Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I saw the movie, "Iron Man", a few days ago. My kids are going to see this movie some day when they're older and, like most kids, they'll be really impressed by the hero's ability to fly at supersonic speed and shoot missiles out of his arms. But I hope that's not what makes them think of this guy as a hero. I hope they see him as a hero because he's using his extraordinary powers to help save people.

I once showed Josie an edition of Forbes Magazine featuring the top philanthropists in Asia. I told her, "These are superheroes." She looked at the photos of the businessmen and women and looked up at me quizzically. Where were their superhero costumes and capes? I explained to her that these people couldn't fly or knock down buildings, but they had extraordinary powers - money, fame - and they were using their powers to help save people. I don't know if it registered, but maybe some day it will.

Here are some of my heroes: Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Chris Gardner. What do these people have in common? They're all rich and famous. But that's not why I admire them. All of these people are using their wealth and fame to do a lot of good for a lot of people they don't even know. They're all incredibly smart; smart enough to make a truckload of money and smart enough to use that money to help others.

Maybe they're doing all their charity work for self-serving purposes. Who cares? If Oprah wants to set up foundations to boost her own public image and win her a positive place in history, good for her. But if these foundations help underprivileged children get an education and opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have, then good for the world.

Here's another superhero movie I'd like to see: "Homeless FC".  It's a documentary about a soccer team made up of homeless people in Hong Kong. Nobody leaping over tall buildings or saving the world from villains, but I've read a bit about the film and it sounds like a movie about heroes.   [I'm going to see the film on May 17 or 25.  If you're in Singapore, come with me.]

The two directors are ex-colleagues of mine.  This is their third documentary.  The first two were about East Timor and Cambodia.  They're now working on a documentary about a shoeshine boy from Kenya who wants to ride in the Tour de France.  These two directors work on shoestring budgets to tell the stories of people who are insignificant by most of the world's standards.

When I think of superheroes, I think of qualities that make me feel there is hope in the world because they exist.  

I'm so glad people are making films like this and telling stories about people like this. I think there's hope in the world because people like this exist.  (I'm talking about the documentaries, not "Iron Man".)


leighbee said...

What an interesting posting Shin - thank you......

On the way to the UK I enjoyed the luxury of watching THREE films! (I don't watch TV or go the cinema as a rule so was something very different for me) I cried through 2 of the films to the point where the lady sat next to me passed me a packet of tissues!!!!! I wonder if any of you have watched the films I have..............

I laughed through "40 year old virgin"

I cried through "P.S. I love you" and "THE BUCKET LIST"

If you haven't watched these.......GOOD LUCK!!!!!! WONDERFUL films but powerful, especially in view of the love we are all feeling for Shin and family at present...... x

Lynn said...

Hi Shin,

Thanks for the plug. Toby and Josie have their own superhero living at home. You don't leap over tall buildings or pour money into projects for the underprivileged, but I think your determination not to let cancer get you down has touched more people than even you realize. I've learnt a lot from your blog.

Look forward to seeing you soon.


Anonymous said...

I'll come with you guys if its the 25th. I miss you as I sit here in Koh Samui where people at my detox fasting place tout the goodness and healing benefits of Gotu Kola juice, Goji Berry Juice and parasite zapping. And yes I got suckered into Aqua Detoxing yesterday, after which the realist in me Googled Aqua Detox and found out the claims of leaching out the bad stuff were true at all. But my dear, whilst I was sitting there putting my feet into a "foot spa" that vibrated, I just wondered for the slightest second whether your cancer can be bubbled out of you too by some little machine.

Doubt it, but one thing for sure is that you have indeed made a mark as one of my Superheroes. I'll be telling Skylar about you whether you are dead or alive for the rest of her life.

Love you dearest,
Am healthy well, and looking forward to catching up

Skylars Mommy

Shin said...

Skylar's Mommy and other cinema buffs,

Let's go see "Homeless FC" on May 25th then.

I can't go on the 17th after all because that's the night that my friend, Sabrina, is having her head shaved to raise money for the Children's Cancer Foundation.

I'd like to go and support her and all the other expat ladies who are going under the razor to raise money for children with cancer. The event is called "Shear Inspiration" and last year, 20 long-haired women got shaved and raised $320,000!

I only raised $17,000 when I got shaved back in 2006. I'd do it again to raise money for the CCF, but I don't have any hair to shave off. So instead, I'll go support the other ladies who are doing it. By the way, they're still looking for women volunteers to get shaved.

So, mark your calendars:

May 17 - "Shear Inspiration"
May 25 - "Homeless FC" film screening

Of course, if you can't make the showing of "Homeless FC" on the 25th with me, you could go on May 17 or June 1, the other two dates.

Sasha said...

Each year in the UK, The Sunday Times publish the annual rich list.....the richest 1000 people in the UK. This year, as an antidote, The Independent on Sunday published The Happy List......the top 100 people who make the UK a happier, better place. These are my superheroes, especially those who aren't famous and just do their own little bit to make the world a better place. Made my day when I read the list.....all is not lost!!!

Much love and we must catch up soon,
Sasha xxxxx

Shin said...

Sasha and other Blog readers,

I've just been reading through The Happy List published by The Independent newspaper.

If you ever feel cynical about the world, if you ever feel down about your life, if you ever need proof that we humans are capable of doing wonderful things, read through this list.

These people are amazing - from milkman to millionaires.

Thanks, Sasha, for telling us about this list.