Would you consider you or your community over entertained and/or under challenged? When you finish reading, share your thoughts and enjoy the social entrepreneurship video from the Skoll Foundation.
Blame it on the ubiquity of advertising that has made every inch of public space available for purchase. Blame it on being submerged in a tourism dependent economy, overrun with hedonistic invitations. Blame it on our personal laziness. Regardless of where it feels most comfortable for you to pile up the blame, we need to realize too many of us are over-entertained and under-challenged.
This week as I listened to the founders of Imagine Thailand talk about the conflict in Southern Thailand. I couldn’t help but wonder why the situation had never been explained to me with such depth before. I’ve lived in Bangkok for a total of two years and I’ve been educating myself about everything Thai, including the language, for nearly three years. Yet Cavelle Dove’s description of the conflict blatantly exposed my minuscule knowledge and all the superficial explanations I had ever been given. Am I surrounded by heartless people or are they just as poorly informed? Are they just too distracted to care?
Perhaps poorly informed is less harsh than over entertained and under challenged. However, the latter most accurately explains my experiences. I know how long I desired so strongly to be a part of something meaningful that I was willing to join any number of organizations to feel I was contributing something. That’s because months of doing everything else the city had to offer left me tired, unfulfilled, and dejected. Yup, it’s the same miserable feeling you get after overdoing it at an expensive hotel buffet. That was my experience in Bangkok, and the seeds of how I came to begin my search for sanuk.
Living abroad has given me a more pronounced understanding of the quote, “The opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference.” Especially when a Thai friend remarked, “Well Dwight, I’m really surprised because I grew up here and I’ve never been to a slum before.” Again I asked myself, are we really so out of touch? Is it our environment? How often are we really given opportunities to give back? Do we even know how to help people or how much fun it can be? Are we just avoiding a challenge?
Consider what avenues exist to discuss helping the less fortunate or marginalized in your community. What are they? Are you a part of the discussion? I fear so few of us are not even having these discussions. When they do occur, it happens in niches so isolated that they’re inaccessible to both other groups having similar discussions or people who are not members of these segmented communities.
It’s my passion to change this where I can.
Tonight In Search of Sanuk is hosting a party called LUSH to raise funds for the urban garden project. As I prepare, I wonder whether or not I should really have to get people drunk to convince them to give to a good cause. Whether we’ll ever stand united to battle the forces keeping us complacent. Whether one day we’ll plead with our friends to understand how tightly linked our well being is to those we’re indifferent to.
“Wakeup. Put your hand in. Be thrilling.”