“ For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
- Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionist, Nobel Prize laureate,1918-2013 -
Every once in a while, giants live amongst us. The steps they took led to leaps in humanity, and they inspired many generations long after. The United Nations has designated July 18th, the birthday of Nelson Mandela, as an International observance day to pay tribute to his advocacy in bringing equality, dignity, and solidity to his world.
There are several other “big” days in July. The United States of America and France will celebrate their national days. To my friends and mes amis: Happy 4th of July, and “Bonne fête Nationale” on the 14th!
While the whole world will watch apprehensively about how the Tokyo Summer Olympics are slated to begin on July 23rd, perhaps we should remember the anxiety of those in front of their newly bought television sets some 52 years ago. On 21st July, 1969, many watched Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon and said, “That’s one small step for ‘a’ man, one giant leap for mankind.”
This month, why don’t we each take a step, be it small or big? We can all join the giants and make our world a better place!
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Since young, I was always drawn to ancient maps. When I was living in London during my undergraduate days, I enjoyed looking for old maps in the antique shops along King’s Road. Today, I have two world maps on my walls reminding me of my dream to travel the world.
Now, what if I were to tell you that all the maps I have seen had been wrong? Take a look at the world map below. Did you know that fourteen Greenlands could fit in Africa?
If you did not, just like me, you have been duped! Indeed, all the maps we are so familiar with are wildly inaccurate. To understand the technicality of why we do not have an accurate map of our world, you can watch this 5-mins TED-Ed clip: Why every world map is wrong – Kayla Wolf
“ People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth.”
– Roberto Bolaño, Chilean novelist, 1953-2003 –
Now that we know, “what we see may not be what it is after all.” Will that change how we react when interacting with others? Should we hold onto the “never compromise” attitude? What if our “truth” is not everyone’s truths? Take the world map example; the truth for so many is even far from the absolute TRUTH!
Well, it is for us to ponder in a world filled with divisions and controversies – in our everyday activities, especially when dealing with people of different “cultures and mindsets.” Lest we are misguided by our own “truths.”
A special “Xtra” for this month:
To celebrate “Bonne fête Nationale” with my fellow French, here is a clip to bring the charm of Paris and the river Seine to you.
* Merci, SY, for sharing the Frenchbien site with me. This movie I watched years ago brought back fond memories! And, wow, almost 55M views on YouTube!
For those who would like to sing along, move a little, and feel a bit “Frenchie,” here is the lyrics:
I hope you have enjoyed the catchy tune with a smile on your face!
Have a safe and fabulous July!
The world is fascinating simply because differences exist!
Join us to spread the words, share the vision, and do our parts.
At TransCultural Group (TCG), we are determined to play our part in making the world a better place. We have launched an e-book for Youth. A book recounting the enchanting adventures of two children from China into the world of an old French family as they explore their cross-cultural friendship. Please click here to find out more.
Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries