Thursday, June 01, 2006

Inspiring Letter from Ali

This morning, I received an email from Ali Manek, a Canadian student who just completed his student exchange program in Hong Kong University. He cancelled his trip to Mainland China because of the earthquake in Yogyakarta. With his committment to the people of the world, he decided to go to Yogyakarta for the humanitarian aids.

Following is his letter to his friends. I think it is very inspiring and it will be good for the people and the ASA friends to read it. Enjoy reading.

As Salaam Alaikum and May Peace be upon you,

I wanted everyone to know something today… I've been in Hong Kong for one year now and what I've learned from my year is that things that we consider BIG in life really are not. I mean that the reality is that we all take so much for granted in this life and often we do not even realize it.

We are all the same – we are all normal people – no one is better and no one is worse, no one is stronger and no one is weaker– we are all just normal people living our lives often not realizing the great stories that lay next door. But what separate us are the small things in life… The details… I've realized that it is those who pay more attention to the small things in the world who can make the biggest difference.

To me, the two most important aspects of living are intention andattention. And my intention throughout everything that I have been involved with in the past year is to raise the attention to global issues. We are all global citizens and I strongly feel that we all have a responsibility towards eliminating the injustices and helping those in need. If we all adopt a small part of this ideology, we will succeed and everyone must do their part.

I haven't written to anyone in a long time so I'm sending this as an update and I hope you will forward it as much as possible. I finished my exams on Friday and feel good about my performance. I am officially finished with Hong Kong University. My friends and I had been planning a great two week holiday to Mainland China which I was very excited about. It was going to be my first holiday in a long time and also my first time into Mainland China. We were to leave on Monday and come two weeks later. I'm leaving to volunteer in Cambodia for the summer shortly so I have been getting ready for that.

Then on Saturday morning, Indonesia was struck by a devastating earthquake. Over 4600 people have died, thousands injured, and 80% of the houses destroyed. Over two million people were affected. So I canceled my China trip, and booked my flight to Indonesia… It was either go on holiday, or go and help others after a Earthquake?… Was this really an option?By the time you read this I will already be in Indonesia. I made sure that by me going I wasn't going to be a burden on anyone and I was very warmly invited by a Student Organization who has set up operations in the affected areas. Over 500,000 people in Yogikarta are students!

One of the biggest mistakes I made before going to the Philippines was that I didn't make a large plea for donations before leaving and whenI was there, I was stuck with very few options on how I could contribute. So this is my plea to you this time… Please help me help those who have been injured by donating as little or as much as youcan. Things are very affordable in Indonesia and even small contributions make such a large difference. Indonesia and Pakistan have similar Governments which will limit how much of a donation will actually arrive to the people… This is one of the reasons I'm going there – to make sure that the donations that are made are delivered in FULL to those who have been affected.

After seeing for myself what is needed, I'm going to be initiating plans and objectives with the organizations to help those affected. If you can contribute, please do…

Visit: for more information on how you can contribute.To those of you who are concerned about me… Please don't be… Don'tworry about my safety or health – I'm with a team of youth who are taking great care of me. Please don't worry about my schooling – I'mfinished for the summer. Please don't worry about anything at all… Iwill be fine I promise.

Thank you very much for everything and I really hope to keep in touch as much as possible with as much information on the situation in the affected areas, Inshallah (God Willing) starting tomorrow. It's a 12hr drive from Jakarta to Yogikarta.

Thank you,