It’s just that simple…

By Ong Mei Lin

We tend to complicate things, well, at least for the most part of my life, that was me. But, not this time. The trip to Cambodia to build water filters for the villagers was intended as my experiment with life on doing spontaneous things and throwing myself into the unknown.  I read about the trip on Facebook in February 2014 when friend of a friend posted her recount of a similar trip.

As I read, I felt the urge rising inside me to do the same. My life experiment at that time was to turn every ‘No’ in my thoughts into a ‘Why NOT?.’ So, in spite of the dinosaur brain in me whispering ‘you know, this is just going to be one of your passing whims…’ I pushed myself further, lifted my finger to click that button on the screen. There, I responded to saying yes to fundraising for Water for Cambodia under the administration of MAD Experience. With a few more clicks, my fundraising page had been set up.

Next, came the fundraising challenge. The strategy to help me through this was the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I would just have to donate everything myself if nobody supported my campaign. I started telling my friends about this project and used Facebook to spread the word. I must confess that I did the bare minimum as my target was just to hit USD300. In fact, I didn’t receive a big number of donations but for the handful that responded, they were very generous donors who gave a minimum of USD50 each. This was beyond my imagination (I know, I must learn to think big… it will be my next life experiment.)

I learned from my donors that they donated not only because they believed in humanity but also because they believed in helping me in my endeavour to improve myself. I also found that my first donors who donated on the very first day I posted my fundraising page did so because they had been to Cambodia and witnessed how the black water of Tonle Sap was used as the drinking water of the people. Still, some donors were happy to chip in simply because they did not have the time to contribute to the effort.

Things were quiet with the fundraising between March and April. As the date drew nearer, I psyched myself to be open with whatever happened and stayed positive. Then, the magic happened, things just fell into place serendipitously.  It was then that the last few donations came in providently without much effort on my part. My finances for the month were dealt with smoothly to accommodate the additional expenses to cover for the trip. My leave application, all documentations and arrangements fell in place without any hiccups. Before I knew it, I had gone MAD and ran Amok* in Siem Reap and back.  

What I have discovered on this trip is that life will unfold itself and bring surprises if only I am willing to step out boldly in faith. It is through stepping out into the unknown that gives life that chance to make things happen. Secondly, fundraising is not as intimidating as I thought. People are generally happy to lend a helping hand for a good cause. So, will I go on another trip with MAD? Absolutely. In 2015, I will be back with a vengeance.

*Amok = a popular Cambodian dish of steamed fish curry which I had for almost every meal in Siem Reap