Towards the end of 2003, I went to a number of different countries, and one of the countries that I visited was Australia. But while I was going to another country, it wouldn’t be completely accurate to say that I was going on holiday.
The reason I was going away was to mark the first anniversary of the Bali bombings, which was to be held at the Parliament House in Canberra. Along with going there, I would also be going to Bali for another ceremony.
The Year Before
What connected me to all this was that my uncle was one of the people who was killed at the Sari Club. Before this took place, he had been the manager of two hotels In Bali.
So, while I would be getting on a plane and travelling somewhere I had never been before, I wasn’t going there to enjoy myself. If I remember rightly, I was still trying to come to terms with what had happened.
When my family and I arrived at the ceremony in Canberra, a number people who knew my uncle were there. Some of these people had worked with him when he managed different hotels in Australia.
And there was one person who stood out during this time, perhaps because he had quite a forceful personality. Not only did he have a lot to say about what had taken place, he also expressed his views on other things.
Back To the Hotel
After the ceremony had come to an end, we spent more time with this person at our hotel. Here, he spoke about the kind of things that the people at the top had done in the past, and let’s just say that he wasn’t talking about the ways in which they had helped humanity.
I was completely absorbed in what he had to say; I thought that this was one of the most interesting people I had ever met. Through being incredibly curious, it was like food for my mind.
After he had been talking about what goes on behind the scenes, he looked at me and said ‘“don’t just be another brick in the wall Oliver!”. And hearing these words still has a big effect on me to this day.
When I heard this, the part of me that didn’t want to fit in was being validated. This is not to say that my whole changed after I heard this; it was as if a seed had been planted in my mind.
What I believe he was saying is that it is easy to go along with the crowd and to simply fit in. The trouble is that when we do this it causes us to disconnect from who we really are and to become a copy of someone else.
All that is within us is then going to be overlooked, and what we express is going to be nothing more than what other people have expressed. Our need for approval is going to be one of the things that make it harder for us to be ourselves.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
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