I was very amused to discover that there is actually a website that has been selling certificates of stars named after you or your loved ones since 1979. People actually buy them.
Q: Can I order on the Web?
A: Yes. You may begin placing your order by clicking on the Product Catalog link.
Q: Can I order by Phone?
A: Yes. Please call 1-800-_______. Our customer service personnel are standing by to assist you.
Q: Can I name a star?
A: Yes. You can dedicate a star to someone special. We offer a Gift Package where we select a special star in the sky and record your Star Name and Star Date. The Gift Package includes a beautiful parchment Certificate, a Sky Chart with your name and the star’s coordinates and an informative booklet on astronomy. We publish all names in the astronomical compendium Your Place in the Cosmos©, which is registered in the U.S. Copyright Office.
Q: Am I buying the star?
A: No. We do not own the star, so we cannot sell it to you.
This is like adopting the star. This star is associated with that special someone. It is something you can point at to know that there is something special out there for you.
Q: Will the scientific community recognize my star name?
A: No. We are a private company that provides Gift Packages. Astronomers will not recognize your name because your name is published only in our Star catalog. We periodically print a book called Your Place in the Cosmos © which lists the stars that we have named.
Q: Can I return the product?
A: Yes. If you are not completely satisfied, you may return your product for a full refund. We want you to appreciate our products and if you are not happy, then we are not happy.
Q: Can I order by Mail?
A: Sure. Download our order form from here. Fill in the order form and return it to the address listed along with your payment. We will process your order and send it to you.
Now someone please help me make a clever idea out of my digital storytelling! LOL.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
Atheists aren’t the only ones who have a hard time believing in the existence of God.
Why would the writer writing to believers state the obvious – “believe that he (God) exist”? Shouldn’t believers believe in the existence of God? Is that not why we are called “believers”?
Jesus’ name “Emmanuel,” means “God with Us.”
When times are good, we can forget that God exists and live oblivious to his presence. When times are hard, we can also we forget that God exists and that he is with us.
Outright disbelief isn’t the only way to deny his existence. We can deny his existence by living as if he is not here with us.
“Oh my heart, he is here. He rewards. Earnestly seek him.”
Not the blatant form of sin, oh no! Not. But the slow insidious erosion of life lived in Christ.
It begins with “the Shift” – a momentary taking my eyes off Jesus. A singular innocent enough glance that grows into a gawk.
Before you knows it, the glance-turned-gawk has made you lose sight of Jesus, your first love and once-upon-a-time all consuming affection and reason for your life.
My glance, my Shift – not the blatant forms of sin, oh no! But my grand dreams.
Goals and dreams, no matter how grand and glorious, must be subdued and surrendered under the authority of Christ. Grand dreams no matter how noble can become my idol.
In the 1990s, I used to go deep sea fishing about once a year. Fishes are migratory. Rashid, our boatman and a passionate fisherman, took time to look for these fishing spots. We bait our lines and drop it hundreds of meters down into deep waters. We felt the subtle nibbles of the fish. But we learned through trial and error to patiently wait for that distinct tug at the end of our lines.
Two thousand years ago, an exhausted fisherman said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” (I can just hear the exasperation in his voice.) “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
For the past two years, I’ve been a hunter – hunting down everything that breathes and moves storytelling. At the end of 2012, tired and exhausted, I surrendered my grand dreams to Jesus (again).
I’ve turned to fishing again – fishing of a different sort. I have not lost my passion for storytelling but I’ve wised up. There is a time and a season for everything. I’ve thrown in the lines. Now it’s time to wait for that distinct tug. Patiently.
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
In the early 80s, I attended a three-day writing workshop. Our writing coach Chuck Unger gave us a pre-workshop assignment – write a 250-word essay.
Before the first morning tea break, Chuck got us to cut out 50 words from our essays. That brought my essay down to 200 words. It was easy to remove the first 50.
Before the afternoon tea break, Chuck made us cut out another 50. No explanation given. Just cut. That was not as easy as it was the first time. But well, 200 words could still say what needed to be said. By the end of day one, our 250-word essay was down to 150 words.
On the second day, again with no explanation, our coach got us to delete another 50 (ouch!) and then another 50 (ooouuuch!). I could hear the groans of my fellow writer-wannabes. I thought long and hard what words HAD TO stay and what words could go. My essay was down to 50 words by the end of day two.
You can already guess it by now. Chuck got us to delete another 25 words on the morning of day three. Only at the end of the workshop did he explain, “That last 25 words is the heart and essence of what you really want to say.”
That simple lesson has stayed with me all these years in my work as a writer and now as a storyteller. When one is creating a 2-minute digital story every word counts.
More isn’t always better. The race isn’t always given to the swift. Microwave cook isn’t as delicious as slow cook. Fast food meals are never as satisfying as slow meals (especially when enjoyed over a leisurely conversation). Metamorphosis must take its course or you will have butterflies with colourful but deformed wings that cannot fly. Gestation takes nine months. Shorten it and we get pre-mature babies that we have to fight to keep alive with costly incubation.
Conversations takes time. Nurturing and maturing a nation takes time. Can we microwave a nation into being?
The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2011. The official website states…
…to collect, preserve and provide access to stories, moments and memories related to Singapore, so as to tell the Singapore Story. These recollections will come from Singaporeans, organisations, and groups. We aim to collect 5 million personal memories as well as a substantial number of published materials on Singapore by 2015.
5,000,000 (that’s five with six zeros) that’s a lot of stories.
Here’s another way of looking at the numbers.
2011 to 2015
3,425 stories per day
23,975 stories per week (7 days)
102,750 stories per month (30 days)
1,250,125 stories per year (365 days – YEAR 1)
As of today, 6 February 2013, the count stands at 164,580 stories.
I don’t know how the magic five million came about and I can’t comment on how the target will be reached. As a storytelling facilitator, I know that it takes time to develop a safe place for people to want to tell stories. Singapore is going through a very critical crossroad in our history.
In our drive to meet KPIs, I hope we do not lose what to me should be at the heart of this five million stories drive… the tremendous platform we have to use storytelling as a way to
- bring us back to the ancient path where we lost our way
- bridge relationships
- as one people dream of the home that we want to make for ourselves
Anthropologists say storytellers
arise when the society has lost its way
— Dr Joseph Sobol
More ideas than life to live
DANCE as though no one is watching you...
LOVE as though you have never been hurt before...
SING as though no one can hear you...
LIVE as though heaven is on earth...
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