“If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear.”
- W. Shakespeare, English playwright; A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1564-1616
If you are in the northern hemisphere, try to find a field of blooming golden dandelions, blow the puffballs, and make your wishes as we step into the second half of the year.
Brush aside from those commercials, July 7 is Global Forgiveness Day, a day to forgive and a day to be forgiven. The act of forgiveness has magical healing power. The International Day of Friendship is celebrated on the 30th, as declared by the United Nations: Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division …To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.
This month, some nations’ celebrations include Canada Day on the 1st, the Independence Day for the USA on the 4th and the French’s Bastille Day on the 14th. It is also a month with two important Islamic festivities. Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al Adha (depending on the moon sighting, 9th-10th) as they remember Ibrahim (Abraham)’s deep faith (sacrificing his son.) On the evening of the 29th, our Muslim friends will celebrate the New Hijri Year (A.H. 1444.) The Islamic (Hijri) calendar is based on a lunar year of 12 full lunar cycles, with 354 days per year. The first day of A.H. (Anno Hegirae, Year of the Hijrah) began when Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Madinah on July 26, 622 C.E.
To conclude, we quote Puck’s lines in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 5, Scene 1,) ”Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends.”
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Alright, I must confess I am a self-proclaimed foodie, and from time to time, I binge-watch YouTube’s food channels.
Every culture has its cuisine steeped in history. The bond of a food tells interesting stories about the people, and it fascinates me.
Food-hunters existed centuries before YouTubers began filming their food explorations. In the past, these people were either adventurers or botanists, and some may even be well-known personage like the 3rd President of the U.S.A. Besides writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously introduced French fries, ice cream, and Mac ‘n’ Cheese after returning from his five-year stint (1784-89) in France. He was also known to have cultivated and promoted the then very unpopular tomatoes, making them a success in America. Today almost every American kitchen has a bottle of ketchup. We are all familiar with American fast-food, Chinese dim-sum, Japanese sushi, and many more national and ethnic foods that have travelled far beyond their original shores:
While having our meals, we may feel helpless about the conflicts, the wars and other world challenges around us because we think there is little we can do as individuals. If we were to overlay 24hrs in the earth’s history, which was formed about 4.6 billion years ago, human lineage only appeared about 5 million years ago; and modern Homo Sapiens are between 200,000 to 500,000 years old, i.e. our existence is about < 0.01% (which is about the last 6 to 9 sec) of the geologic timescale. Indeed, every one of us seems so insignificant in the big scheme of things, yet everyone has a part in it.
We can answer the call of the UN for the International Day of Friendship. We can make a conscious effort to build and celebrate friendships with people different from us, regardless of race, nation, religion, societal background, etc.: Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.
Pick up a few dandelion puffballs (each has ~150-200 seeds); blow them into the field. Out of the many, there will surely be some that will blossom into new bright dandelions, carrying our hopes for a better world!
Every step we take as individuals shall steer humanity into its next chapter, just like every fraction of mini-second moves the clock’s hands to the 24th hour! Leverage the soft-diplomacy power such as our love for foods, sports, or hobbies we find fit to forge a cross-cultural friendship – one person and one step at a time.
Your stories, my stories and ALL OUR stories together make up the canvas of humanity!
“Have fun spreading the friendship puffballs in making the world a better place!”
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. We have also uploaded the complete series of “Food around the World” on our YouTube channel.
Please share it If you love our effort, and please give us a “like” and subscribe to our “YouTube” channel (it is free!) Come support us!
Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO