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This is the first blog post I am writing. So, in advance, thanks for reading :)

In my role at Beyond Social Services, an NGO in Singapore, I do not get the privilege of working closely with the community we serve. My colleagues have that privilege and I often listen to their experiences, and stare at them in awe. Isn't it wonderful that people share their lives with us? That they trust us enough to include us in their world, when they don't really have to? So I jump at every chance when any one of my colleagues walk into our office, and not finding Gerard (our boss) to consult on a problem that one of the families/youth is facing, turns to me and says, "Ranga, can I talk to you?" I listen, and share my thoughts, and suggest ways to address the issue, and I hope I am helpful, if not all of the time, at least some of the time. Just observing, listening, engaging in conversations, reading, being silent, are many different ways I have "absorbed" what it is to be helpful. And, I am so grateful for that, as I don't think I could have learnt it in any school.

Today started out like any other, with a new lesson for me. It was an interesting start and a meaningful end that I felt was worth sharing. Over lunch, with a businessperson, I heard that most people are motivated by either Greed or Fear!! From politics to personal decisions, this person felt that the root for our decisions in life were these two human emotions! Between the soup and the main course, I got really disturbed as I knew there was more to life than that, and then between the main course and dessert, I was figuring out where Love and Compassion fit in. Things got clearer by the time coffee arrived, and defintely by the end of the day.

Now comes the meaningful end to the day. Marilyn, my colleague, walked into the office and asked me to look at an email she was sending to all the staff. It was an intro to a weekly email that six colleagues who had gone on a SALT visit to Jogjakarta will be sending out. Her intro, which was very well written, reminded me once again what it is to be human, and all that we had shared in a previous group session. It put a smile on my face :)

I want to thank my lunch partner and dear Marilyn for today's life lesson : It is not about running our lives based only on greed or fear, and but it is really about community, and all that we share as human beings, which includes to a smaller or larger extent, emotions like greed, fear, compassion and love, among many others. I am so very happy to be where I currently am, doing what I am doing, with humans who come in all colours and different shades of grey.


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Comment by M.L. Prabakar on April 3, 2012 at 8:45am

Dear Ranganayaki, 

Thanks for the sharing and the wonderful learning.  Listening is a very powerful act we engage in as human beings.  It has the power to transform us who are listening (which i see in your sharing) and those to whom we listen to.  When i read those lines I also got disturbed "I heard that many people are motivated by either Greed or Fear", and I completely agree with you that there are so many other emotions that are as driving forces of our human lives because of which we all still exist.   

My learning from your sharing is that how reflecting on certain view points that are challenging our core belives can help us to deepen and strengthen our core belives and qalities. Another learning is that how acknowledging positive experiences can reinforce and strengthen them further. 

warm regards,




Comment by Mark Anthony Ambrose on March 14, 2012 at 11:58am

" Walked into".. This word always rang the bell in me as I walked in the community.. Sometime, I really have to walk into people's life, other time I got to allow them to walk into my life.. In both way, it had create the opportunity for me to be human, to serve, to love and to make the most with what I have been given, knowing that there is nothing to loose.

Comment by Phil on March 14, 2012 at 8:12am


I like the idea that we are all a mixture of 'greed, fear, compassion and love'. We come in all colours and all shades of grey. And all that we are trying to do in our own lives is to move the balance a little bit between all of these things. A little more love and a little less greed A little more compasson and a little less fear. We are seeking to change the balance a little, to change the spectrum and so change our colour. And thus do we find that our life becomes richer. That is nice. 

It appears that I am starting each day with a beautiful idea from Singapore. 

Thank you. 


Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on March 13, 2012 at 6:28pm

Dear Rangna,

 "I am so very happy to be where I currently am, doing what I am doing, with humans who come in all colours and different shades of grey."

You express so well my own gratefulness after an afternoon of sharing at the ULB  school of Public Health in Brussels. 

Thank you


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