By Kai Teo
Ever since I started writing, my goal has been a simple, but ambitious one: To write a better world.
I’ve written articles to remind the world that feminism isn’t about underarm hair, that anarchism isn’t about hate, and that volunteerism isn’t about ourselves. I thought I had great ideas based on love, selflessness, and a genuine, burning desire to make the world a better place.
Sometimes, my article gets 20 likes, rarely 200. It really isn’t much in terms of any real world change. I’m not even sure if there really is anyone whose life has been truly impacted by any of my words, or if it even inspired a moment of deep reflection.
Buddha Mag’s projects to feed the homeless or initiatives to kick-start a more caring society somehow, didn’t get the exposure, nor the response, that I envisioned. “Wow, imagine if the 300,000 people in Malmö each donated 10 SEK (1.08 EUR), we would have enough to feed the homeless here for a month!”
Our “Feed Malmö – Crowdfunding Falafels for the Homeless” project only managed to raise 2700 SEK (270 EUR), and our 135 falafel rolls were given out in a mere 2 days, hardly any real impact. Today, our homeless are still hungry, and still homeless.
It was extremely discouraging, and it made me wonder, “Do people really give a fuck about making the world a better place? Or do they only care about how many likes they get on their instagram?”
Many have told me that they are starting to see a worldwide awakening, people becoming more aware, more conscious. What did they wake up to? Wearing bindis, taking acid, doing yoga, going to festivals? Or becoming a vegan who’s constantly hating the people who are still eating meat? Or paying more for ecological products and scowling at the struggling single mother of three for going for the cheapest loaf of bread?
It’s difficult for me to imagine that our priorities have changed when a Youtube video about some politician saying stupid stuff on TV gets more likes and views than a deeply educational documentary about human evolution. It’s disheartening to see my fellow “rainbow warriors” post selfies on their Facebook, while claiming that the world is being consumed by its obsession with the material and the evil smartphone.
Really, another year has passed, and what has humanity achieved?
Or what have you and I achieved in terms of making lives better for the less fortunate? Have we been using social media as our tool towards world change, or have we let it become just another form of self-indulgent drug to numb our minds after a day of senseless work?
When I turned 30 two months ago, I was forced to confront my own life and ask the question, “What have I fucking done for humanity?” On my birthday, I quit my 14-year habit of smoking cigarettes as a protest against the giant tobacco companies (and for health reasons too). What next?
I’ve moved to Sweden from Singapore for almost four years now, and just to be able to keep my visa, I’ve been stuck in a job that I absolutely abhor – I’m a copywriter in advertising.
Dear boss, if you’re reading this (which I highly doubt so, because you’re too busy making money), yes, I hate my job, and I see completely no sense in the work that we do, selling shit to people so that rich people can become richer, with my writing. My words! That I intend to use for world change! Rendered to just a mere tool to sell stuff?
And I hate myself for every minute I am in the office, just because I’m trying to earn some pocket money and my freedom to stay in this country. Over the past 7,000 hours I’ve spent in front of that computer screen, the only thing I’ve achieved is understanding that work like that is an insult to the human spirit. And I cannot continue being the hypocrite that keeps preaching world peace and progress and higher consciousness and continue selling my soul to corporations. If I want to continue to respect myself, and if I want anyone to take my writing seriously, I cannot continue slaving away here. There you go, I’ve said it. You can fire me. But you will never kill my burning passion for writing.
And dear readers, please help me with food and stuff. Oh, and someone please marry me, so that I can get to stay in Sweden?
This year, let us do some real work that would actually help people.
The refugee crisis is still a crisis. There are still retarded neo-nazis, dumb racists, blind religious zealots, neanderthal sexists, sick corporate bankers etc. There are millions still homeless and hungry. There is more work to be done.
Dear human beings, I want to make the world a better place. And I really hope you do too. But if you think that giving 5 euros to Greenpeace every month while spending 100 on a new pair of Nikes would really make a difference, I urge you to think again. To change the world, I believe we first have to change ourselves, the way we live, the way we think, and the way we treat one another.
So let me take the first step, by quitting this corporate slavery, and vow to never step foot in an advertising agency again. It’s time for me to dedicate Buddha Mag to the love revolution. It’s time for me to dedicate my writing to artists, musicians, performers, and activists, who want their message heard. It’s time for me to put my life into projects that can really benefit the less fortunate.
It is now time for me to be part of the future that I want my children to live in.
Your move next.