Light 'em Up in the Dark

By Christina Kim - February 18, 2016


This has been an interesting festive season for me, and in many ways, enlightening.
It is funny how the yearly event took on a different turn and presented a whole new perspective this year; well, at least it was for me, personally.

A few things happened; perhaps some would view it in a rather inauspicious manner though for me, it took on a meaning at a deeper level.

One of the most interesting event which took place was on the eve of Chinese New Year where the reunion dinner is held at every household in the Chinese community; including ours, of course.

The reunion dinner is the most important event in the entire festive celebration; if not the most symbolic, for it brings the family together and by everyone, we really mean every single one.
Far or near, loved ones would make their ways home to join their families at the table to share this meaningful meal and the love, definitely.
It is a way of welcoming the New Year and all the goodness that comes with the new beginnings; Together, as a family.

No one else beats the warmth of your own family, and reuniting with the loved ones is truly a blissful experience and one that is most anticipated in most festive seasons; what more when it comes to celebrating the arrival of the New Year.

Reunion dinner was as usual celebrated in a fashionably simple manner for our family, just like every year.
Laughter and clattering sounds of spoons and glasses clinking filled the dining hall as everyone engages in the lively banter.

It was shortly after the reunion dinner, well, that it happened.

The whole house went dark.

It happened in a blink of an eye.

One moment we had lights and sounds and the next, spoof, it all disappeared.
The best part was, we were the only house in the neighborhood to experience the power outage.

Calls were made to the authorities where they were also experiencing shortage of manpower though we were told they would send help over in at least two hours.

In the dark, two hours seemed like a relatively long time.

It then came to mind as we reminisced those days when we experienced power failure and the first thing we would do, is to search frantically for a torchlight or a candle.
Banging of the drawers and screaming as these are often misplaced, and only appreciated when they are in need.
In times of no electricity.
Then when the torches or candles are found, a wave of joy and relief took over but quickly dissipated with the discovery that there are no batteries, or the lighter just is not working.
Matchboxes were probably rare items, well, at least during my time.

If we take a look back earlier in the days, people survived only on lighted candles or oil lamps and yet they did not see that picture of darkness.

It is interesting to see that quick evolution as today, the first solution when the lights are out; is to just turn on the smartphone and voila, there is that bright light emanating directly from the phone.
Well, at least as long as the battery lasts.
Then there is the power bank.

Technology has certainly made a difference.

However, the downside?
The advancement of technology too relied heavily on the use of electricity, or power in general.

For instance, our digital telephones at home, left uncharged would be practically useless when the power is out.
That makes you think of the old-fashioned dial phone.
(Makes mental note to restore one in the house).

Anyway, many thoughts ran through my mind as the children(nieces and nephew) rant about the power outage.

We had to send an aunt home and the young children wasted no time in climbing into the car to escape the darkness and of course, to enjoy an air-conditioned ride.
(They are young kids)

During the ride, the children asked about the restoration of the power and the causes of the outage.

It was then that I decided to enlighten these little kids (niece and nephew; the older niece did not join in the ride - there were two young children and a teenage girl altogether); well, it wasn't intentional but more of a spur of a moment thing as the past came to mind.
(I didn't mean to be such a drag queen; lecturing these little ones).

There were days when electricity never existed.
People survived living in the dark and going without the luxury of cool air from the air-conditioning units, or even a simple table fan.
All they had were probably candles, and fans made of rattan/bamboo which they would have to continuously flap, back and forth to cool themselves to sleep.

I remembered the stories I have heard from the elders in my family, and my own parents who have been through such experiences.

If there were no electricity, don't even begin to talk about the access to the Internet, television or even owning a smartphone.
The Internet or even a mobile phone did not even exist then.

But, that's not really the point I'm trying to make.

Those were the days, or are they really still a blast from the past?

The reality is NO, and sadly so.

Perhaps most of us have grown up blessed in many ways, having experienced the value of electricity and modern technology that many could not possibly imagine a world without these items (smartphones, Internet, digital media, etc).
To most of us, these are no longer termed as luxuries but have clearly etched into our lives as the bare necessities.

But, there are people, who are still living in the dark.
Yes, even this very day.

The number of people out there in this world without a home is staggering; let alone sitting under a fluorescent light bulb or cooling themselves from the scorching heat with that nice gust of wind from the ceiling fan or even air-conditioners turned on with simply a click.

We are truly blessed, to even have that roof over our heads.

It is this very thought that we should have even when we are in that joyous festive celebration mood.

I am not saying that we cannot enjoy the modern technology or even lower down your spirits because of this, but rather, as we are enjoying those moments of happiness with our loved ones, spare a thought for those homeless out there and those without their loved ones.

Think of those who do not have electricity at home.
Think of those who do not even have food on the table, or that tiny amount yet to feed the many mouths around the table.
Think of those who had no access to even water in their daily lives.

Yes, we are blessed but let's not rub our blessings simply because we are more fortunate than others; rather keep them in mind that there are many out there who are still living in such conditions.

We have food on our table, pray for those who don't.
We have a place to live in, pray for those who could barely find a proper shelter for even a night.
We have access to the rest of the world, pray for those who could barely even find their loved ones.

Spare a thought, or better still, make it a point to do something to help out.
You don't have to be a superhero to save the world; but start with a thought.
(Everyone is a superhero in their own way; you don't need a cape or label for that).

But most of all, keep that thought in mind the next time we rant about running out on battery on our cell phone, and pass the message on to the little ones.

It is quite an experience to go without electricity, but it was the darkness where there is truly light.

The two hours brought these thoughts to my mind, and I am glad I was able to share my thoughts with two young children (at least they found my theories fascinating and did not yawn, thumbs up kids!)

It was pitch dark and possibly some would even cringe at the mention of that; for it would seem inauspicious to not have power when the beginning of the New Year is just a few hours away.

However, it was in the black of darkness that we are enlightened and we get to share and experience what the people in my thoughts are going through.

That is hardly inauspicious, but rather, it is a light that I see.

It is the Light of Inspiration that I would like to pass on.

Keep that flame of compassion and love going; not only for those we know and love, but also for those we do not know yet are living on the same planet.

No one is far more fortunate than another; and definitely not more privileged.

Keep that in mind that we are all the same, and that is the Light we truly share.

Keep that Light of Compassion in our hearts and Shine on that Light of Kindness wherever we go.

The world would be dark without these Lights and it will only truly Light up when these lights are turned on.

May the World be Brightly Lit with everyone shining these lights from their own heart torches...


*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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