be kind.

Guys so something tiny happened like one day ago but I’m still thinking about it, so I thought I’d share. 

I was just having a group sharing session with some church mates and all of a sudden, one of them (a close Friend of mine- we’ll call him Jake) mentions that I was the first girl who ever talked to him in church. 

We all laughed it off and I made a joke about it, but what he said really stuck with me and this is why: I had absolutely no recollection of this. We’d been friends for so long that I had kind of forgotten the “origin story”, if you will, of our friendship. And he went on to say that this friendship he formed with me was one of the reasons he was now able to feel comfortable in the church environment. 

This sounds like such a tiny little thing, but it made a big impact on me because I suddenly realised: 

Everything you do in life affects the people around you in some way. A smile, a “good morning”, a conversation started, a laugh shared- small, simple gestures, but to someone else it might mean a whole lot. I started to talk to Jake not for any particular reason: we were both in the same camp, I was looking for a friend, and I suppose Jake was just there. Like I said, I have no recollection of this, but to Jake, it was significant as I was the first female friend (and one of the first friends) he made in church. 

To me, one of the most underrated roles is that of the supporting character. It is often he or she that starts the action in the play, while the main character merely experiences the effects of it. Scene: main character walks down the street. Stranger runs up to them to return them their wallet they’d unknowingly dropped some time back. Main character bursts into tears, having narrowly escaped losing the money to buy an engagement ring in the form of a cheque which was stored in his wallet. Scene: main character sneezes and finds himself out of tissue. Stranger hands him handkerchief. Main character wipes nose and is saved from looking like an idiot holding his nose for the entire train ride.

It’s a really important role, if you think about it. The ability to affect the story of someone else’s life. Everything we do matters, even if we don’t realise it. So be kind. Be generous. Know that you live not only as the protagonist but also the random passer-by whose presence rather than character is crucial to the development of an ongoing plot. 

Might write more about this later but am way too lazy right now.

project shanah

Hey guys!

Just wanted to talk about a small project my friend and I decided to work on, which we named Project Shanah.

If anyone remembers this post, I blogged about how my friend and I decided to change the world on 19 Jan. That was prompted by a class we attended during which we discussed the murder of a small child by two other children, and my friend was really affected by it. Afterwards, we were discussing how awful the world was and how life seemed so dark and horrible, then the talk turned to social issues. We talked about how privileged we were, to be living a relatively privileged life in Singapore while there were so many people out there for whom it was hard to even get their basic necessities day-to-day.

We were talking about it, as so many people do, and felt all the injustice of life, also as many people do. But we didn’t want to be the people who just talked and talked and never did anything to actively help the situation- I still remember what my friend said (I quote verbatim, so excuse the very local sentence construction): “Can this not be just talk? Can we, like, do something?”

So, we came up with this! It’s currently an instagram-based project, but we might look into other social media in the future.

Yes, those pictures are taken by us.

Shanah (שָׁנָא) in Hebrew is a verb meaning “to change”, so the name of the project is basically “Project Change”.

What we’ll be doing is basically posting little “kindness challenges” every week!

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This would be an example of a “kindness challenge”.

The idea was basically that since we can’t change the whole entire world, we wanted to at least do something to change the bit of the world that we could- i.e., our school (we’re classmates) in the ways that we could- i.e. through encouraging acts of kindness, service, and raising awareness.

We also hope to be able to use Project Shanah to organise some school-based fundraisers, but we are literally in stage 1/100 of implementing the project so who knows what’s gonna happen in the future? Looking forward with optimism though!

Although our initial target was our school, I thought I would write about it here to invite anyone who wants to participate to join us!

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Another quote:

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama

And a final quote:

“So the small things came into their own: small acts of helping others, if one could; small ways of making one’s own life better: acts of love, acts of tea, acts of laughter. Clever people might laugh at such simplicity, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?”

– Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

That was a reminder to:

Cynicism, that youthful exuberance and optimism are not always misguided, and that change is possible and necessary.

Ourselves, that every little thing we do for the good of others matters.

The world, that everything has a beginning, no matter how small that beginning may be.

So yeah! If anyone is interested in this project, we’re posting the first post tomorrow. It’s really just little, five-minute kindnesses- nothing too grand and nothing we couldn’t do on the bus on our way to school or work. Click here for our instagram.

Have an amazing day!