Make Kindness the Norm

“Make Kindness The Norm” 

4 simple words I was introduced to during the covid lockdown and I thought I knew the meaning of these 4 simple words when I first read them.   It turns out these words had a lot more to teach me when I accidentally started the “OI Sum” initiative in the British Born Chinese Food Club.  “OI SUM” means “touch the heart” in Cantonese.

What started out as an act of kindness from me to a stranger on the street led to a chain effect where members of the food club truly “made kindness the norm”.  Around 150 people received traditional bakes made by a handful of bakers in the food club, the recipients included the Chinese elderly in care homes who had not seen their families due to covid for a year,  some suffering from dementia and the traditional Chinese bakes brought back happy memories for them, some recipients simply needed a food hug as covid life took its toll.    The kindness of this initiative spread amongst the members and some made their own “oi sum” parcels for family, their NHS colleagues and one talented member even recreated Captain Tom on a sponge!  

Receiving the photos from some of the recipients touched all of our hearts.  The kindness spread way beyond this, not only did the Just Giving page raise over 5 times the target amount  in a matter of days I also received offers of donations from a wide spectrum of people which was completely unexpected.  To be able to give and bring a smile to someone is an amazing reward but it wasn’t until I received my own unexpected Oi Sum parcel that I fully appreciated the joy from a recipient’s experience.

This initiative also bought out the worst in people but I believe that there are lessons to be learnt from all situations good or bad and the Oi Sum initiative has certainly taught me so much.

My lessons learnt:
I have learnt even more how important it is to stay true to yourself even if you have to face criticism and virtual haters.  It is not always easy to find the confidence to be who you are but it is important to believe in what you are doing is right. I remember many years ago a senior manager saying to me “Don’t ever change who you are” and I am still learning how to do that!

For every hater there are 100 more kind people!
Even though we experienced some negativity from individuals who made terrible accusations, the messages of support  to offer emotional and financial support have been overwhelming! It showed me that kindness outweighs the odd bad apples in the world. Bad apples can always be discarded and we should select the best crop to consume.

Many have complimented my writing which took me by surprise as I have never been a confident writer and certainly will never be a professional in this field. I started this website to purely keep track of my own cooking journey as I try so many recipes I was starting to forget what I had tried!  I have to thank the chance meeting with one person who inadvertently improved my vocabulary and writing skills over the past couple of years and given me the confidence to write from the heart.

New friends
This initiative has allowed me to get to know some of you even more and allowed me to make new friends and even virtual friends that I have not met in person can offer kindness and support in more ways than one.  I am truly thankful to those who have allowed me to get to know them better, I won’t list you all but you will know who you are.  

This entry is dedicated to so many individuals, each will know a different facet of me as you are from different circles of friends.  Each and everyone of you has influenced this entry in a different way however one person who will always be special in my heart has taught me the meaning of “patience” and their sheer existence allowed me to experience what a “connection” actually means when we are looking in different directions.

Thank you to everyone who participated to help spread the kindness.

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