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#31 Weekend reads – the imbalance of the festive season

My two boys emailed their Christmas wish list to us recently. It’s an extravagant list of “essentials” and our boys are always lucky when it comes to the festive season, but this year, with so many struggling to even eat, it feels different. It feels wrong.

I’ve sat them down many times to discuss the importance of not buying stuff for the sake of it, to take better care of the planet, and that “stuff” will never truly make them happy. But they are still young, and neither their dad or I will take away simple pleasures from them, while continuing to speak with them to help them understand the importance of creating more balance in the world. And of being more charitable in all they do too.

As adults, we can take a different path and I’m happy we’re doing zero gifts for Christmas in 2020. Instead, the money we’d typically spend on each other is going to the World Food Program. It’s the least we could do, because here in Phuket, Thailand, the impact of Covid19 is happening to our neighbours. We see it every day. It’s not over there. Here and all over the world, people do not have enough to eat and until this pandemic is over, it is not going to change.  

Our Phuket community came together beautifully this year and there is a lot of amazing work being done to help everyone in need. I feel so privileged to be part of this community. Generous and caring all.

As an example, at the boys’ school, we have a Giving Tree. The children from a migrant school left a star with their name, age and the gift they want, and it was things like a dress for a 10 year old girl, or a pair of soccer boots for a nine year old boy. The simplicity of their requests really touched my heart.

The school, UWC Thailand, is also doing an alternative advent calendar. On each day, it has things like

  • 2 litres of cooking oil
  • 6 bars of soap
  • 4 toothbrushes
  • 2kg of flour
  • 5kgs of rice
  • 2kg of sugar
  • 4 packs of sanitary napkins
  • And on it goes

I filled a shopping cart with this stuff today, and I’m still only half way through because I couldn’t manage a second cart! More than that, I want to buy the rest from a local shop to help their business too. The supermarkets have done very well in 2020, just like Amazon.

But all over the world, basic necessities are what people need right now. It’s also not a short term problem. We have a long term challenge to face, with the World Food Program sounding the alarm about the hunger pandemic coming our way. Some recent articles on it.

World could face ‘hunger pandemic’ in 2021, World Food Program warns

Nobel UN food agency warns 2021 will be worse than 2020

WFP warns of famines of biblical proportions in 2021, urges quick steps to stop spread of hunger

If your family is in a position to do it, could you make donations – locally or to global charities – to help out? However, we’re not going to make it through with one-offs, so could you set up a monthly charity contribution and regularly donate until this is over? Ten percent of your income? More?

And if you know anyone in the super rich ranks, maybe have a word with them? With reports that less than 10% in this bracket are regularly donating before the pandemic – not just now – I’d suggest regular 10% donations from the super rich would make a HUGE difference. Let’s come together and overcome together.


If you can spare some money, please donate where it makes sense to you, or to the UN Refugee Program and World Food Program. There is also PowerOf  which is worth checking out. Another organization I adore is You can really empower people through Kiva.

Friends content

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Content to read

And here’s the content I’ve been reading this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.

Climate Crisis / 6th Mass Extinction

Climate risk and response in Asia tks Susanna Hasenoehrl – download the report

Mexico Bans Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

Arctic Oil Spill: Nornickel Failures, Tank Flaws Caused Catastrophe – Report

‘Our right to fire’: Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

‘Unjustifiable’: new report shows how the nation’s gas expansion puts Australians in harm’s way

More Women in Boardrooms Mean Better Climate Policy, BNEF Says

Stubble burning: Why it continues to smother north India

Shipping Industry and Asian Nations Object to EU Pollution Plan tks Susanna Hasenoehrl

Secondhand no longer second-best for UK’s ‘circular economy’ consumers

Polar scientists wary of impending satellite gap

Sydney records hottest November night on record


Swedish experience with swine flu vaccine sparks fears as WHO warns of ‘infodemic’

NIH Director Tells Churches To Do The “Altruistic, Loving Thing” And Stay Closed

Doctors say CDC should warn people the side effects from Covid vaccine shots won’t be ‘a walk in the park’ tks Helen Jackie

Covid-19: UK surpasses 60,000 deaths

Covid-19 Superspreader Wedding In Washington State Linked To 7 Deaths Of People Who Didn’t Even Attend

Singapore’s Red Ants are here to remind (and occasionally shame) you about mask-wearing

Among First Acts, Biden to Call for 100 Days of Mask-Wearing

Biden Asks Fauci To Serve As ‘Chief Medical Advisor’ During Covid Crisis

Couple arrested for knowingly boarding flight while COVID-19 positive tks Bob Hooey

Obama, Bush And Clinton Will Get On-Camera Covid-19 Vaccine To Boost Public Confidence As Trump Remains Silent

Cyberattacks Discovered on Vaccine Distribution Operations

US biotech firm Moderna wants to bring Covid-19 vaccine to S’pore as early as Dec. 2020 tks Priscilla Joseph

Covid-19: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine judged safe for use in UK

Sweden’s anti-lockdown experiment flopped. Now it faces a wave of pandemic pain. tks David Lim

1 In Every 800 North Dakota Residents Now Dead From Covid

The Long Darkness Before Dawn

International students land in Australia for first time since coronavirus shuttered borders

Covid: Fauci warns of ‘surge in cases’ post Thanksgiving

Global Politics

They’re Fine With It tks Joyce Ano

UK, EU call in leaders to save trade talks

An anti-gay Hungarian politician has resigned after being caught by the police fleeing a 25-man orgy through a window

Thailand’s youth rebellion: Protest movement demands monarchy reform

PM and treasurer bill taxpayers for private jet to Lachlan Murdoch’s Christmas party tks Shaun McEwan

Trump news: Wisconsin and Arizona last battlegrounds to certify results confirming Biden victory

The GOP Is a Propaganda Party

Twitter Confirms Trump Could Be Banned After Inauguration Day For Repeated Violations

2,596 Trades in One Term: Inside Senator Perdue’s Stock Portfolio

Why Donald Trump keeps outperforming the polls

Bill Barr bashed in right-wing media after election fraud comments: ‘He is either a liar or a fool or both’ tks Frank Roberts

Trump inciting violence, warns Georgia election official

Presidential Transition Highlights: Justice Dept. Has No Evidence of Fraud That Would Undo Biden’s Win, Barr Says

New records show Trump’s DOJ rushed a no-bid contract for lethal injection drugs

Biden announces all-female White House communications team tks Glenn Van Zutphen

Covid: Dr Scott Atlas – Trump’s controversial coronavirus adviser – resigns

Fox News Is No Longer Insane Enough for Fox Viewers

Australia demands China apologise for posting ‘repugnant’ fake image

The Rotting of The Republican Mind

The King of Trump TV Thinks You’re Dumb Enough to Buy It

Trump supporter who gave $2.5m to fight election fraud wants money back

Top Georgia Republican RIPS Trump’s disinformation campaign ON FOX NEWS

Business and Technology

He Asked His Team How to Avoid Layoffs. Their Response Thrilled Him tks Cheryl Liew

One of biology’s biggest mysteries ‘largely solved’ by AI

Changing mindsets and behavior, one “nudge” at a time

School’s out (of the classroom) forever: The very best global schools

Timnit Gebru: Google staff rally behind fired AI researcher

Tony Hsieh, retired CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, dies at 46 after house fire

The Upside of Your Public Speaking Jitters

Social issues (#BlackLivesMatter) and humanity

Tony Hsieh’s American Tragedy: The Self-Destructive Last Months Of The Zappos Visionary tks Tim Wade

Laws Against ‘Love Jihad’ Are Yet Another Serious Attack on India’s Once Secular Democracy

China #MeToo: Court to hear landmark case of intern versus TV star

What is Your Moment of Truth in 2020 and Beyond?

Children know what makes a leader more than some adults tks David Lim

US House passes historic bill to legalize marijuana at federal level, but Senate looms

Passion, humour, history

A Cat Is Said to Be Joining the Bidens in the White House tks Joyce Ano

New hypothesis argues the universe simulates itself into existence

Wild summer weather the perfect condition for one of the world’s deadliest creatures tks Nicole Lockhart

Let me know if anything jumped out at you?



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