Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Building Awareness for Dakshinayan

I hope those of you who has a blog can write a little post to divert your readers to those posts that I am about to write..... Let's see if we can create a snowball effect. Those who know me would probably know that on my big India trip in 2002, I volunteered for a Development NGO called Dakshinayan. I stayed in a village called Cheo among the tribal communities in Jarkhand and taught the kids some English with 5 other volunteers. It was a lifetime experience for me, I look at everything very differently since I was there. The organisation has been doing great work there, they aim to educate a generation of youngsters to take care of their tribes when they grow up. I have always been hoping to be able to help them somehow. A big contribution to their income has been the "fee" paid by the volunteers like me, though I know the number of volunteers has never been steady and recently they are struggling a bit. For the last month, I have been placing adwords on google on behalf of them. If you type "Volunteer India" on google you might be able to see my ads (if my daily budget has not ran out). I manage to direct 1-2 people to their website daily but it has not been translating into enquiries. The organisor has told me not to waste the money. Though I am not going to give up, I think building awareness takes time, apart from increasing my daily budget on google adwords, I am going to start an awareness campaign for them on this blog.

Once I found time, I will write a few posts about the organisation and the volunteering experience. I hope those of you who has a blog can write a little post to divert your readers to those posts that I am about to write. Please also invite your regular readers who also blogs to write a little divergence post. Let's see if we can create a snowball effect.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Leaving My Old Job to Meet John Wood

and if even I did return with books to set up 9 libraries the next season, would this lead me to quit my job in the hope to make change to the world?I started on my new job this week, finally after 4 years back in Hong Kong, I now work in Central. Kind of childish to be pleased with take, I know most people at my age should have grown cynical about Central, but I found no better opportunity to expand my horizon after the groomy days of Kwun Tong. For example today, I went for a book talk at lunchtime with Martina, and the speaker was the inspiring John Wood of "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World". You may recall from my previous post how much I respect this guy.
We had literally the two best seats of the day, sitting right at the front of the stage, we met the social entrepreneur in real life. The talk very much recounted tales from his books. But this guy was not just inspirational but incredibly funny. (Martina was later recognised by a helper as the woman who laughed seamlessly during the talk.) John started off by congradulation himself by stealing the title of the book "Leaving Microsoft to Change The World" from Bill Gate. And he is happy to trade that with millions of dollars for donation.

Then he recounted his begining of this post-Microsoft life. "How many of you have been trekking in Nepal?" We stood our hands up proudly. Though if a Nepalese headmaster said "Perhaps one day sir, you will return with some books." I wondered if I would responded the way John did, and even if I did return with books to set up 9 libraries the next season, would this lead me to quit my job in the hope to make change to the world? That is what makes him so incredible. Room to Read now opens more library then the post-IPO Starbuck is opening coffee chains around the world at the same age.
there will be many people in this world to tell you not to take the risk, but they are not necessary the people that is worth listening to
Then he recounted some of his favourite stories in his books and finally left us with a picture that was taken last week, it was the once bookless libary that he first visted in Nepal, it is now a brightly decorated modern reading room, with books, magazines, maps and globes. One that is impossible for me to imagine the himalayan paddy rice fields were just beyond those windows.

Finally at the Q&A session he repeated those words in his books "If you have a passion, just get out and follow it.....there will be many people in this world to tell you not to take the risk, but they are not necessary the people that is worth listening to."

So once again, go and read this book, if you don't want to buy one, borrow one of the two copies that we now own.

P.S. If you want to get involved with Room to Read, read here.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Library Thing

I discovered a newsite for book lovers called The Library Thing, how to describe it, remove the shopping function of Amazon but keep the review platform, then integrate it with Flickr's tag function and allow people to join "Groups". Thus I have spent sometime trying to add the books I have read in the last 5-6 years to "My Library" and have a tag cloud for books that I have read:

Once I have done that, the site were able to recommend new books for me to read, tell me other users who shares similar reading interest, thus I can browse their library. The thing that I enjoyed the most was being able to see the front cover of the books lined up on the screen, especially on some of the topics that I enjoyed the most, like:
Mountaineering & Adventure


After looking at them again, I had the impulse to buy another mountain literature, just put in an order on The Villain: the Life of Don Whillans by Jim Perrin. It shared the 2006 Boardman Tasker Award.


Week 1 of Recovery

It has been more than a week since I was discharged from hospital, thankfully the new job don't start till next week, so I got plenty of break before having to fight my way through crowded bus to Central with a plaster hanging at my chest. Life as a single hand cripple has not been as bad as I have imagined, I can do most things with one hand as I have learned. Taking a shower was probably the worst, I have to held my injured arm up for as long as 10 mins, while the right arm was doing all the yoga movement, to get to every part of the body (just imagine cleaning your right arm pit with you right hand!).

I am a bit worried with the muscles on my left arm, they now cramped quite often due to lack of movement. Not much I can do until the plaster is off, of become smaller in my next checkup. By the I am fully recovered, I will give Outrigging a try, may rebulid my arm muscle quickly.

I was completely hooked to a Japanese comic called "Death Note" (死亡筆記). The second film based on the comic has just been released, but as always, the comic is much better. In case you didn't know the story is about a note book dropped by a Reapper to Earth, any person's name written on it will die within 40secs. The guy who picked it up started to use it to punish criminals in order to create a utopia. A top detective who is only known as "L" secretly investigate the series of crime. Both characters were highly intelligent and began a dog fight of mind games to fish each other out. I am down to the last volume today, can't wait.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Disaster Struck Again

Just got back from a 3 days spell in the hospital with some steel plate and screws added to my body. It has happened again, I had another mountain bike accident but a more serious one this time. I won't even gonna put down any narratives to make it sound adventurous. It just went out of control, I fell and landed on my arm first. I broke one of the two bones in the forearm. The two ends of the fracture was completely separated and it needed an operation to patch them together with plates and screw.

It was plain stupid for me to mess up my body like this and caused so much trouble for my girlfriend and parents to spend their time taking care of me. Lucky for me they were there when I needed them, the 3 days passed very quickly. Every visiting time I can count on them being there to cheer me up, I was never too down.

Now I have 2-3 months of recovery period in which I won't be able to exercise, I have some time to think about what I really want. Doing all these adventurous sport is fun, but not for the price of losing a limp or two, I am not a thrill seeker, I just like overcoming my own limit. Clearly two major accidents in 5 months means that I should stay away from mountain biking, but if I do that, adventure racing is also out of the window. Something I am not willing to let go.