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2015 October Archive - 100 Good Things


Time to incubate

Stella wears an intricately carved brass bangle repurposed from bomb shells

“You have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important.”

These are words from Raf Simons, on his departure from Christian Dior. Doing six shows a year with little time left in between to, in his own words, “incubate,” can take a toll on the most driven person.

As a parent who is too quick to yell “I count to five and you better be done!” and as a yoga practitioner who is well aware of the virtues of quieting down and tuning in, learning to take time off and to give time is a lifelong practice.

I took a little time off recently to reboot myself. This time, I did not over-plan my travel itinerary. I ensured there’s time to sit at coffeeshops and shoot the breeze. There’s time to give another human being my undivided attention because I was not in a great hurry to rush to another place. There was time for some TLC at the spa after my yoga practice. More significantly, there was space to go with the flow, change course, or let go, if so required. Truly, the equanimity that comes from being in the present moment, instead of being so destination-oriented, changes the experience of the journey.

When we give time, there is space to immerse ourselves in the experience, gain insight, fail and pick ourselves up again.

“Mama, what’s the hurry?” was one annoying question my child had the audacity to ask whenever I was trying to beat the clock. “It’s all about your self-imposed timeframe,” chipped in the eminently patient husband. Upon reflection on the [yoga] mat many years later, indeed, what’s the great chase about?

Mr. Sopheak at work

Try telling Mr. Sopheak you need him to produce 2,000 bangles in a day. It takes the talented self-taught craftsman two days to carve, file, smooth, polish and cajole one piece of this brass beauty into shape. Slowly and steadily, he produces our bestselling bangle, two days at a time. Does the Third World craftsman have no sense of urgency or is the First World being too consumed by life he has forgotten how to live it?

The ethically and sustainably produced merchandise at 100 Good Things are sourced with care, consciousness and understanding. To purchase them, visit 100 Good Things store.

People matter

  • by 100 Good Things
  • October 7th, 2015
  • October

One of the best things of my job is the people I meet. I said this when I was a travel and wellness writer and had the opportunity to meet visionary, passionate changemakers. And I say this now, in my capacity as a social entrepreneur. I have always been drawn to “the human angle.” Hearing their stories inspires me to do more, to get out there and live the change I want to see.

I remember vividly a life-changing road trip that demonstrated, in a most down-to-earth manner, what really resonated with me.

That afternoon, I chanced upon a wake on a visit to a small, nondescript village off the capital city of Laos. I found the village’s womenfolk had congregated at an open space, cooking up a storm for visitors and the village in general. I was invited to partake in the festivities and sample their feast. Life was slow and incredibly simple, and their laughter and infectious camaraderie, far-reaching. I felt their sense of kinship keenly. Their heartfelt hospitality left a warmth posh hotels could not rival.

That moment, I was connected to another community not too far removed from us. Who, like you and I, harbor dreams and aspirations.

Truth be told, with little talent for foreign language, I can barely communicate with the impoverished communities I work for. Fortunately, empathy transcends language barrier. At where I live, in multiracial Singapore, English is the first language. For so many Third World economies at my backyard, being fluent in the working language of the world is an aspiration many cannot afford.

Prak Vichra the self-taught seamstress pictured here is now able to send her only child, now 12 years old, for English lessons. The widow aspires to lift herself and her family out of poverty. Receiving a livable wage from the social enterprise she works for makes this a reality. Her life is explicitly better because of a work that empowers her and eventually her community.

Would the world become a far richer, less divisive place if sustainability were a standard? Why should it be a lofty idea? You and I can collectively make a difference. People matter. Your purchase matters.

The ethically and sustainably produced merchandise at 100 Good Things are sourced with care, consciousness and understanding. To purchase them, visit 100 Good Things store.