"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Thoughts on The Act of Giving.

I've had just enough time...   to give and to receive...

A tribute to all who gives...

The last two years were the toughest in my working life. It was a mixture of extremes, some of my greatest achievements and fulfillment mixed in with some of the unhappiest moments and heart-breaking failures. There were several junctures during this period of living dangerously when I was more than ready to throw in the towel, to call it quits and walk into the sunset. But somehow I persevere. I made it through to this point, another crossroads in my life. I made it because of friends who believe in me, who stood by me and who needed me to carry on. But I also made it because the act of giving gives me enough strength to withstand the hurts.

To all who empathizes...

I was given the task of setting up a new business/company and to transform another, one in which I had been working for a very long time. In just a year, the new company radically changes the very industry in which it was in and its innovative product became a household name. And it is on its way to be a successful company with modern management and a compassionate attitude towards its workers. 

To all who cares...

But transforming the old company proves to be akin to moving an elephant that does not want to be moved. I pushed and pushed and hurt my back. And to add insult to injury, the village condemned me for disrupting the nature of things. I was the madman for trying to move an elephant. And I underestimated the vindictiveness of dead woods. Their poisons infected all who came near them and in the jungle where they inhabit, they protect themselves with vapors that blinded man of their own follies. Only little Napoleans staking out their little turfs thrived in the swamp of decays. Even with the support of people who believe in me, it was a lonely bruising fight and I came to question what I was fighting for. I have many good reasons to leave and only a few to stay. One of which being a leader of a tribe, I’m duty bound to improve their lots for them but even this has a limit which in honesty I feel I’ve more than fulfilled.

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention
- Oscar Wilde

It was during this period that I made a pledge. If I can last two years, I will put aside a part of my salary enough to donate a kidney machine for the hospital of my charitable organization of choice. Sometimes, when the going got really tough and I was left with little to hang on; the thought that I was not only fighting for myself or even my friends but also for others who needed help was the little extra that helped me got through another day. Another bitter contention. Another injustice. Another insult. The two years had passed. The kidney machine I donated is now in operation in a hospital.

No one has ever becomes poor by giving
- Anne Frank

 Recently, a friend in need wrote me a quote from Oscar Wilde “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”. I thought about that and felt guilty how often my grand intentions did not translate into acts of kindness. I resolve to intend less and try to do more. I’m not a well-to-do man. Far from it. But I’ve enough for my need. And I feel it one really wants to give, then one should give until it hurts. I would like to be one of those really generous soul, one of those that feels only joy when they give. I am not nor pretends to be. When I give, a lot; it also hurts. In the sense that the sum I gave away I could have used it to change a new computer, down payment for a new set of wheels, go on that faraway vacation I’ve always wanted. You get my drift. I can only afford my charity by denying myself some 'wants'. I am not a saintly giver. I gave in spite of sacrifices. But I don’t give for recognition. That kidney machine is donated anonymously. And Thou San is not my real name. This blog is used for both reflection and a record of my journey through Life. 

It is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving
- Mother Teresa

I am a selfish giver though. In the sense, I know the act of giving has its rewards. I am not religious and don’t look for my rewards in the next life. I select my charitable organization carefully, for what they do rather than their belief. Thus, of the two main charities I contributed to; one is a Christian and the other a Buddhist. I believe when you work to helping others, you empower yourself. It makes you feel good. It gives you strength. It gives meanings to your struggle and existence. That was how it gave me the reason to continue the struggle when I could no longer find enough reasons to struggle for myself these last two years. That should be reward enough.

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayers
- Mahatma Gandhi

Now, a new year has come round the corner. It is another beginning. I look at the long road ahead and can already feel the fatigue of the journey. I am not a pessimist. If anything, it is the opposite of that. I’m more of a realist with too much hope to be considered one and too little to be considered an optimist. I know it is a long tough road and I need all the help I can get. So I make another pledge. If I cannot make it another two years than half of something is still better than none. 

So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you
- Charles Dickens

I will leave it with this wish from Charles Dickens to all my readers

“So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you!” 


  1. saoret58, Patricia Speck, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons - Waiting for a new PC :)
    A tribute to all the givers of the world...

    Andrew 62
    the ecstasy of giving ......
    warm wishes for 2014

    Wonderful capture dear friend!
    Happy New Year!

