We Have A Winner!
Congratulations to Kathrin Khanchanok Kemmler, 17, the first northern winner of the Dublin Junior Literary Awards competition in a decade! Kathrin won 10,000 baht plus tickets and accommodation for two to attend the national competition in Bangkok where she went on to win the national prize for essay writing. The national prize included two return tickets, and a week’s accommodation, in Ireland to attend the Dublin Literary Festival this month. The theme for this year’s essay was ‘A Journey’, and here is her winning essay:
There. A change. You can feel it. A buzzing sensation courses through you and the world shifts onto eye-blinding clarity. This is it. You know it. Everyone does.
You beat your tail in anticipation, alertness at peak levels when a movement suddenly catches your — there! An opening! Hell breaks loose as you and those around you propel each other forward and surge out into the open. You do not hesitate. You do not stall. You wriggle and jiggle that tail of yours as if your life depended on it.
Go, fast, win. You are programmed to these three instincts. Go, fast, win. Go, fast, win.
You are one of millions. An insignificance. A mistake, a fragment, a triviality; the closest to a nothing. And yet.
You fight for it. You fight for that negligibility.
We all did that day.
We all still do today.
Life is comprised by journeys of the living; all intertwined in one beautiful, delicate, miraculously supernatural mess. With journeys of 7.5 billion individuals, following 7.5 billion different paths, our thoughts, our actions, and our choices couldn’t be more diverse. It is what makes each and everyone of us, in this world, unique. However, if there was to be the most uniform similarity recognised amongst us all, I would say that it is the beginning of our journeys, that characteristic of the winning sperm within ourselves, that we, no matter race, colour or gender, all have in common. For every journey one undertakes, there must be a will. A will to fight and a want that drives us to Be. Therefore, being and taking a stand in this world proves that journeying is something we were born to do, have been born doing and, will continue to do so to the end of our days.
Living life is a matter of journeying. Some journey earth’s incredible spectacles, some journey the vast potential of the mind and others journey the boundaries to chase their dreams and ambitions. We do this, to accomplish what each of us sees as essential, that could be happiness, love, knowledge, the satisfaction of wealth or the sense of importance. We journey, all seeking these intangible elements, expecting to obtain them directly by acquiring them. However, there are a small number of people in this world who think and act so differently. They view the act of giving as their main priority, opposed to the endeavour of attainment. They share their gift or luck with others, whether that be any of the elements invisible to the eye.
I knew a man once, who belonged to the few who dedicated his life to giving whatever he could offer to those he loved. For a full 70 years. Non-stop. He gave and impacted millions of lives with his granting of happiness, love, and knowledge. We, his people, were most fortunate to receive these things from him personally; whilst others travel to the ends of the earth to find what is essential, we had the privilege to remain where we were and gain those very same things. He, the 9th King of the Chakri dynasty, was such a significant and beloved figure amongst the Thai people, that his sudden death this past October, affected the journeys of all. Having been the pillar of stability in Thai society, this loss meant that people faced degrees of uncertainty and vulnerability, making many contemplate the future of both their own and their country’s journey. However, as time shall ease the mourning, we will remember one of his wisest teachings: that life must go on. That we must persevere in confronting life with hope, optimism, and love, so that we may view each crater or low point of our journey as the starting point to rising up. For it is his teachings, memories, and fatherly love that will continue to live on within our hearts and which we will never fail to carry with us for the rest of our journeys. That he will continue to undertake the journey of life, through and within us, thus never truly abandoning this world.
The reason we are here in this world today, living in this world the way it is today, is due to the simple fact that people in the past have given, shared or interacted with those around them. Their interaction and commitment to drawing paths that intersect with the journeys of others, widening them to make contact with as many people as possible, had enhanced their essence of living. Take, for example, all the inventors, writers, explorers, dreamers, or even kings who shaped your everyday life into the way it is today. They, having journeyed the earth, the potential of their mind, and the horizons, have additionally widened the paths of their journeys by sharing with others their experiences and discoveries. Despite the fact that their journeys had eventually ceased, memories and works of them continue to live on within the journeys of those who remain alive. Oscar Wilde, a great writer, once wrote: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Unfortunately, he was right regarding the art of truly living being a rare thing to accomplish. What, however, I feel, does also come across, is the belief that living is the hardest thing in the world. Because it isn’t. To live means to give. And everyone can give. Whether we are in possession of something tangible or not, we are always in the state, capable of giving.
We all originate from that one place we have in common: the start line of our journey as a sperm cell. From then on, journeying life is a matter of intertwining paths with those around us to make the most out of the experience we were granted. To give that quality of who and what we are, to those around us, rather than seeking to gather items of interest for ourselves. Because by the end of the day, when we leave this world, we will not be able to take any of these possessions with us. All that remains is what we have left behind ourselves and given to those who continue to pursue this journey of life.
We come into this world bare, yet we leave this world with nothing; not even a body to carry with us. We come and leave this world as equals but it is what remains of us that makes the difference. That differentiates us all from the billions and billions of individual insignificances that once walked this beautiful, delicate, miraculously supernatural mess of a journey.
There. A change. You can feel it. As if a shroud of peace is casted over you.
Noises drown out of existence and the sense of relief takes its place. Only the pulsing remains.
The slowing thud…thud…thud…thud…
There. You halt.
This is it. You know it.
You smile. Not with that lifeless shell that once was, but with that soul of yours.
A sensation floods you. A sensation of flashes, colours, memories, emotions…you—yes. That’s it. Uplifted. You feel uplifted. And that’s when you let go.
Let go to embrace your lightest journey yet.