“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness”

The video is an animated adaption of an excerpt from George Saunders’ convocation speech last year. His full speech is available here. I really like how he describes failures in kindness as being “those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.” We […]

Down on luck

I passed a woman on the street last week while walking home from work. She looked to be in her early 30s and she held out a cardboard sign to the street with a messy scribble that read: “Sometimes, women need help too”. The sign struck me because the woman described her need as being not for money […]

Breaking the ceiling

My younger days as an aspiring classical pianist taught me two unexpected lessons about life. The first lesson was about grit and how to ‘stick’ with something when things became difficult, frustrating or – worst – boring. I learnt very early on that you cannot cheat your way around hard work and practice, and that there was no […]

We, humanity

I recently stumbled upon the Humans of New York project, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite blogs. I love how an unpretentious photo and a simple caption can capture something so poignant about a person. Strangers suddenly become familiar and real through the small glimpse that we take into their lives, their struggles, their disappointments and their hopes. Humans […]

The art of writing

When I was about 14 years old, my (then) English teacher commented on my lack of “natural talent” in the subject. I was four when my family moved to New Zealand, so I was as fluent as a child could be in English by the time I was eight or nine. But in the back […]

Doing good

Two years ago, I travelled to Indonesia to learn about alternative methods of delivering education. Education – and its ability to empower – had captured my interest for a long time. From the high school teachers that instilled in me the confidence to pursue seemingly impossible dreams to the piano students I fondly watched grow […]

Moving mountains

Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most […]