The Road More Travelled

Photo credit: Khairil M. Bahar

Having spent the most recent couple of years learning a lot about myself than I ever have, I have begun practicing the art of voluntary simplicity.

Back in 2004, I could get away with saying that I couldn’t afford it, and by now I have indeed saved enough to invest in a set of wheels.

But I have chosen not to, not because I am miserly.

One of the most rewarding aspects of public transport is the sensory ambush.

I have probably seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted more of the city than the average car driver in KL. The alleys, the pathways, the street food, the sea of faces… they never cease to fascinate.

I look up into the sky and observe how tree branches compete for sun, how streetlamps flicker, how clouds form.

I sit in the bus and hear arguments, laughter, languages I have never heard before, conversations struck between strangers.

I watch a flurry of hands as deaf friends discuss a topic undoubtedly exciting. I listen intently to the life stories of cab drivers.

I teach toddlers on the train and the bus stop how to give high fives to the amusement of their mothers. I hold the hands of blind people as they cross the street in Brickfields, I feel the gentleness of their palms and the gratitude in their voice.

The smell of jasmine, exhaust fumes, incense, body odor, rain, sewage, keropok lekor, waft through my hair, besiege my nostrils, and hurl my floating state of mind back into the unique Malaysian madness I choose to make my presence in.

Eyes of passing strangers meet mine and enrich me with a sense of community.

There have been moments I have found myself less than appreciative of the flawed public transport system, but never for too long. A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling exhausted after a long humid day of work and extensive commuting around the city. I was making my way to my last appointment of the evening in Bukit Bintang, when I happened to pass by a group of street percussionists.

Their pounding rhythms compelled me to stay a couple of minutes. One of the drummers spotted me bouncing in the crowd, and pulled me into the centre of their circle. Turned out they were performing their last song. To the cheers of the crowd, I put down my bags and unleashed my inner monkey.

I met my friend sticky but revitalized. He asked, “What happened to you?” I laughed, and forgave myself for ever feeling ungrateful.

General consensus is that public transport in Malaysia is impractical and a waste of time. But with a new adventure that awaits the moment I step out of my house, with the things I have seen, heard, and been a part of, and the deep breaths I take when people ask me how my day was, perhaps being impractical and wasting time isn’t too much of a bad thing.

Love,

Davina

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Davina’s profile spans over a decade as an actor, writer, events manager, dancer, host and voice-over artiste. She most recently performed in the new musical THE SECRET LIFE OF NORA (Enfiniti Vision Media). She will be appearing next in a new murder mystery play KLUE, DOH! (Terryandthecuz Productions) in December, and in English independent movie RELATIONSHIP STATUS, written and directed by Khairil M Bahar, to be released early 2012. In her free time, Davina pursues sustainable living, animal rights, photography, sports, and buses when she is hellbent on catching them before the lights go green. Follow her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/duuuhvina

Love Is Not Love Until It’s Given Away

We are hard wired for Love–to live love, to breathe love and to share love with others.

There is a deep emptiness in humanity that can only be filled with Love.

If we realize the power of love to heal and transform lives, we would learn to GIVE LOVE, as much as we’d like to receive love.

My wife and I have had the privilege to share Love with leprosy patients for the last 7 years in the Philippines.

We combine our roles as counselors, teachers and healers through the creative use of music and massage therapy to bring hope and comfort to their dark world of pain and rejection.

Treated as the scorn of society, leprosy patients are often reduced to feeling like they’re good for nothing. Most people do not want to touch them, out of an erroneous fear of contamination, reinforcing the blatant lie of how unlovable they are.

As if this wasn’t awful enough, at night, sometimes rats would come to eat away at their toes.

They feel like they are cursed. Living in isolation from the world and swamped in self-hatred, their low self-worth is written all over their faces and expressions which begs the answer to the question, “What did I do to deserve this?”

Beneath the unsightliness inflicted on them by leprosy, there is an individual soul created for dignity and honor. Their visible wounds conceal a heart that is close to God’s heart and deeply loved by Him.

Looking deep into their eyes, my wife and I can often feel God looking back at us, through their eyes.

For you, your challenge to love may come in many other forms or people you find hard to love.

It could be your sister you had a fight with, your brother who misunderstood you, a friend who hurt you with reckless words or someone you know who has wounded you deeply out of pride and insecurity.

Could you begin to look deeper beneath the surface of hurt, pain and anger and see God’s eyes looking back at you? He is lovingly asking, “Will you love ME in them, UNCONDITIONALLY, as I have loved you?”

Love is the strongest force in the universe.

May we realize the power we have within us to make a difference in this world.

Starting with the person we feel most unworthy of Love.

Love Healers,

Brian & Mirte (Anisha) Longridge

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The Longridges is a crazy story of two people who are musicians and counselors who fell in love and spent their honeymoon in a leprosy camp in the mountains of Indonesia for two months–it was to be a decision that forever altered the path of their lives to what it is today: A life dedicated to showing true Love: http://www.leprosyphilippines.blogspot.com