All’s quiet in the Penh as celebrations to welcome the year of the Horse continue. It’s our second chance to kick into gear those New Year’s resolutions. But for those who truly excel at procrastination the biggest one is yet to come, Khmer New Year in April.
Phnom Penh actually got into the festivities, installing a street PA system that counted down to the new year. A bunch of friends and I decided to watch this year’s fireworks from a boat. Naga Casino, Cambodiana and the riverside all set off fireworks. This event was even more special because of the clear skies and a blue moon which coincided with NYs Eve for the first time in 20 years. These were taken with a Nokia e71. Pics aren’t great but they’re ok no?
On a personal level, it was a great decade, a time of many landmark events that changed the course of my life and thoughts. I made my biggest mistake, I bought that one-way ticket to Thailand, and I married the kindest, most generous man in the world. Some of the best conversations in my life happened in this decade, and I met incredible people breaking new paths I’d never considered possible.
Externally, it was also the crummiest decade and I join the chorus of those glad to leave it behind. On the cusp of tectonic changes in the course of political ideologies and the fate of humanity, I’m glad to have experienced it from this Asian side of the rock.
I have no resolutions, just a few long-term objectives that don’t break easily into annual stepwise goals. To everyone I love and those who touched my life: My best wishes to you for good food, great sex and brilliant conversations in the new year ;-)
Anyway, less from me and more from an eloquent commencement speech given by Paul Hawken for the graduating class of 2009 in University of Portland. He captures quite well an excellent view forward.
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there.
Let’s begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
“YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING.”
This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food—but all that is changing.
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. [Read more…] about ringing in 2010