    Hello Thou-San, nice quote and inspiring thoughts. Thank you. Happy New Year to you.

    GlobeTrotter 2000
    Wonderful ! Best wishes for 2014 ! :)

    Paddu Rao
    Hope you will get your PC soooon ! Happy New Year !

    Rebecca Ang
    Giving without expecting anything in return is probably the key - something perhaps we all strive to do, perhaps we have not yet arrived at that point, but we try.
    Glad your old PC is still plodding on till the new one comes along. And glad you will get your new PC soon :)

    Patricia Speck
    Thank you my friend.
    Happy 2014 to you and your loved ones too.
    I hope it turns out to be a great year for you all

    henrhyde (gill) BEST WISHES FOR 2014
    Beautiful presentation -- grand light
    Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

    Thanks you for the wonderful images of 2013 your a gem !!
    And a beautiful giver in you own fantastic way !!
    Happy new year my friend !!!

    Yasmin de light after storm and internet problems
    What a wonderful image and thought my dear friend. A perfect thought to start the year with. And my very happy New Year wishes to you and yours once again.

    Beautiful and thoughtful photos and words, lovely capture!

  2. bjebie added this photo to her favorites.

    1000 Reasons - Waiting for a new PC :)
    A tribute to all who cares...

    Caregivers are a special group who deserve a tribute. You've also left us with another inspiring thought as we begin anew.

    Rebecca Ang
    I agree with your reflections esp when you say that acts of kindness is far more superior. A friend once said that it's harder to be kind than to be smart - how true. And may I add that by giving, we take focus off ourselves and we focus on others. Very often we get overwhelmed and narrow/restrict our thinking to focus only (or more) on our own issues. Giving makes us look up and see what is happening around us, to reach out and to go beyond ourselves.

    Yasmin de light after storm and internet problems
    A beautiful and honourable resolution Thou - I wish you the very best of success with it.

  3. bjebie, saoret58, ana_lee_smith, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons - Waiting for a new PC :)
    No one has ever becomes poor by giving
    - Anne Frank

    Love this image! Looks like you must have been back-stage, or rather, up-stage to capture it, thou. Fabulous perspective & compo!.

    Yasmin de light after storm and internet problems
    A lovely image - like standing on top of a beautiful soft white cloud of kindness

    Rebecca Ang
    I'm re-visiting your blog page again - last night I was way too sleepy to more fully reflect/ponder on your writing. One other point that I thought about. Sometimes, good intentions unfortunately get misunderstood as you've described - you're tasked to do something, you have a good cause that you are working towards but each person may have his/her personal agenda that perhaps comes into conflict with the general good. However, do press on - if our conscience is clear, and if we truly act with integrity - I feel in the long run, people will come to realize what we stand for and the principles we believe in.

    Yasmin de light after storm and internet problems
    Just revisiting you (as I have this little extra time for the moment) to see what other thoughts there have been on this matter and having read Rebecca Ang's comment too - who by the way seems like you a very thoughtful, philosophical and insightful person just reminded me that giving is a complicated concept which also depends on who you are giving to, the receiver's circumstances and how they are using your help. In the voluntary organisations I have worked in one of the important thing to consider besides helping a person is whether or not your are empowering the person for long term. That being that whilst its good to give, you need to take care that in the long run you are not making that person too dependant on you to an extent that they don't get to realise or get to exercise their own strengths and resources. Of course, each situation needs to be assessed properly and people also need to be aware not to eploit the 'empowerment' concept as an excuse not to help a person to their best or at all (which I have known people to do as well). The other thing to consider is the exploitation of givers. There are people or organisations out there who take them for granted and believe they are like endless fountains just there for their own agendas and purposes without regard that the giver is also a person who needs to survive and cope with their own needs.
    Having said all that if it was possible for everyone in the world to think completely selflessly (with honest reflection about themselves) and with consideration for those in need and for the givers - then that would be a wonderful solution. It is good to know there are many people out there in the world who do this.


  4. oola n
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle".
    (attributed to all kinds of people so do not know who really said it first... so I will say... ANON).

    oola n
    the photos ... the play?... are so evocative... the presentation and the capture of it... are well done...
    (looked at your blog site)

    oola n
    I find that interacting with people who have challenges teach one more than any book


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