“Let all your efforts be directed to something, let it keep that end in view.”
- Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher, c. 4 BCE -65 CE -
I hope Seneca’s wisdom above will help us kick-start 2021! Having an end in the plan does not guarantee one will reach it, but not having it in mind is sure one will not.
2,066 years ago (45 BCE), Julius Caesar decided to change the traditional Roman calendar to the Julian calendar. That was the beginning of New Year’s Day on January 1. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, decades begin with the year ending in the number “1” and finish with a “0”. So, we are starting a new year and a new beginning of a new decade!
Just like every year, the Christmas spirits continue with Christians celebrating Epiphany on the January 6 (if you are French, or celebrating with French friends, you will enjoy the fun of the delicious frangipane “Galette des Rois.” By the way, I have mine ordered!). Remembered? for the Orthodox Christians, they will celebrate Christmas on January 7, so you get a second chance to celebrate Christmas if you have missed the celebration last December.
This year, the third Monday falls on January 18. Our American friends will honour the birth, life and dream of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. on the day (I love his “I have a Dream” speech!) while our friends from India will celebrate their National Day on the 26th and those of Hindu faith will celebrate Thaipusam the 28th.
Happy 2021 and Happy January!
A glass half-filled or half-empty?
2020 was a year unlike any others. Last month, I shared the three words (Pandemic, Divisions and Collision) that came to mind as I reflected on the year. I mentioned I would share the three other words that also crossed my mind in January (Kindness, Virtues and Connection.)
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Raised with Eastern philosophical root, I always embrace duality (Ying and Yang) when examining life’s happenings. As Winston Churchill said when he worked with other world leaders to form the United Nations after WW II: ” Never let a good crisis go to waste!” How useful his insight can be for all of us, considering the chaotic events the world had to go through in 2020.
To me, the three words above were the direct results of the earlier three shared in December. In times of a crisis, we get to see the best and the worst of humanity. While some leaders acted deplorably by not taking the necessary actions, we also witnessed many who stepped forward and took duty above self to care for others during the pandemic. From frontline professionals, scientists, governments, and ordinary folks, we continue to hear many stories that demonstrate kindness, compassion, solidarity, duty, and other moral virtues that deserve loud applause.
Hidden behind the alarming statistics, Covid-19 is a wake-up call to crush our assumption that we are above all that is around us. According to scientists, HIVs, SARS, Bird-flu and now Covid-19 were the results of us disrupting our ecosystem’s natural balance as we build our megacities.
Due to pandemic lock-downs, unknowingly, the digital or virtual world has quickly become part of our life. Today, more of us than ever rely on digital devices to communicate and connect. While our earth may have resulted from a massive “Big-Bang” collision, we should pay close attention as this new virtual world’s come crashing into our conventional world. Unchecked, an over-reliance on an absorbing digital lifestyle may cause a retreat from our real world. If the pandemic can teach us something, it is to caution us that we should always find a balance in all things. Therefore, we need to continue to cherish our human connection.
Hopefully, 2020 will remind us how critical it is for us to respect all beings and appreciate the kindness and virtues that matter most to our hearts. While there was divisive rhetoric in some parts of the world, there was also unity amongst people to retaliate against it. In 2020, we have seen a rising commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in business. With this heightened awareness, it may help us build a better future for the world. Looking back, I thank 2020 for every lesson it has brought us. Harsh, challenging, but necessary if we human wish to survive and continue to evolve on this planet!
May the lessons we learnt in 2020 guide us towards a brighter 2021!
We, at TransCultural Group (TCG), are determined to play our parts in making the world a better place, and we have teamed up with the Cultural Intelligence Centre, U.S.A to bring their well-researched and designed CQ assessment tools to our clients in the Asia Pacific.
We are passionate about building bridges and breaking down walls. Please join us in this journey.
Beyond Boundaries – Crossing Cultures
The world is fascinating, simply because
Spread the words, share the vision, do our part!
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO