Archive by Author

Fighting for Justice

29 Aug

It is only 20 years since we witnessed the beginning of the end of Apartheid in South Africa. It heralded a new era of emancipation for the black community who had for so long been disenfranchised as ‘non-citizens’ under a system of racial discrimination and became victims of repression and state-sponsored violence. We know of the courage and sacrifice of icons such as Nelson Mandela but little do we know of the unspoken resistance of the masses who gave birth to this freedom, those who tirelessly struggled for justice amidst great risk to their lives. We think of Steve Biko, through his writings and activism, and the protestors who lost their lives in the Sharpeville Massacre. All gave some but some truly gave all.

The end of Apartheid was a small yet significant victory for our common humanity, of which we are all inextricably linked, and for justice in particular. Continue reading

Think Often of One and Two

3 Aug

Not long ago I read a passage which I found to be wonderfully wise. Its depth lies in its clarity of thought and simplicity of expression. It was from a book on Confucius, one of China’s famous thinkers and philosophers. I share it with you below. 

May it help you focus on whatever is good in every situation and delight in those one or two things which go your way – every day! 

I once read an essay by the famous Taiwanese writer Lin Qingxuan, about a friend who asked him for a piece of calligraphy to hang in his study. The friend said to him: ‘Write me something that is extremely simple, but which will be helpful to me when I see it every day.’ He thought for a long time, and then wrote just four Chinese characters: ‘Think Often of One and Two.’

That friend did not understand, and  Continue reading

Quote of the Week – Take a Risk

30 Jun

 
“Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it” ~ Chinese Proverb

For thousands of years most seawater pearls were retrieved by divers working across the world’s oceans. The only means of obtaining pearls was by manually gathering large numbers of pearl oysters from the ocean floor. Continue reading

He is Here, He is Near

27 Jun

This is a truly inspiring video by the spoken word poet Amena Brown. Continue reading

Vuvuzelas Parable‏

21 Jun

Our thanks to Jasan for sharing this commentary and poem with SoM.

Now that many of you are engrossed in following World Cup football, I’m sure you wouldn’t have missed the sounds of Vuvuzelas** that are deafening ears.

While many of you may hate its sound volume to be a real irritant, I’ve travelled in the opposite direction to imagine a parable those sirens out of Vuvuzelas bring to the world. Continue reading

What really motivates you?

17 Jun

I’d like to share this animated video of a talk given by Daniel H. Pink based on his NY Times best-selling book – ‘Drive’. Quite remarkable; you just have to see it!

It’s been described as a ‘paradigm-shattering’ look at what really motivates us and how we can use that knowledge to work smarter and live better. 

Continue reading

Quote of the Week – Leap of Faith

16 Jun

 

 

“Leap and the net will appear” ~ Zen Saying

This saying has its origins in the ‘Zen’ school of thought, which means ‘meditation’ in Japanese. So it’s quite apt for this weekly series of musings. The quotes are handpicked from various sources with a view to apply their knowledge and insight. I hope they inspire as well as broaden your horizon. Continue reading

Will You Save the Words?

14 Jun

We’ve heard it said that the key to mental longevity is to always keep your mind open to learning new things. One easy way is to adopt a few new words and use them in your daily conversations. This doesn’t have to mean dusting off your school thesaurus, presuming it passed the bookshelf cull over the years. There’s actually an interesting alternative as I recently discovered. So let me introduce you to Save the Words!

SaveTheWords is an initiative by Oxford Dictionary to save underused English words from extinction. Their sleek website allows you to browse a wall of rare words displayed in colourful fonts. The words will literally call out to be selected! Once you find a word that tickles your curiosity, you can check its meaning or read a sample sentence.

Every year hundreds of words are permanently erased from dictionaries, simply because they are used less frequently (or not at all). They are dropped to make space for newer words. The erosion of our collective vocabulary is not least due to chat-speak and a Twitter culture. Not many use those grand and amazing words anymore (yes, I beg to differ!). So this site allows you to adopt a word and pledge to use it to the best of your ability. How cool is that? Continue reading

Quote of the Week – Thoughts Become Words

9 Jun

 

An analysis of this quote of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tze (meaning “Old Master”). Continue reading

MIA’s “Born Free”: A Powerful Statement

8 Jun

British music phenom MIA’s recent video, “Born Free”, has been labeled everything from ‘shocking’ to ‘controversial’, ‘politically charged’ to ‘thought-provoking’.

The nearly nine-minute-long clip serves as a catalyst for exposing the terrors of war. It’s undeniably powerful, a lurid parable on the systematic ethnic cleansing that goes on all over the world (in many shapes and forms). It’s an unflinching exploration of this reality, as exacted upon red-headed, fair-skinned citizens of a fictional state.

Though boldly explicit, MIA has brought into the open what has been almost a taboo subject. “Born Free” is a direct assault against racial profiling, genocide and state oppression which still sadly exist – in the 21st century! It’s also a not-so-subtle allegory of the conditions faced by ethnic Tamils today in Sri Lanka.

YouTube removed the clip due to its graphic content on the day it was released, triggering an avalanche of publicity. Isn’t this a video the world needs to see? “Born Free” compels viewers to question their own apathy, essentially asking:

What if this happened to you?

Continue reading