A Sense of Gratitude To End The Famine

It is official. It is done and dusted. It is successfully completed. I have officially gone through 48 hours without consuming anything, except liquid. It has not been the easiest 48 hours yet I came out of it feeling entirely different. There was a sense of accomplishment, a sense of achievement, and a sense of awe. There was however, a very strong sense of gratitude.

Before I write more about that, allow me to take you through the remaining 24 hours as I have promised. Although I went through the first day feeling heavy headed and nauseous at times, on my second day I fared better. I was able to better concentrate and better focus on my work.

I tried consuming a lot of liquids as suggested by some, especially water. I also took in fruit juices, coffee and tea. I was initially concerned that I wont be able to drive, yet I was able to drive quite fine on the day. I also thought that I wont be able to think or speak properly, yet I did not seem to have that problem. At least I think I did not. Trying to make myself busy, I tried scheduling in a number of appointments and activities on the day. By the time it is over, I realized that I have gone through the 48 hours safely.

My sense of gratitude came from the fact that even though the pains of hunger do kick in, they are actually few and far between. When I felt it, I did not become weak or lost consciousness. When it happened, it lasted less than a few seconds. I am especially grateful to God who  I believe has been tremendous help for me. It is definitely an experience to behold. I am not prideful about it as I knew that it wasn’t by my own strength that this was accomplished. Yet, I knew that I have raised my bar higher than my previous donation campaigns in the previous years. Perhaps next year I might challenge myself, and others to join my cause. I will perhaps do a 72 hours of famine.

I am glad and very grateful that it has all ended without anyone being hurt. At least it has for my famine. However, the battle to fight hunger, the lack of medication, the lack of shelter and lack of clean water is still going on, it is perhaps a battle that is almost unending for the Philippines who are both directly and indirectly affected by the typhoon. For some of them, it is material lose. For some others, it is the lost of loved ones. Rebuilding the city and the neighborhood are perhaps the relatively easier tasks compared to the hope lost when parents lost their children, or future lost when young children lost their parents, or purpose and meaning of life lost when an elderly lost all his offspring and his grandchildren too. Donations may eventually stop coming, news articles will dry out and

 

How I Survived My First 24 Hours of Famine

The first day of my famine was relatively quiet and went quite easy. I truly thanked God that He’s been helping me thus far through my first day.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling well and have been a little sick. I realized that being sick isn’t going to help me a lot to go through my famine so I decided to call it a day earlier. I had a good rest and woke up in the morning feeling refreshed. The image at the heading of the post basically summarized my first day.
I started my day in the usual way. I headed to the office without breakfast. I had a bit of a fruit juice. When my friends invited me out for coffee, I was only too happy to comply. Apparently they have prepared a sweet surprise, with a birthday cake! The chat and the coffee helped me to distract my mind off my stomach.
So my first 12 hours went without a hitch. My second 12 hours, I’m not so sure! I tried doing some work and also took some breaks by watching the Bible Series. The DVD has just arrived in my doorstep. Doing my work and watching the DVD helped me past the time as it was soon time to close up shop and I was soon on my way to the English private school where I am teaching English.
The drive there wasn’t too easy because I felt the effect of not eating. Perhaps it is what some of the diet experts called “detoxing process”. I felt nauseous and my head was spinning. Thankfully, I was able to get there safely and to my relief, found out that none of my students actually came. So I went home for a family “dinner”.
We went to a family restaurant where I only had soup and drink. My friends still wanted to celebrate my birthday, thus I went to a cafe afterwards and was greeted by a mob of birthday wishers. By the time I got back home, I have completed my first 24 hours in a strong note. All in all, I went through the day without too much trouble, yet eternally grateful for the friends and families who continually provide support and some very welcome distractions.
It is now 36 hours since I have had anything solid to eat. I will keep you posted by the end of the 48 hours.
Please support me and my campaign to donate for the Philippines impacted by Haiyan Typhoon. You can read more about it in my previous post here.

What Would You Do If You Know You Might Starve For 48 Hours

I would like to start by saying thanks to the following people who have so graciously donated to this campaign thus far: Winda Tjindaidy, Stefanie Tanuwidjaja, Julita Tanir, Steffen Chandra (my brother), Suryani Liaw,Inggrid Leonardi, and one anonymous donor, especially my father and my mother. I love you all. Your support is what kept me going.

