In this section people from across the globe will share a bit of them with you. They talk about one of their
native idioms or sayings, and tell you how it relates to a part of their life. Respect, love, joy and humanity are at the centre of this chapter.
(Pronounce as: Kra-Tai-Mhaii-Chan)
“This Thai expression means Cry for the Moon. It is my favourite because it involves the moon. Every time I hear it, I picture a chilly night and a big, bright and yellow moon in the sky. When I was young, and as many others were young, I believe we had a similar experience looking for a sheer rabbit stamped on the moon as we listen to various tales and bed night stories.
The meaning of this Thai expression is longing for something impossible. In this case specifically, a man fell in love with an out of reach woman. I am not a man, nor am I in love. But I do love the romance that comes with this expression. For me, the rabbit has every right to fall in love with anything he wants. It doesn’t matter if people see him as a fool and even if he was a fool, it is still very romantic to me.
Personally, this saying has nothing to do with being pessimistic. It rather represents freedom of a heart that has a clear, loud voice. And I hope that whoever looks at the moon in the night sky can also feel that freeing energy from it. Feeling in your little right to love, to feel that towards anything or anyone out there. I hope the moon is kind and generous enough for every rabbit out there.”
In this section people from across the globe
will share a bit of them with you.
They talk about one of their native idioms or sayings,
and tell you how it relates to a part of their life.
Respect, love, joy and humanity
are at the centre of this chapter.
Anh đi anh nhớ quê nhà,
Nhớ canh rau muống, nhớ cà dầm tương.
Nhớ ai dãi nắng dầm sương,
Nhớ ai tát nước bên đường hôm nao
“This saying is about a man who travels away from home, but his heart always remains there. He misses the simple dishes the poor in Vietnam usually eat, such as morning glory soup. He misses the girl he loves, who worked hard under the sun.
It’s about the love Vietnamese people feel for their home when they are away from it. Because home is such a special place for us all, and there is no place like it. But sometimes it is only the feeling that we have. It’s a pretty memory. But when you go back, the people, the scenery, the town itself may not be the same. Just like the man from this saying, he misses the hometown from his memory.
I have also experienced this. I have beautiful memories of my hometown from when I was a child. Now whenever I go back home, it’s bittersweet because I realise how much things have changed. I think this idiom conveys the feelings one has for their hometown that is no longer there, the memories that have gone too, and the people one once loved, who have since moved on.”
Initially I wasn’t going to write about those who have already made the big headlines. However, there are a few exceptions like Jay Shetty who I think contribute well to what the Bright Humans project is about, and whose message is similar to what I am trying to convey. After all, this world is full of awesome peeps who are trying to do things differently and shine a brighter light 🙂
We sacrifice our health in order to make wealth, then we sacrifice our wealth in order to get back our health.
– Dalai Lama
I came across a video of Jay Shetty in which he talks about the life so many people in these modern days live. The story I wrote about Augustus Henry(click on his name to read it 😉 ) relates to it in so many ways, because this is what Augi is actively trying to avoid. Not in the sense that he is too good for an office job. No, it is because he sees there is more to his life and what so many of us are missing because we are caught up in this vicious circle. He is making this difference to his life NOW – and so can you. No matter how old you are!
To watch the video, click here!
The pheasant of the marshes gets a peck once in ten steps, a drink once in a hundred. Yet it does not want to be fed in a cage. In the marshes, its spirit is healthy, and consequently it forgets health.
– Zhuangzi 庄子
Most of us know that feeling when you’re told you are not good enough to pursue … (what is your dot dot dot?) Doing something you love to do and being able to win an oscar, is saved for only a handful of us. Obviously we need money to survive, but don’t forget that you are not just living your life to merely survive it. Making time for things you genuinely enjoy doing, may it be art, music, poetry, sports, cooking, anything, is truly important for yourself as well as those in your surroundings. This time on this happy thing pleases you, reenergizes you, and you might be giving others something to enjoy as well. You don’t have to be famous or successful to know your passion is worthwhile; if it makes you happy and a pleasant person to be around, you have already won.
Having said that, I’d like to introduce you to Augustus Henry, aka Augi. An admirable person who has his mind set on his music, and knows this is what he will do in his life. He comes from a community where “bonds between people are strong, be it between family or friends. They will go to any length to support and help each other with little regard to material considerations.” Augi grew up in various cities in the Indian province of Madhya Pradesh. “My dad has been a music lover so I got exposed to a lot of Hindi music through him. It wasn’t until grade 8 that I started listening to proper Western/English music.” In that same year, at the age of 14 Augi got his first acoustic guitar, and that’s when “my true passion for music was roused.”
