This speech was delivered on 8 July 2015 (Sunset) by Linus
On Linus Lin’s 3rd visit to the village of Zui Tui, he was deeply inspired by how much the villagers kept their words without giving any form of excuses or complaints which he sees as an important human attribute which has been lacking in the more modern society today. In his speech he also urged the children to value their family and not to forget their roots.
There is something that I am truly and deeply inspired by all of you and that there is something I have learnt much from you. And that is that all of you have never broken your promise. In fact, all of you have never complained how tough or unfair and have never given any excuses to justify why things didn’t go the way you have expected.
This is the 3rd time I have visited your village and it is also the 1st time I have come in the rainy season. I have never understood how tough your life can be until I am actually physically here. No books or documentary can accurately depict this and I can’t find any words nor sentences in my language to precisely describe what I have experienced.
By the way I climbed up that path from the primary school to your village. (It’s a 45min climb up several muddy steep slopes between 30 to 45 degree slope) and I almost died halfway by exhaustion. Yet for generations your villagers and children today take that path twice a day so as to get an education. Not to mention 5 months of rainy season that you will need to endure during the climb. This is unimaginable for children in my culture and sometimes I really feel that people in my culture should come and experience this before they think again about complaining how tough school is or complaining about the buses or trains that broke down, rarely even.
Our policeman friend (one of the elder grandson of the granny) upon knowing that I have come to the village and knows that I like Blue Mountain (a fizzy drink that taste like 7-up), said that he will come back here to meet me and buy it for me. Then there was a heavy downpour. He still bought the Blue Mountain and rode his little bike in the cold crazy rain to come up here. (The village is located at a peak of the mountain and he was working at Mindat town a distance downhill)
Then as all of you know there was a landslide and the road up here was extremely dangerous especially in the slippery mud and there is only a small trail left beyond which is a cliff. Yet he made it up here to deliver the Blue Mountain that he promised. Best part is, he didn’t even voice out or complain anything about the downpour, about the landslide and about the dangerous trail he had to take until later when I took the trail myself then I realized what he was experiencing and how cold and strong the downpour really is.
I need all of you to understand that in the culture where I belong, you will hardly find anyone who will go this extra mile to keep a promise. Some people may just call back and say ‘I am sorry but I can’t come in the rain’, or he may say things like ‘Sorry but a landslide blocked my way’. He said nothing. He just came. Without any excuses. Not even interested to let me know how tough it was to get here.
To the people of Zui Tui I just hope that you will understand how valuable this value that your village people uphold really is. This may seem natural to you, which is marvelous! But it is this so very simple value of keeping your promise, which you have and we don’t, that make me feel that all of you deserve much more than what you have today. I see all of you working so hard… so so hard… everyday… and yet you are still fighting hard to try to make ends meet, trying to earn enough to support your children’s education and to pay for your mother’s medical bills, which makes me feel so much more compelled to tell your story to the world so that they will know you better.
I also want to say a big thank you to Stepfen and his wife for preparing such a nice warm bed for us to sleep on last night, which really makes me wonder what you are actually sleeping on and it was so tempting for me to want to lift up the curtain next to me to just take a peep at the side of your sleeping area, which I didn’t of course.
Also to Kee for the wonderful breakfast you bought for us this morning because we decided to delay our trip downhill due to the heavy rain which makes me even more ashamed of myself when I later realized you actually have to make the trip downhill yourself and uphill again in the rain in order to get that breakfast prepared for us. You too did not make any complains nor excuses. You too have kept your promise to give us the best experience in your village. I should have just gone down with you.
To the children of Zui Tui, I hope all of you will learn this great value from your father and mother and do not let them down for all the hard work they have put in in order for you to get an education. No matter how tall your tree grow, you must never forget that your roots are growing in the garden your parents have cultivated. Your own flowers will bloom one day and you will have your own fruits and seeds. Pass on this fantastic value forward and also show your gratitude to your parents and your grandparents. One day you too will become parents of your own.
If I have all the power of the world, I would grant all your wishes. But I don’t because I too is fighting for my own family in my culture. But what power I have is what my parents have given me, the ability to read, write and speak English. I can share your story to more people around me and in the world. I believe if you continue to pray hard and look out for one another, good things will come. It always come and I can at least accelerate it for you.
I cannot guarantee whether things will work well for you but I do believe any seed will grow if we put in effort to cultivate and nurture it. But what I can promise to the children of Zui Tui is this. Study hard, study very very hard, pass your exams with flying colours and come to me one day that you can read, write and speak English well. I can be your doorway to Singapore. I will help you open up your doors. Then you will one day return to your village with your head held high and the village will change for the better. Just like what your brother Joseph, Bo Shwe has done so far.
That, I can promise you.
To view the original version of this speech, click the link(PDF) below.