Since I published my commitment and my intention to support the Philippines impacted by the Haiyan Typhoon nearly two weeks ago, I have been blown away by the messages of support and cheers coming from all over the world. I have had family members, friends, colleagues and ex-colleagues telling me about how much of an inspiration I have been for them. All the same, messages of critics came too, something which I can’t avoid. I am taking in questions like: “Can you trust them?”, “Why donate for something so far away?”, “I don’t have anything to donate.”, or “You are setting the target too high.”, or “You are wasting your effort because nobody will donate to your cause.” One that do cracks me up, “I don’t believe you have a genuine intention by doing this.”

I hope it would have been crystal clear by now that I am not doing this for myself. To be doing what I am doing requires a good amount of publicity via my personal website, social medias as well as word of mouth by friends who would promote this campaign. It is not my intention to self-publicize though. I do not believe, at least for now, anyone would be willing to starve themselves for 48 hours just to make a name for themselves.

That said, I am both nervous and excited over the prospect of knowing that I will starve myself for 48 hours starting midnight tomorrow. It seems that as the clock keeps ticking, my body is beginning to share the concerns of my brain. I am feeling slightly nauseous and also my temperature shot up. I am worried about how my body will be able to cope, as this is something that I have never done before. I am not sure whether I have prepared myself well for it. Yet, when I think about it again, I realized something profound. For people who actually face real-life famine, this is something that happened without warning. No one is able to prepare for it, nor think about what to do. My only benefit is that since I knew about it in advance, I tried to stay healthy and eat fruits.

I tried reading blogs and websites which give suggestions and tips for how to survive the “famine”. Most of them suggested for me to drink lots of water. My body requires water more than I do food. I might also drink milk and hot chocolate to help with my hunger pains. Some have also suggested that often, the hunger is in our brain. They are basically saying that I need to focus on doing something distracting such as reading or watching movies, or perhaps, for me, writing.

I mentioned in my previous post that I will be posting updates as to how I went through my famine. Your comments will also provide tremendous morale support and help me to know that I am not in this alone. Until then, stay tuned. It is less than 3 hours to the beginning of my famine. Also, your donations, no matter how small will also help me to keep focused and keep positive.

You can donate to this campaign via this One Day’s Wages page.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever done this before? What did you choose to starve yourself with, if not food? What are your tips for someone who is about to go on a prolonged fast?

5 Crucial Leadership Lessons By A Tour Guide

I have just returned from my company organised incentive tour to Phuket, Thailand. I was the designated tour leader. I have never been a tour leader so this was quite daunting. I spent time with my clients for 5 days and 4 nights where I was responsible for their well-being, their comfort and also their safety.

Leading a group of people on a project with a certain mission or specific target was one thing. Leading a group of people who just wanted to have fun is an entirely different story and if you aren’t careful, might lead to disappointment. This is especially challenging for an overseas trip. At the end, I am glad that the overall respond was very positive at the end, and I learned a lot, especially about leadership.

Here’s some of the leadership lessons that I took away from the trip to Phuket:
1. A Leader is always more concerned about others than about himself.

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While visiting one of the resort, there were three of us who were interested in scuba-diving. Now, due to the limited amount of time we have, they weren’t able to provide a full instructions for first-timers. I am an experienced diver, while the other 2 participants were not. The instructor, however, wasn’t taking any risks. We were all required to hold hands under water, to avoid us getting lost in there, as you have almost no sense of direction under water. Being a relatively experienced diver, I felt very restricted and uncomfortable. I wanted to let go of their hands so many times but resisted the temptation. It wasn’t until after the dive that I realised the impact of my decision. The other divers, both being first-timers, felt complete assurance while holding on to my hands. They understood that I felt restricted but thanked me for not letting go of them.

2. A Leader is not always more experienced than the followers
new baby
I stepped into Phuket knowing nothing about the city, as I have never been there before. Sometimes a leader needs to lead others into uncharted territories that even they themselves have never been to. These may be a new geographical location or a new challenge. Other times, it may be a new business venture. Still others, a completely new approach to existing problems. In this case, I am also leading some who have been to Phuket multiple times. In other words, they are more experienced than I am. However, being a tour leader, I understood my responsibility to lead others regardless of my abundance, or in this case, lack of experience. Despite not knowing much about the island and tourist spots, tour participants kept coming to me with questions and I have to be ready to answer them to the best of my ability.

