Archive | October, 2009

Fall on Your Knees : The Magical Story of My Kindle

8 Oct

“Fall on your knees…

O hear the angels’ voices…”

A couple of days ago while I was auctioning my Kindle for the victims of Padang earthquake, I gave a hint on my Twitter status that I will share a magical story behind it. This is my attempt to tell you that strange, but beautiful story.

Most of you will already know that I have a good share of medical problems. On December last year, I was hospitalized due to several complications related to my HIV. Sometime before that, I said something on Twitter, saying that there’s nothing more I’d prefer for that Christmas beside a couple of things : my health, and an Amazon Kindle. Now, I simply didn’t mean it as a terribly serious wish list. It was more like a playful prayer for me. Especially because back then I began to feel the repercussions of my bad health, one of them being a physical exhaustion which came far too fast when I worked / read on sitting position in my desk.

Enter Lily. Someone who I seriously suspected as having a bigger heart than your average human beings. I did not know Lily before ( I use a pseudonym here, of course ), save for a couple of e-mails we exchanged where we had short discussions about HIV. Needless to say, I also hadn’t met her physically.

Apparently, she read my tweet about those things that I wish for Christmas. A beautiful angel that she was, she then sent me a private message saying that she “might be able to grant me one of those wishes,…” which meant giving me an Amazon Kindle. Now consider this for one second. She’s a serious book lover who likes to read e-books. For that purpose, she ordered that Kindle via her sister who stays in the United States, and patiently waited for the sister to fly back to Indonesia in December to bring her that Kindle. Just imagine that. To this day, I cannot completely comprehend what she did. To give a thing that you have been desiring for so long ? Let alone giving it to a man who you barely know. And true to her words, I will not forget that day when Lily walked to my hospital bed, meeting me for the first time at my worst period of life, and handed me that Kindle. That was the Magic no. 1.

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Ever since that day, Lily became a dear friend to me and my wife. She keeps on amazing us by constantly being among the first one to offer her support in whatever problems we were facing, like the time when my wife and I lost our jobs. This is precisely why that Kindle meant a lot to me, – because it was a powerful testimony and a token of love from someone who cares deeply -, aside from it being a very useful e-book reader.

Months passed, and here we are, stunned by what happened to our brothers and sisters in Padang. I was deeply grieved about it, and have been racking my brains about what can I do to help them. Being a person in my circumstances, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have anything to give or donate.

Until I remember my Kindle. Granted, it was very hard to part with it, what with it being an almost-talismanic object to remind me of a wonderful friend that I have. But if there’s one thing I learnt from Lily, it was a simple lesson she taught me when she mentioned that “…the Kindle is much more important to you than to me…”. A simple yet deeply profound thing to say. What we have may mean the world to others. It just takes guts to let go of the things you love, and release them to help other people.

So after getting her agreement, I decided to auction that Kindle for the Padang victims. That wasn’t easy, mind you. Yet I experienced the pure joy of giving, which certainly is a life-transforming experience for me. That was the Magic no. 2.

———————-

Does the story end here? I expected so. Nothing prepared me for the Magic no. 3. Brace yourself for Michele, another one of my Twitter friends. Apparently, she was monitoring what I did with the Kindle auction from Day 1. I could not fathom the goodness of her heart, -but to cut a long story short-, she said she ordered a second generation of Kindle as a gift for me to replace the one I auctioned. She thinks what I did was a kind gesture, and insisted that giving me a new Kindle is only appropriate as her way of giving donations.

At this very point, my heart skipped a beat. This whole Kindle story is almost too magical to believe. Full of inspirations, and was ushered in my life by two angelic friends. It gives me chills to think about it, even as I wrote this post. Why, – at the risk of sounding cheesy -, I think it is even worthy as a story for one of those books in the Chicken Soup series..!

But the most important things are the lessons I learned throughout all of this. Allow me to humbly share them with you :

  • What you have may mean a lot to you. But it may well mean way a lot more to those people who are unfortunate. The true measure of a person is in letting go of what he has to help those in need.
  • If you want to do a good thing, do not think too much about it. Just do it without thinking about what you have to lose. Do it simply because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Never hesitate about whether people will remember you if you need help from others. If you can help others at this moment, that is your part in life. Give, and it will come back to you.

As I close this story, I can’t help but think of those lines from a wonderful Christmas song. It is my prayers that I will never forget this story to remind myself to always be humble, and doing whatever I can to forward the wonderful love I have received.

“Fall on your knees…

O hear the angels’ voices…”

Kindle Auction for Padang Quake Victims

5 Oct

I’m doing this with a very heavy heart. First of all, being a writer, my Kindle has been a very prized possession of mine. Not to mention that it was given to me by a very dear friend of mine, which left a deep imprint of my heart because it was given to me during my difficult times when I was hospitalized December last year.

However, after clearing this out with the said friend, I decided to auction my dear Kindle. I just could not stay silent after what happened in Padang. The town was hit by a bout of severe earthquakes and was devastated by it. Today, I am also particularly sickened by the news which stated that the help for the victims was biased against a particular ethnic. Granted, not all of the relief organizations and workers acted this way. Still, I lament those who did. How can anybody act so callously? How can you be so insolent to insult humanity by choosing who to help? All victims are human, period. Everybody must be helped, regardless of their ethnicity, race or religion.

So, solemnly I do this. I’m not going to lie, I still need an eBook reader; especially with my condition who gets too easily exhausted reading in sitting positions. That’s why, I’m keeping part of the auction proceeds to find a new reader. I hope that there will still be enough interest to bid on my Kindle, considering that eBook reader is a difficult thing to find here.

So here’s how it works :

The minimum bid is IDR 3,500,000.  It definitely is not cheap.  But again, an eBook reader is very difficult to get here in Indonesia, – and we’re doing this for a good cause.

I will keep the minimum bid for the reason I stated above. Any difference between the minimum bid and the winning bid will be donated to Padang earthquake victim. For example, if the winning bid is IDR 5 million, I will donate 1.5 million to the victims.

The auction begins at the time of this post.

The bids will need to be entered and raised by a minimum amount of IDR 100,000.

You bid by commenting on this post with your desired amount. I will contact the winner by e-mail. Please check this post regularly to monitor the bids.

The bidding period ends at Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 0.00 am ( GMT +7 ). This may be extended if there’s not enough interest.

The winner will need to meet me somewhere in Jakarta to pick up the Kindle. If he/she wants it to be sent somewhere outside Jakarta, I may be able to do so. Any shipping cost and risk would need to be separately paid.

As for my Kindle, above is the picture of it. I still have its complete accessories : charger, packaging, manual, and its leather cover. Please bear in mind that it’s the first generation of Kindle, the specification of which can be found here.

Needless to say, I reserve the right to cancel or amend any of the auction rules. However, as I ponder about what happened, it is my sincerest prayer that you all can join hands with me in doing whatever we can to help alleviate the effect of this grievous thing to our brothers in Padang.

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