"Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours, let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow."
- Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer, poet, philosopher, artist, 1883-1931
“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything!” So claimed Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. The month begins with All Fool’s Day because people used to mock those who did not know New Year’s Day was no longer on April 1st but on January 1st after adopting the new Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. Today, if you think New Year is no longer celebrated in April, you are mistaken! People in Thailand celebrate the merry-making Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year, on the 13th, followed by Sikhs celebrating Vaisakhi or Baisakhi, the Sikh New Year, on the 14th. Several other cultures will also celebrate their New Year around this time. (e.g. in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, etc.)
Notably, this month also includes a number of important religious events, starting with the three major Abrahamic religions:
- Holy Week (2nd to 8th) Christians around the world observe the week starting with Palm Sunday (Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem), followed by Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, before Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) and Good Friday (the crucifixion of Jesus), and Holy Saturday in anticipation and preparation before the day of Joy and celebration on Easter Sunday (the resurrection of Jesus.) While Good Friday may be a holiday in some countries, it is solemn. So, instead of wishing your Christian friends “Happy Good Friday“, “A blessed Good Friday” would be more appropriate.
- Passover (5th to 13th): This eight-day Jewish festival begins at sundown on the 5th and ends on the 13th, commemorating the miraculous Exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt.
- Eid al-Fitr (21st?): is a major Islamic festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is expected to be celebrated on the 21st. However, the exact date may vary depending on the sighting of the moon.
On the 5th, Qingming (Tomb-sweeping day or Remembrance of Ancestors Day), a ~2,500-year-old tradition that remains important to some Chinese families, is observed. During this period, families visit and clean the tombs and make ritual offerings to their deceased loved ones. On the 8th, it is Vesak Day, also known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti. It is an important day for Buddhists, commemorating Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death (nirvana). What a jam-packed month with so much going on, let Samuel Ullman’s Youth poem inspires:
“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.“
May this springtime spring our springs!
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
A month has passed since my experience with ChatGPT. A few of you have also tested other AI tools and shared with me your bemusement. The latest GPT-4 (Generative pre-trained transformer) can now accept not just text but images as input, getting another step closer to mirroring how we, humans, learn.
Check out this creative interior designer AI:https://www.roomgpt.io; It is just the debut; one can (or cannot) imagine how far AI will go. While we may be its “trainers” today, an old Chinese proverb reminds me that “ 青出于蓝而胜于蓝” that one day, the student shall surpass the master.
Hours ago, splashed across news media was the headline: “Tech experts call for a 6-month pause on AI development! They have warned of the negative effects runaway development could have on society and humanity.” Finally, some human intelligence is at work! Despite the ambitious draw to invent and hasten technological advancement, we must recognise many areas we need to understand and perhaps align to co-create a harmonious human-AI existence. As we explore and ponder over our values vs that of our AI pals, the process will allow us to dig deeper and understand that of our fellow humans, perhaps for a better DEI society.
Now, here are some fun facts for us to learn about each other (mind you, our AI pals already have all these facts in their database):
To end, we should not forget it is Earth Day this 22nd, quoting Jane Goodall:
“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”
Watch this clip if you would like to know more about our precious planet Earth (4’11”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?
“In youth, we learn; in age, we understand.”
– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian novelist, 1830-1916
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