3. The Buck Always Stops With The Leader

buck-stops-here
One of the most important factors to take into account when traveling with a large group is punctuality. We are as strong as our weakest link. We are as early as the last person to get on the coach. That’s why it is very important for the tour leader to make sure that everyone follow the pre-defined schedule in order that we can spend as much as time as we like at each place we visit. If, however, even one person is late, the entire group suffers. And a good tour leader must be able to effectively balance between two extremes. One extreme is waiting for the one late person at the possible expense of the schedule. The other extreme, for the benefit of the entire group, is to leave that one person behind. Thankfully, I haven’t had to make that kind of decision during the tour yet I need to take every responsibility for the group I am leading.

4. A Leaders Makes The Team Come Together

Hand-in-Hand Together
In a group tour, it is likely that most people do not know everyone else in the group. Even if you are travelling with a spouse or friends, ultimately, you have to spend time with everybody in the same group for the next few days. So, you might as well get along. Not everyone is easy to get along with, however. It is up to the leader to bring everyone together and get along so that the journey is more enjoyable. As John Maxwell often said, “A winner cross the finish-line on his own, but a leader brings everyone to cross the finish-line together.” I am glad that, at the end of the tour, a good portion of the group, though initially total strangers, were able to talk, joke and laugh together, even to the point of exchanging phone numbers and email addresses.

5. A Leader Cannot Stand Alone

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I am grateful that I do not have to lead the entire group alone because my father is also travelling together with me and he is a far more experienced tour leader than I am. There is also a local tour guide who helps us so much to make the journey comfortable and enjoyable. Everything that I have mentioned above, from looking after the well-being of every single individual in the group, making sure entire stays on top of the schedule, knowing where to bring the team and bringing everyone together has been done like a tag-team between my father, the local tour-guide and myself. We are unable to be effective and efficient without the synergy of all of us when we combine our strengths.

Discussion Questions: Have you travelled as part of the group before? Did your tour leader exhibit the above qualities? Have you been leading a tour yourself? I am looking forward to hearing your comments below.

The donations for the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund are still open. If you haven’t donated and would like to find out more, please visit it here.

Updated: How To Help Philippines Affected By Haiyan Typhoon

Update #1: As I promised, I will update you with the specific days and specific date when I will commit to  the 48-hour Famine. It will begin on my birthday date. That is, Thursday, 28th November. It will begin on the hour, exactly at 12 am midnight, and ends on Saturday, 30th November, also exactly at 12 am midnight. That will make it 48 hour of consuming nothing but liquid only. I will write a post documenting my experience and how I went through the famine. Stay tuned!

I just returned from a company trip to Thailand, and already my inbox was flooded with emails, tweets and Facebook posts asking for help and prayers as well as support in any way we can to aid the victims affected by the Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines. As I read the emails, and the newspaper articles it began to remind me of the devastating tsunami which wreaks havoc across so many countries and killed hundreds of thousands just less than a decade ago. Although different in scale and the way it destroys, the Typhoon seem almost equally disastrous as you can see below.

 

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The tsunami disaster will always be closely remembered due to its proximity to my hometown, Medan. Aceh, or, as its more commonly known, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, was hit the hardest with the highest death toll. Learning about the Philippines disaster and its victims pains me greatly as I have personally seen and touched the refugees from Aceh who were transported into various shelter locations in Medan. They have nothing and nobody left, some saw their close family members literally swept away by the tsunami before them. The Philippines Haiyan Typhoon, no doubt, was more than capable of inflicting serious damage and have killed many in its wake.

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Various popular news websites began posting photos and links that was so terrifying and so heart-wrenching. Initially, I felt powerless and unsure of what to do to help. Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I have made my decision. I am going to help, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant it may seem. When I affirmed myself with my decision, ideas began trickling in. And that’s when I remembered my imminent birthday.

I have decided to partner with my trusted charity organisation: One Day’s Wages (ODW). I have set up a birthday campaign page which you can visit below:

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Suwandy Chandra’s Birthday for a Cause

In that page, I committed to give up my birthday to humbly ask all my beloved blog readers, friends, families and coworkers to join me in donating for the “Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund” organised by the One Day’s Wages team.

As a way to honor and appreciate your giving, I have decided to go on a 48-hour Famine, adapted from the World Vision’s annual 40 Hour Famine campaign.  In this case, however, I have decided to increase the odds and doing it for 48-Hour instead. I have not decided on a specific date to do this but I will announce it closer to my birthday date.

The reason I chose ODW was because I have previously joined their cause and their integrity is unquestionable as is their professionalism. Their promise and commitment that every single cents  donated will go straight towards helping the victim assures me of their quality and commitment to help. You can make your  donations here:

  1. The above webpage
  2. Via Paypal to suwandy [at] gmail.com
  3. Via bank transfer. Please email me to : me [at] suwandytjin.com for the details
  4. Via cash if you’d prefer the traditional method.

