and tongues—the excitement never wore out. I was like a hyperactive child on a trip to some previously unknown place. Like how that child tries to turn over every stone to find some new toy to play with in this foreign land, I took this opportunity to soak in every sight, smell, and taste that Maesot had to offer. Granted I wasn’t fluent with the local tongue at all, but one need not be an artist to appreciate art, nor a poet to read good poetry. The feeling that somehow I am part of a group that made a difference was what was great about the whole experience. I went back 10 days later wishing I could stay there longer.

In my 2nd year, the opportunity rose once more for me to visit Maesot again. Knowing what I’d see this year would be of little difference to last year’s made me less jittery with excitement, but no less apprehensive of the day that I would take off to Maesot once again. As we travelled across the mountains from village to village, I was much less excited about ‘what’s new’, and was more in-tuned and was definitely more of ‘living-in-the-moment’. Although I’ve been to most places twice, and seeing them again didn’t quite excite me as it did before, this trip did however hold no less surprise for me than it did before. This time, it was not the new experiences that took hold of me, but my own reflection of myself that made the trip just as, if not more memorable. Without the excitement to distract me, I was better able to reflect. I realized that although what FFM does is indeed remarkable, I personally have no part in the making of such a difference. I was barely a small cog in the wheel. I did not participate in the organization of such a project, nor did I help in the assessment and distribution of aid. This time I felt small, insignificant. What have I done to be a part of this? This trip is nothing more to me than a holiday of sorts, albeit to an exotic location. I was not there to help. It was then I realized what I was there for: to observe.

This realization made me much more aware of my boundaries and in doing so, helped me realize my capabilities as an individual. I did not go there to help. My role there was to take whatever lessons that were taught, whatever lessons what I have learnt, and firstly, apply that to better myself. I may not have understood everything, and I may not have helped anyone, but there was still something I could do. In the words of the Buddha, it was something like Karma: The seeds have to be sowed first. Then given the right conditions, the seeds of the karma what you have planted will bear fruit. The trip to Maesot has made me discover a lot about myself and the world I live in. Clich├ęs can be said over a million times, but their truth cannot be felt by mere words alone. Although the places I visited in Maesot were more or less the same, however the same thing cannot be said of my experience there. If the opportunity arises again, I will be returning to Maesot soon, ready for more.


On a side note, I hope Dr Ng's sharing today inspired you to reach out and grasp the opportunities that are there for you to immerse yourself in what the world has to offer. If you feel deeply about the topic at hand and want to donate, I have the "Can of Hope" of which Dr Ng spoke off. I can bring it to SBM for you to do some dana for those in need:D

Hope you guys really enjoyed today's session. I am really thankful Dr Ng (and a few of the FFM exco) made time to come down and support the sharing with their presence as well (yays!!).

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