Thailand - A Reflection, and Project London
posted on Thursday, March 20, 2008 06:24 AM
I returned to a slightly breezy chill of the Japanese air whipping around my body like a snake does its prey. I boarded the train and was unwelcomingly greeted by short-skirted High School girls, and a lady over-washed in perfume accompanied by a mirror and her make-up kit. I held my head in the palm of my hands and thought to myself is it possible for me to reach out to the hearts of the Japanese people and raise awareness in the social and environmental issues that envelope and surround our everyday lives via UK-JAPAN.net.
(Please note: My previous blog “i-genius Summit, Day-by-Day” gives a summary of each day while out in Thailand. In addition, I have uploaded three separate photo albums to both my Facebook and MySpace accounts (Indigo Pearl Hotel, Sightseeing in Phuket, and i-genius Thailand Summit), so please enjoy viewing them!)
The i-genius summit in Phuket, Thailand was an inspiration! I formed new friendships and contacts that I will no doubt endeavour to develop over the coming weeks, months, and years. I was inspired by the younger and learnt many new things. Thanks to Adam Elliot-Cooper, Ben Keene, Chris Cramer, Clair Dove, David Katz, David McQueen, Khalid Khalil, Lucian Tarnowski, Meriem Aissaoui, Rizwan Tayabali, Sara Haq, Sherry Dixon, Yajia Lu, Kaos Pilots, and all the rest. I went in search to be convinced of the idea of being a social entrepreneur and to prove “yes or no”, whether being part of a world community like i-genius is beneficial or not. I was profoundly and deeply touched by the work that participants are currently doing or aim to do in the future. It was amazing to be surrounded by a group of people who all share a passion in making social and environmental change whether it is on a local or global arena. I want to thank the i-genius team, hotel staff at Indigo Pearl, all the participants, and the local Thai people for giving me a life changing and unforgettable experience.
The summit revolutionised the way summits and conferences should be held. It was so well organised that it almost felt like one big drama group of participants that have had known each other for years, let alone hours. The Gala dinner, Barbecue and Beach Party were wonderful additions, which helped create a family of social entrepreneurs. Nobody ran away from the summit, and nobody was idle within the summit. Participants enjoyed interacting with others so much that we all stayed within and around the area of the hotel together.
I was at the summit doing a lot of video recording and being very interactive with it in regards to my approach of walking around and playing with different angles. I not once felt outside of the summit, but actually more involved and at the core of it. I will be making a promotional video for i-genius, a documented travel video of my journey, editing the interview with John Underwood (designer of Indigo Pearl), and some work that I did with the wonderful Lucian. To say I will be busy in the next month is an understatement – but I have promised myself to take my time (no rush), and won’t begin organising footage into folders and converting them until the beginning of next week. I need rest and to spend time with my children. Look out for those videos – coming soon!
Phuket was beautiful, I found a calmness there that I haven’t found anywhere for a very long time (perhaps back when I visited Mostar, Bosnia). Having massages, listening to the ebb and flow of the waves, the sun setting, and gazing at the stars late into the evening opened me up to a new world. I found the Thai people to be very friendly, open and natural. They embody an expression of pure beauty and simplicity in relation to the nature of life. And I can see why people fall in love with Thailand. I experienced new things in Phuket, both mentally and physically – some I will never try again, but don’t regret. And I met a special young Thai lady (well, older than me) who in one gesture changed my heart and opened me up to a whole new world.
Ironically, it was not a powerful movie or short documentary, or a wonderful presentation that turned my burning light into a raging fire giving me the strength to make change in this world and most importantly in my personal life. Going to a another country for me is not just about sightseeing, I find it more important and rewarding to sit down and hang around with the local people – they offer the real beauty and insights that no sculpture, monument or photograph has to give. We sat under the stars at night down by the beach; she took my right hand, drew a heart in the palm of it, closed my hand and placed on my heart. Then she glided her left hand slowly over my face (without touching), did the same with her right hand, clenched her hands into a fist, and crossed them over her heart.
In that one moment, I realised the things I was missing in my life, and the things I need to, and want to do. I thank her from the bottom of my heart! Mem, I won’t forget you!
The future of i-genius is big, and I want to work with and for i-genius more closely. Hence, Project London has been born. I aim to take UK-JAPAN.net from a social networking website to a social networking website that raises social and environmental issues. Being my audience is mostly Japanese, this is a good medium to penetrate that fashion conscious minds. If anybody is reading this Blog, I need someone who can help re-design UK-JAPAN.net, a project partner, and funding (purely to help maintain the website and reward the two wonderful volunteer translators I have with me). I am currently talking with i-genius concerning how our websites can collaborate/merge, and help i-genius reach out to people in Japan.
After I take my project website and set it up in the direction I want to here in Japan, I then wish to return to London to work with many people, including those I met at the summit, i-genius, and with my dear friend Justin (who has now joined i-genius) in setting up Innovators’ Studio. There are many factors to consider in moving back to London, most importantly relocating and my children’s schooling.
I am really looking forward to the next i-genius summit, to think that it will be even bigger and better than their first one is an exhilarating thought. Tommy, Jo, Julie, Edna Kissmann, and the rest of the i-genius team, you’re stars and a credit to the human race. Don’t break away from this change we are making. The world watch-out, the i-genius community wave is moving.
Peace, love and Harmony.