Option 1 is preferable due to the faster accountability that  you can receive as every donations will always be featured within the webpage. That said, should you choose to use another form of donation, that is fine too. I will provide, at the very least, screenshots and proof of the money being sent towards ODW themselves.

All of your donations will go straight towards the Haiyan Typhoon Relief Fund that has been setup. Please, support me to support the Philippines. Help me to help them. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, or email me and I will personally respond to all of your questions.

Discussion Questions: Do you have friends or families who might be affected by the Haiyan Typhoon, directly or indirectly? Do you have more ideas on how to help them?

What I Learn About Perseverance From My Dog

My little dog was victim to a car accident last week. My mother was trying to park her car when it ran across in its attempt to chase a cat and got one of it’s legs caught by one of the wheel and as a result, its front paw was crushed by the wheel. It let out a very faint shriek. Now, my dog never misses an opportunity to bark at every car passing through our house. It was, truthfully, extremely loud and annoying at times. Thankfully, my mother sensed that something was odd due to the unusually quiet surroundings. She stopped the car, backed off a little and got out of the car. She found it whimpering next to the wheel and was bleeding badly.

My mother, not knowing what to do, took it inside and it limped to a corner, hiding behind our power generator. My mom waited until my father arrives home to tend its leg and bandage the wound. For the next one week and a half, I enjoyed what were really quiet days as it didn’t have the energy to even bark out, or walk on its own.  Apparently, when it barks, it would felt pain at the wound. Yet, as the wound slowly healed and got better, it began to bark a little more frequently and a little louder each time. It seems that it kept trying to push the limits just a little bit further with each attempt to see how loud it can bark and still felt minimal pain. At the moment, though still limping around, the leg is almost completely healed and it is able to bark louder now. As I was observing its behaviour and how it copes and adapts to its temporary condition, I noticed a few lessons that we can learn from it. I hope you will pardon my illustration.

1. Focus on persevering, not on complaining, or blaming

We somehow respond the way my dog did in times of pain and suffering. We faced hardships and unexpected challenge come up against us even though we did our best and tried to stay on course. Yet, things happened that are outside of our control and somehow, we find ourselves bleeding and in great agony. My dog was unable to complain or blame anyone for the condition it is in. But, for a lot of us, it is something that we do almost instinctively. It is perhaps, one of the most basic defensive mechanism or fault-evasion method we have, one that needs no practice or training. Somehow and for unknown reason, we are all extremely good at it. There is a good news though.

2. Focus on tackling the issue, not crying over spilled beans

For a lot of us, we eventually come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to move on and face the hardships head-on. We understand that perseverance is the most essential quality towards reaching our goals in life. For example, we would have lost a sports game at some point in the past. Or flunking an exam. Or losing in a game with friends. Perseverance taught us to try again. Perseverance taught us to get back up. Often, however, the realization came too late. Perhaps, the new opportunity has passed by. Or perhaps someone else has decided to move on just a bit earlier. I am sure none of us wanted to be in the position of the former. We all wants to be the ‘someone else’ who has moved on earlier and thus earn maximum benefits.

3. Focus on the goal to be achieved, not the pain to be endured

We felt great pain in our attempt to get back up, yet we kept trying again and perhaps somehow the pain that was initially unbearable may actually turn out to be much more bearable. That is a very similar and unique mechanism of the way our nervous system work. What began as a painful sensation, if experienced over and over again, over-time became less painful, until it felt just like a normal prick, to the point that we might not even sense it anymore. This is why soldiers in the warzone and in the battlefield were able to continue fighting despite the wound they received, as they have been severely trained to withstand even the most terrible of pain. Such behaviour to keep going is good, although there we might overlook a fundamental problem.

4. Learn from the experience with a scientist mindset

The problem here is that some of us don’t learn from our failures or mistakes. For some of us, we attempted to do things the old way over and over again, somehow expecting different results. Whereas a scientist knows that an experiment ought to be done with differing condition each time. Einstein wisely advised us against doing so. We ought to learn from our past mistakes or failures and avoid making similar mistakes again.  We ought to combine this never-say-die attitude with wisdom to learn from previous failures.

 

Jack relaxing

Jack relaxing

Perseverance is about learning how to keep on keeping on, despite having to go through the same agony of making yet more mistakes. Perseverance is about refusing to give up, demonstrate doggone tenacity and character of persistence. By applying the four simple principles above, I believe that we will be rewarded with success.