Tis The Season To Play It Forward
The high holiday season has again erupted throughout Phuket and festiveness is on view everywhere you look.
Yet one recent event punctuated the true meaning of the season, with the extremely sad passing of local expatriate Brad Kenny.
How can one possibly take the tragedy and turn it into a positive, you might ask?
While I knew Brad on a very casual basis for more than a decade, what is the most profound revelation about his life here on the island has been the cascade of gratitude and messages from those who’s lives he touched.
Generosity, community service and giving something back consistently are the key phrases connected to his life.
For the cynics, haters and online critics of Phuket, the reality is there remains a heart to the expatriate population here. Despite broad nationalities, demographics and geography, the ties that bind is the sheer number of foreigners who call the island home.
The longer you live in one place, the likelihood of those within your social circle, or else broader base of people you meet, and yes, even names on a page that seem familiar with, of passing on is a unglamorous certainty. Life’s great challenge is what is given at one point so easily in the end is taken away harshly and often without warning.
That said, life is no dress rehearsal and the days we have left reside in the present. How or what we do with our time, money, and friends is entirely in our own control.
Too often in a strange in a faraway place, the concept of philanthropy, and charity that seems so common in one’s homeland seem to be forgotten once the island skepticism kicks in.
On a personal basis, I can see so many deeds of kindness here that abound as I look at the time and efforts of my friend’s Sam Fauma and O.B Wetzell with their Rotary crew, or else the laudable team at Phuket Has Been Good Us and yes those who would protect the lives of animals with Soi Dog.
I have barely scratched the surface, as there are countless others who dutifully contribute to the community at hand.
Brad embraced life and deeply understood the meaning of playing it forward, giving something back and not just taking your own slice of paradise.
While we move into the holiday time ahead, reflection and more important looking forward are equal tasks that island expats should do and take a hard close look at the earned praise for the life of one of our good citizens. We can all take a lesson in how one’s own seemingly simple existence can be made into something bigger.
Be it baby steps, or simple activities like volunteering, cleaning up the beach or saving our aquatic wildlife, there are heros walking amongst us each and every day. Don’t do it for the publicity or the self-importance but understand that even if you are a foreigner, Phuket gives you an enviable life, and what better way to repay that with charity and participation.
Playing it forward is about the best New Year’s resolution anyone could have and this includes my own island existence.