Cradling some of the oldest civilizations in the world, Asia boasts of the most enduring cultures and traditions. Its rich history, cultures and peoples have made this great, vast and teeming continent a treasure trove of talent, experiences and learning that helped shape the unique socio-political, cultural and economic landscape of the region.
As Asians, we have always been proud of our ties with the old world, mystic beginnings replete with images of splendid pasta where kings and emperors ruled from generation to generation with the force and power of divine right. Such is the majesty of our ancestry.
It is for the above reasons that I have been furiously working on a coffee-table book titled Everyday Heroes: Asians For The World which will define what is human and noble in each and every one of us, and the inspiring stories of these everyday heroes will serve as shining lights to the young people of today, the next generations of leaders so that they may find guidance and answers in the values-laden stories which will instill greatness in a nation and its people.
The world has, in a way, become considerably different from how we knew it growing up. For one, the emphasis on character-building appears to have faded in the face of an uncompromising fixation with “getting ahead.” It seems the focus has shifted to building an impressive resume rather than purifying attitude and mentality which, in turn, determines one’s values and behavior.
Social media and the accessibility to every information (whether true or fake), trends and fads (such as TikTok) has also added to the notion of the “quick fix” and no attachment and materialistic mentality.
The more I reflect on it, the more I am convinced that excellence in a human being means to become the best one can be and having achieved that, to utilize our full potential for the betterment of our fellow human beings. Better still, it is to strive to single-mindedly develop all our faculties of mind, spirit, soul and body along the lines of excellence, which is the classical Greek definition of the whole human being.
I firmly believe we owe it to ourselves to live our lives in a human and humane manner, as well as to deal with life as an adventure and as a challenge. This means living life from the perspective of core human and humane values such as decency, discipline, hard work, generosity, compassion and forgiveness, humility, wisdom and education, an untiring passion for fairness and truth, and leadership by example. In the end that is all that should matter and determine whether our life is successful or not. The leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was once asked what success means to him. He replied, “To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.”
The objective and purpose of my 45th book, due to be unveiled sometime in 2022 in a face-to-face book launch, once the pandemic has been neutralized, is intended for us all to realize our common dream of building a better country, a better Asia and a better world for us and future generations.
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