Hopping into a Better and Brighter Year of the Rabbit
Of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is known to be the most gentle and tender. After the roaring Year of the Tiger, the Year of the Rabbit is expected to be calm and hop(e)ful.
But some have speculated that this Year of the Rabbit will be challenging for the people, business and economy, owing to rising inflation and cost of living, growing climate crisis, geopolitical instability and more – factors all connected to the supposed fragility of the rabbit.
I believe that we must not adopt this negative mentality or negative thinking as we enter the new year. If we are defeatist and looking for excuses in our outlook, then we could very well turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, we must look at the bright side and ensure we do all we can to achieve positive outcomes.
I take strength from the trials and tribulations we have stood up to over the past 3 years – namely that of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us not forget that we have faced one of the greatest threats to our human existence. Times were tough for everyone, with many having lost loved ones and friends. But for a while the environmental conditions improved and it showed that humankind can preserve our planet if we tried hard enough.
COVID-19 taught us to roll with the punches. And here we are today, having overcome the challenges of the pandemic and emerged hopefully stronger both physically as well as mentally. As we stayed home, practised good hygiene habits, masked up, socially distanced ourselves, got vaccinated (and boosted!), we prevailed and embraced the spirit of Kita Jaga Kita (We Take Care of Each Other). I’m so glad that I’m not writing yet another COVID-19 Advisory and may Advisory No. 58 never need to follow.
The tough times also taught us to be better as human beings, kinder to one another. The late American author, motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California, Leo Buscaglia once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”.
The rabbit seems a fragile creature, but in reality, it is also agile, smart, quick on its feet, and very caring. More than that, fragility is in essence a vulnerability, of which we must embrace and allow ourselves to be sometimes. Our Dato’ Lee Weng Keng would probably agree that while we humans are vulnerable yet it is up to us to pick ourselves up and move on. Words of wisdom by Confucius - “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.
Analysts believe 2023 will be a good year for various economic sectors – from education to retail, and property to healthcare. In addition, we must also remember the ‘care economy’ which is not just about selling and buying of goods, but providing services and support to the most vulnerable and needy in society. Hence at the Sunway Education Group, we must not forget our `On Brand’ values and practices to delight our students, parents, colleagues and guests.
There is this curious white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, which lands its followers in the middle of strange and wondrous situations. Such situations very often challenge our beliefs and change our lives. In this regard, this year could be life-changing for many of us and like Alice we should remain flexible, resilient and courageous.
Let us embrace this year of the Rabbit as a new adventure and a continuum of our growth journey. We have hopped over various obstacles over the last few years, this year let us aim to be better and more wholesome, as individuals and together with our own families, the Sunway community, and the world.
To the Chinese, the New Year marks the beginning of spring, an important season for as a popular Chinese proverb goes, “A year's plan starts with spring; a day's plan starts with early morning” which can be translated to as a good harvest depends on the spring sowing. In this regard, let us start off the year on the right foot and ensure this will be the best year in all that we do. Let us enter the Year of the Rabbit with renewed hope, optimism, and strength, as one big family, as Sunwayians.
On behalf of the Sunway Education Group I wish us all good health, wealth of blessings and abundant happiness in the year of the Rabbit. Gong Xi Fa Cai!
By Professor Dato’ Elizabeth Lee
Group Chief Executive, Sunway Education
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