Friday, December 14, 2012

Yunus

Just read the Nobel Laureate Prof Yunus's Speech in Khazanah Lectures a couple years ago.

Some of his talking points were so inspiring.

While I am not convinced that we can succeed in changing the way the society function after more than 100 years of capitalism, I do share the same passion and belief that something must be done.

Truth is that individualism is the default mode of surviving in today's world.

What Prof Yunus's Grameen Bank is that the society itself should perform some altruistic actions to correct itself.

Here are some of the highlights of the long speech which are points that I considered as;

Ideas worth sharing.

When the famine was raging- it was 1974- it felt terrible to be teaching elegant theories of economics in the classroom and then walk out and see people dying of hunger. Not one, not two, but hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands. What kind of society are we? What kind of knowledge that we feel so proud about? It is empty knowledge, an empty shell. So I thought, I’ll just be a human being and see if I can be of use to somebody. I got involved with tiny little things. My ambition was to be of assistance to at least one person, even for a day. If I could do that, I would be happy

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So again, charity is not just about giving money. It’s about enabling people to unleash their capacities, whatever they have, and through my work I’ve seen how human beings are packed with unlimited capacities, every single one of them. Even the child born in the streets has the same unlimited potential as the child born in the palace. No difference. The only thing is those born in situations of neglect and indifference never could open that valuable gift they carry with them, could never know that they had such a wonderful precious gift inside them because society never helped them, or told them they had that gift. So they couldn’t unwrap it to see what they had. They died without ever knowing the wonderful thing they had

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But what do we do today? We leave it to the governments to solve the problems. I say citizens are much more powerful than the government, because governments have their limitations. They cannot work outside their framework. It takes time for them to build things. But we citizens are free. We can do things overnight if we wish to. But we don’t because the theory says we’re not supposed to do that. Theory says that if you want to do something to help others, you have to step out of the business. You have to go into the charity world. You have to create a foundation. You can’t do it in this business world.

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If we do not imagine a world that we want to live in, we can’t get the world we want. First we must imagine where we are going, our destination. I don’t have to consult anybody, it’s my world. It’s my dream world and I want to work for it. And if we all do that, we’ll create it.

If I had done that wish list, my number one wish would be a world where there would be no poor people. It’s such a humiliating experience for humankind to be poor. Why should anybody be poor?

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