Insecurity is only a fear. – Augi
In 2016, Augi went to Los Angeles to attend a 1 year diploma in music production and recording at the Los Angeles College of Music. “The very fact that a person like Trump could become president shows just how manipulative the media can be. I remember living with a Mexican guy who was scared to even say the word ‘immigrant’ in his own house, such was the fear of surveillance.” In a society where we are taught to earn money and become the best, we tend to forget about what makes us human – our ability to think and cultivate ourselves to become not the best at our jobs, but to become the best version of ourselves. Augi continues to say that, “I guess creative people are the first ones to stand against divisive policies and I was fortunate enough to have been a part of a very accommodating and tolerating society, my school in LA”
There is something fundamentally honest and psychologically healthy in being oneself and striding forward with one’s vision facing directly ahead, instead of trying at every turn to satisfy abstract standards of goodness established by a reigning orthodoxy. This is what Te/De (德) is all about. – Victor Mair
Ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi believed that being happy with yourself leads to living a most happy life. Doing something you love and enjoy is a key attribute of being happy with yourself, because you are exploring your curiosities and getting to know more about who you are in that moment. Perhaps you have experienced this, that being happy with yourself makes you radiate humble confidence. If you haven’t yet, it is time to put that effort into yourself that you deserve.
Social media has made it easier to showcase your work to a global audience and thus a global market. So just go for it, and stay curious! – Augi
We can see that not only is Augi doing something he genuinely enjoys, it seems to empower him to stand up against things that are going wrong within our society. “I want to keep discovering and making music that gives context and meaning to my own life and that of others. I am always trying to listen to fresh music. It doesn’t necessarily have to be new, more often than not my aha! moments come from listening to old music.” Learning from someone who is doing what so many of us wish to do – doing something we love – Augi believes this is also a cure for modern age ailments like depression and stress. Augi has a structured plan to learn more and become a better musician, starting with discovering more ideas and drawing inspiration from what already exists. We are both not supportive of infringement on copy rights 😉 but many humans have produced many beautiful things. Let them inspire you, let them help you develop your own ideas and skills! Remember that you don’t have to be the best, instead let it help you cultivate yourself.
I believe the ‘dream’ will be built in such small steps. – Augi
Augi has recently gone back to India and is working on his portfolio for music production jobs. He continues to practice his guitar skills, partly through playing gigs with his band Paperboat whenever he gets the chance. “The general idea of India abroad is that it is a country of hard working, smart, spiritual and vegetarian people.” Although much of the current Western ‘awakening’ is largely related to India, the country is much more than that. Once you set foot in India you’ll meet an explosion of colours, smells, and sounds. “I’d say they [the people abroad] are right about the hard working and smart part, probably because they are exposed to a very small fraction of the Indian population which has managed to make a living in countries abroad. But not everyone is a vegetarian.” Augi hopes to establish himself as a successful producer and composer in India, and work with more and more artists from all around the world. “The Indian independent music scene is very small as compared to Bollywood, but I am hopeful that more and more Indians will diversify their choice of music with the growth of independent music.” Becoming famous is not his end goal, “what matters is the quality of work you put in.” It goes without saying that he would like to make a decent living out of his music, but it’s not about the fame. Simply put, it is rather about spending his life in happiness.
Life shouldn’t wait to be lived. Now is the time. Now is your time.
Pursuing your dream can mean you have to work extra hard, because not everyone will believe in it like you do. But you have to ask yourself, when you look back on your life can you say that you made the most of it when you could? Remember that you also don’t need to drop everything you are doing now to chase your dream; just try do a bit of it daily. Trying and failing is not a fail, it’s an achievement. In Chinese we say：加油! (jiā yóu) Which directly translates to ‘add oil’, but which is actually equivalent to ‘go for it!’
