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Newsletter: 2018 November

Autumn, a season of the soul!

As we watch the leaves turn and fall (in the northern hemisphere), it is also the time when we realise how fast the year has gone by. As the famous German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) once pointed out that “autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature,” some of us may start reflecting on our journey in 2018. For those who subscribe to Nietzsche’s concept of “AMOR FATI“, (i.e.”love of one’s fate”), I am sure you will learn from what happened in the past ten months with an embracing enthusiasm of acceptance, that you want nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity,—but you simply love your life as it is!

November, the eleventh month on our modern-day Gregorian calendar was the ninth month on the Roman calendar (Novem means “nine” in Latin). Hindus, Sikhs and Jains from most parts of India will celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights on 7th November this year (though some may celebrate it on the 6th), while those in the USA will celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the 22th (the 4th Thursday of November). With those horrible shooting incidents and racist rhetoric around the world, how I wish these hurtful wounds can be healed around a Thanksgiving meal, just like those days between the pilgrim settlers and the native Wampanoag Indians…If that sounds impossible, perhaps we can all at least be mindful as we celebrate International Tolerance Day on this 16th of November, so that we can prevent inflicting further wounds on one another!

“Tolerance is an act of humanity, which we must nurture and enact each in own lives every day, to rejoice in the diversity that makes us strong and the values that bring us together.” – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay –

Now, let’s get August rolling with celebrations, let’s start it with our photo quiz contest:

Where in the world was the above picture taken ?

Result of October’s photo contest:


The photo was taken in Bern/Berne/Bärn. Berna, the capital or federal city of Switzerland. Folk legend says the founder of the city may have named the city by the first animal he encountered – the bear, which is also the heraldic animal of the seal and coat of arms of Bern.

 Click the links below to find out more about Bern:

A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.

As I was driving a friend home this week, I began thinking about what I should write in our newsletter. November was only a few days away, and soon it would be the end of the year!

For those who have spent time in the USA, you know Thanksgiving is a major holiday, and it means a lot to many Americans (the similar festival is celebrated elsewhere, Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia on different dates). Thinking of Thanksgiving, my first thought this year was no longer the perfect roast turkey and the comfy green bean casserole, or even my favourite sweet pumpkin pie, it was a list of whom I should thank, and what I should be thankful for. For someone who loves good food, I suppose I am really getting on to another season of my life with this shift in my priorities…

Throughout the drive, the thought of who I should thank this year kept lingering on my mind. Curiously, I asked my friend to think about hers as well. Adding to that request, I said instead of working on a list for the year, maybe we should also think of a list of all the people we would like to thank through our lifetimes. Would that list be ten, fifty, hundred or even more?

We fell silent as we began to go through our own list. I started to focus on 2018, thinking of those who had been kind to me, who had believed and had given me a helping hand when no one was around. Once I completed my 2018 list, I went back to 2017, 2016, and it became harder and harder. My mind was getting unstructured, and my memory was just jumping from one moment to another.

As a trained engineer, I knew I needed to build a “framework” for this task if I wanted to accomplish it. I then decided to start from the beginning of my life, i.e., on the day when I was born, my list shall begin with the most important person in my life, i.e., my mother, and moved on to my early childhood, then my school years in Malacca, Canterbury, London, and my life in France, in the USA and finally returning to Asia. With that, it became clearer, I could remember people who had helped me at school or at work and later in my personal life. Faces began to pop up, memories started to flashback, a smile came on my face. I felt the joy of beatitude as I finally realised how good life has been to me, that it has always surrounded me with people, there for me at every moment of my life! That day, I arrived home feeling very fortunate and happy!

Now, this November, I shall find time to list out all the people who have helped me, inspired me or have made a difference in me (be it positive or negative). These people were the ones who have helped shape me and made me the person I am today. They were the catalysts that life has put on my path to take me to where I am today. I know, it will take me time and effort to work out my “Thank You” list this year. However, by doing so, I will learn more about myself, and I shall appreciate more about the richness life has given me. I shall see the treasure beyond the mundane measurement of financial or material success.

Friedrich Nietzsche said: He who has a why to live, can bear almost any how! I think, by knowing how I have come to my journey today, I shall know why I exist…a very practical approach of a scientist versus that of a philosopher…

Would you join me to get your list worked out? Wouldn’t you want to say your “thank you” while you can this November? 

 By the way, do you know that there is a World Hello Day? It falls on the 21st of November. To celebrate it, just say “hello” to ten people on the streets on that day. Perhaps It is also a good opportunity to say “hello” too, to those who have made a difference in your life, especially if you haven’t been in touch with them.

Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the ranges…Something lost behind the rangers. Lost and waiting for you. Go! 

– Rudyard Kipling –

To learn about other Cultural snippets festivals around the world, you can also subscribe to TCG’s Youth’s Cross Cultural Competency course:

Happy November and happy retracing on your life’s journey!

A big Thank You to have been part of mine!

For those who may have missed it last month, here is Nat King Cole’s The Autumn Leaves:

There is more that we share in this world than those that divide us!