Thursday, 17 December 2009

Taking stock

If there is anything I have learned from my admittedly busy and eventful life this past year, it is that life does not operate according to the principles of quid pro quo. Kindness, honesty and loyalty are not always reciprocated, and wrongdoing often goes unpunished, but that's okay by me.

The Balinese, whose culture I admire so openly, believe in the balance and exquisite tension between good and evil, rather than the defeat of evil by good. Their philosophy and attitude to life is easier for me to come to terms with, than the idea that everything in the Universe works with mechanical precision and reciprocity and everyone lives happily ever after except the Wicked Witch who, with surprising poetic justice, gets baked in her own oven (Hurray for the Brothers Grimm!)

I celebrated the 31st anniversary of my birth a week ago by donating blood, skipping dinner, and working late all by myself until 2230h. I apologise. That is not entirely the truth. I worked until 2130h, and spent the final hour conducting quality control checks on parcels delivered to me, the beneficiaries of which are refugee children, urban disadvantaged households and street children who attend an intervention/outreach centre.

It is not as lighthearted a task as one would expect. For every 10 boxes filled with shiny toys, school supplies and cavity-causing confectionary, there would be at least one or two filled with stained, used toys and clothes and corporate door gifts like ugly name card holders and even uglier ashtrays. I felt much better after sending out an irate e-mail to chastise those who believed that foisting rubbish on needy children was a noble and generous thing to do.

There really isn't a point to this monologue here today.

I am not going to hold forth on any major issue affecting the world, or present a considered opinion, or talk about my recent activities. (The latter can be found in my 'Savoir Vivre In KL' blog, if anyone is interested).

What I do want to record for posterity is that my priorities have changed in the past 12 months. Each year, as December rumbles to an end, I would draft a list of approximately 50 impossible-sounding resolutions for the coming year.

"I will not fall sick and will not take a single day of medical leave all year", one such resolution stoutheartedly declares. I will spend so many hours volunteering for such-and-such a cause each week, spend this particular percentage of my salary on this particular worthy cause every month, and set this particular lofty KPI for myself within this impossible time limit.

But 2009 has been a year of change and evolution for me, and it has challenged my views about many things, not least myself.

And as I walk into my 32nd year of life, I have only one resolution: That I would fear nothing. I trust my resilience and spirit enough to know that I will bounce back from any setback, better and stronger than before. I know that I can ask for help when the need arises and there will always be friends whose love will see me through the darkest days. I know that no burden is too big for me to bear and no sacrifice is too great for me to make.

As I sit here watching the last rays of sun filter reluctantly into my workspace and the grey drizzle kiss the concrete outside, I know that I can take on whatever comes my way. I'm going to be alright.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blog Swag for Commenters!

Are you a volunteer for any worthy causes? Do you plan to start volunteering soon? Are there any ongoing or future projects you would like to tell us about?

Spread the word, and spread the love! Please leave me a comment at my Savoir Vivre International Volunteer Day blogpost (Please click on the link on the menu bar if the embedded link doesn't take you to the intended post) and you might just receive a set of limited edition, commercially unavailable Green Living bookmarks!

Please drop by with a vote and some feedback, it means so much to me! Thank you!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My Week In Photos and Blogposts

I have been selected as one of the 5 monthly winners of the Blog4FT competition and will be in the running for the final grand prize! Thank you most kindly to everyone who voted for me!

Here is the selected blog entry:
Froggy Encounters in Gasing Hill

Here is the results page on the official site:
Results Page

(If the links don't take you to the intended page, then please copy and paste the URL or click on the link to ***Savoir Vivre KL!*** on the menu bar on your right.)

The Past Week, In Photos and Separate Blogposts:

Sat, 21 Nov 2009: Energy Efficiency Carnival at the PWTC. Read all about it here.

Sat, 21 Nov 2009: Farewell Barbecue Party for Covert Boss. He is in the second photo, seated on the left.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009: Shadow -- not blending in very well with my camouflage bedclothes.

Tues, 24 Nov 2009: Universal Children's Day at my office. Please read the full post here.

Tues, 24 Nov 2009: The children of Bukit Damansara Primary School put up a performance in aid of Save Our Seahorses. Please read the full post here.

Wed, 25 Nov 2009: International Meatless Day. Please read the full post here.

Sun, 29 Nov 2009: Another Sunday spent volunteering at the SPCA. I am pleased to report that the guinea pig and 2 rabbits have been adopted by a young boy who loves animals, had read up on the care of his new animal companions, and paid the adoption fee out of his own pocket money. Thank you to the kindhearted youngster!

Tues, 1 Dec 2009: World AIDS Day in Kuala Lumpur. Please read the full post here.

Please leave me a comment if you have the time! I'd love to hear from you!