Article by Mr Ivan Yu

3 square meals; all it takes to sustain life.

Working in a US MNC, I earn a fairly comfortable living with growing material desires and an ambition to climb up the corporate ladder. For me, the corporate race soon became a vicious cycle, like a mouse trapped in endless spinning mouse wheel without actually going anywhere. Life gradually became colourless.

Joining Eugene on a trip to Khek Noi to visit the Hmongs challenged my understanding of what life is all about. On the very first day I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the sharp contrast of dilapidated village houses and majestic beauty of mountains scenery. Though the Hmongs are poverty stricken, marginalized and living against immense odds, they have learnt to embraced life in its fullest, taking birth, sickness, old age and finally death as a part and parcel of life.

During our trip, we had the opportunity to visit a local church and we sat through a Thai/Hmong sermon which made little sense to me. But what struck me were the faces of the villagers who willingly gave up a day’s wage during the harvesting season to chose to come to church, simply to know more about God. For many of us in the first world countries, we constantly find excuses as  ‘we are too tired from work’ or are busy with other things.  But these villages chose to make time and well knowing  what they are giving up; an important day’s wage and the need to work harder to make up for lost time. This humbled me tremendously.

In our 5 days, we visited the STREETKIDS!,  children from at-risk backgrounds undergoing  rehabilitation care under RADION, though they carried stories of abuse and neglect, they lived life with such strength and simplicity, cherishing every little moment that comes by, grateful for life.

My fiancée who accompanied me on this trip brought a bag of lollipops for these kids and it got them all smiling & jumping !  Later in the trip, we embarked on a journey to bring the same bunch of kids to a nearby waterfall for a swim ! A simple excursion brought they so much joy ! The kids possessed such care freeness as they played in the cool refreshing waters, enjoying themselves every step of the way, and appreciating life to its fullest.

The experience has taught me to embrace whatever life has to offer. To live is only 3 square meals. To live life, love and be loved.