Kyaw Thu Ra: A 60 word story

A monument that stood to house neighbourhood kids

Motorcycles and bicycles piled up

In line to play soccer


He grabbed my notebook and began to draw

Our only form of communication.

Birds flying and fish swimming

Above and beyond the boats of Inle

Thanaka gleamed on his cheeks

He held up his fingers to show his age




Takin’ it to the streets of East Van



Amsterdam: Life on the canal

Summer has finally arrived in Europe and the heat is sweltering. The key to enjoying hot summer days and evenings is access to refreshing bodies of water. This brings a different form of life to the canals of Amsterdam. People flock to them in droves – setting up picnics for the day, jumping off bridges and of course, cruising around in boats.

Re-construction or destruction?

In order to re-build and re-construct – whether a place is affected by natural disaster, conflict or is just experiencing a rejuvenation – there is some form of perturbing, painful and distraught level of destruction which is usually involved. We are reminded of the amount of soil, wires, cement and steel that are involved to build the spaces in which we live and work.

Through modern construction materials such as bulldozers, cranes and diggers, we are able to create strong foundations for something new. At the same time, we can destroy what was, erasing old memories and spaces as if they never existed.

This is modern development at its best…and worst.


What is your (life) story?


And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.

-Alan Rickman

The world wide pop culture media saw the loss of two British artists last week. Actor, Alan Rickman and musician, David Bowie. It is interesting to witness the need to mourn great artists who many of us admired despite never having known them. We look up their work and are reminded of their talent, what they accomplished. But also read stories told by their loved ones about who they really were, off-stage. There is a desire to celebrate the (intimate) lives of those who have been taken away too soon and to understand what their story was really about.

This is no different from ordinary people. At the end of the day, no matter who you are, it is your story of who you are that is our most valuable and sacred gift. While some may have their stories shared throughout the world, others are told intimately, quietly and yet having no less meaning.


It may sound cliché, but I think it is beautiful to think of each of our lives as one big story, but being made of many parts. Many split-second moments that we often cannot capture or even remember, but they were precious and they affected and directed us. Other times, there are clear memories of a day that changed us in a way we can never forget. Or time periods which we remember as being part of a bigger transition that we call our lives. Each of these count.


The sensational as well as the mundane. But the mundane should not be under-valued. That is when we have time to sit, think, talk, laugh and cry. Write, draw, create, play, observe.

So what is your (life) story and what is mine?

——  ♦  ——

I have reflected a lot on the life lessons that 2015 gave me and there is one that I am carrying with me into 2016 that stands above the rest.

Remain grateful and optimistic about an unknown future.

And be ready to walk through new, (often unimaginable), open doors. 

We need to reflect on our values and principles and allow them to guide our lives. Further, developing visions and goals of how we would like our lives to look like is important. However, we need to be aware that life often takes us in directions (positive and negative) which we could not have foreseen. We need to learn to embrace the unknown path instead of fear it. And in that, we need to acknowledge that our story, yours and mine, is constantly changing. While at the end of our lives, it may appear that we had a beginning, a middle and an end. But in reality, it is the twists and turns within each phase which is the real story.


So tell stories. Share stories. Reflect on what your story is about and how it is very likely to change with each chapter.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

– David Bowie