Chris Samuels grew up on former FW de Klerk’s farm (FW de Klerk is an important figure who alongside Nelson Mandela put an end to Apartheid and who was awarded, together with Mandela, a Nobel Peace prize for their efforts at reform in South Africa) near the Klein Drakensberg Mountains in Paarl, South Africa. He now lives in Amstelhof, a disadvantaged area in Paarl, “where youth unemployment is high, substance abuse is high, but the crime rate is average. It consists of three informal settlements and the majority of the people depend on social grants,” Chris says. South Africa is well known for its majestic mountains, vibrant cities, and good wine. But it’s also known for its high crime rates, corruption, and high murder rates. “Paarl is a very beautiful city,” Chris continues, “we have the best food in the world and are surrounded by beautiful mountains.” The average education level of his area is grade 9, the education 16 year olds receive in South Africa, drawn from highly educated people and illiterates. He is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, and the way he talks about his goals and hopes for the future are heart-warming, and indeed inspire hope within me. His efforts to keep children off the streets and out of gangs is certainly paying off. Chris started Amharic, his organization and concurrently his daughter’s name in 2004.
“In 2004, Amstelhof was going through a difficult stage involving crime, unemployment, substance abuse, gender violence, gangsterism and teenage pregnancy. At that moment, there was no existing organization dealing with these challenges the community was facing.” His goal is clear. His challenge is huge. But Chris has perseverance and the way he talks about his community further clarifies his undertaking in improving the lives of those around him. “I love the way people [in Amstelhof] are willing to learn and develop themselves and the community. Although this area can be seen as a high-risk area, the community has moral values and pride. People respect each other and are always friendly. Young people are willing to study further and rise above their circumstances.”
“I want to see a world without oppression or slavery, and where all people stand together for building a one human race identity.” – Chris Samuels
Currently, Amharic has 31 people working for it, ranging from Executive members to gardeners, paid positions and volunteers. “God gave me the vision to start an organization that will change the mind-set of our community, especially of the youth to maintain a positive lifestyle and become role models.” Chris achieves this goal a bit every day, by a number of activities Amharic organizes (make sure to read below this post for more details on the activities). I was lucky enough to see him in action when he organized a camp for 50 children in Victor Verster prison, Paarl; the prison Nelson Mandela was freed from. Sleeping next to prisoners the children could see every day, is a method to keep the children out of the cells and show them it’s not a desirable way to live, and certainly not worth any crime. Instead, they danced, sang, performed, and enjoyed their freedom while simultaneously developing their creative skills and forming a community of young individuals who do not want to end up in prison.
“My dream for Amharic is to see it develop as an organization, and give people access to facilities to live out their own dreams.” As such, Chris worked with a respected Dutch lady, Margot van Monsjou, who organized fund raisers and with the raised money donated containers to Amharic. The containers are used for various activities, ranging from art to technology. “This opportunity changed the mind-set of the community, because for the first time the people had direct access to technology. Today, the people from Amstelhof make use of this Amharic walk-in centre.” Chris has allowed the community to continue their studies, jobs, and inspires his community to improve their living circumstances. He hopes that the Amharic centre will become a place for early childhood development, a focal point for job hunters, a studio where artists can release their creativity and record music, paint, and dance. He wants it to become a community park for cultural recreation and activities.
Chris would like to say a special thank you to Dafne, for her continuous efforts in helping Amharic grow, and Amharic’s energetic and motivated members, without whom Amharic wouldn’t exist today. After all, bigger and better things can be achieved together!
“If people can learn that we are all human, no matter our background or circumstance, and if we treat each other with respect, respect will come back to us.” This is what Chris teaches those around him, and what he hopes all the people will recognize one day, too.
If you want to get involved with Amharic you can either donate to the organization to support Chris and his efforts to improve his community, or become an ambassador and help spread the word about Amharic. If you are good at fundraising, you can volunteer to do so and become part of improving the lives of children in Amstelhof. You can even become a board member, locally or overseas, and use your ideas to help Amharic flourish. If you like the sound of that, let me or Chris know.
Youth in culture: Every year, Amharic runs the Set the Stage on Fire cultural roadshow throughout the Drakenstein municipality in Paarl, South Africa. The aim of this show is to involve informal groups (such as dancers, singers) and artists from different backgrounds and communities and give them an opportunity for exposure. Talent seekers are more than welcome to come and visit these shows and scout your next singer, rapper, or dancer! More than 10 different groups perform at these shows. It is a great gathering of talent and motivated youngsters.
Sport development: Amharic organizes Landjie Cricket and a netball tournament for some 12 different teams, in which both seniors and juniors participate. Amharic runs the following competitions: Amstelhof Cup, Freedom Cup, Super Cup, and the Super League. These events form part of the organization crime prevention strategy for youth at risk.