Please see 【兩周一聚】09年4月30日第十三期: 世界觀/worldview for other articles by authors from around the world.


When I was a little baby, I was the world. And when a crying baby demanding to be driven around instead of sleeping at night, he got driven around (a lot). :)

Then TV shows (thanks Pearl‘s 60 Minutes Plus, etc), books (thanks library), and magazines (thanks library) opened my eyes. And leaving HK to study in Canada opened up my eyes further. Working with people and experts from around the world opened up my eyes some more. Recharging and studying with smart people also sharpened my mind. Making my first film stretched my abilities in a total new area. And sharing insights and making friends through my blog has also far extended my reach and the people that I can learn from.

In a nutshell, the following is how I see the world has evolved over the years,

  1. The world is fixed.
  2. The world is not totally fixed.
  3. The world is sometimes changeable.
  4. We can change the world.
  5. We can strive to make the world a better place to live.

Of course, I am not naive enough to think the last two steps are readily achievable and easily achieved. But once you know my secret, it is not that “hard”.

My secret is: Just aim low, very low. Change the world for the better one tiny tiny step at a time. Be happy even when those small steps are only noticeable by a few people and unnoticed by most. Over time, those tiny steps will add up. And sometimes those tiny steps may have bigger effects than you had originally imagined. You will only know if you try to do something to change things for the better.

I will end this post with a quote that has become one of my core beliefs,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

See more discussions in the comments section.

19 Responses to Worldview

  1. exile from hk says:

    Something as simple as being happy yourself will make the world a better place. Others feel better when they are around you. Happiness is contagious. Be generous. Spread it around.

  2. kempton says:

    Dear exile,

    Thanks for sharing.

    > Something as simple as being happy yourself will make the world a better place. Others feel better when they are around you.

    I see what you are saying. At the same time, I can see many HK young men who are expert in making themselves happy in front of the computer.

    I think making the world a better place need us to be “out there”.

    For me, giving an encouraging smile to a young boy or girl, trying to help a friend, guide a blog friend/stranger, share my insights, etc, all these are the tiny tiny steps.

    Yes, we being happy may be required for us to go out and help. But us being happy alone, in my opinion, can’t be the end.

  3. michelle says:

    yes agree tiny steps count Kempton… though it may not necessary to change the world all the time… :)

  4. kempton says:


    To me, even simply smiling at (i.e caring a little of) young little boys or girls in the street, these small random act of kindness count as “changing the world” for me.

    People in general consider “changing the world” as something monumental, my point is that those changes don’t need to be “monumental”, they can be small, in fact, “insignificant” to most people.

    It is the habit of caring that I am trying to emphasize. I guess I am not doing a very good job in explaining. :)

  5. gwenzilla says:

    nice sharing and I definitely agree with your: “Be happy even when those small steps are only noticeable by a few people and unnoticed by most. Over time, those tiny steps will add up.”

    Like your attitude!!! Wish we are all the same page.

    For me, I always think “nothing is impossible” I know we can’t change the world (aim too high, haha), but as you said, they add up!!

  6. kempton says:

    Hi Gwen,

    Thinking “nothing is impossible” is precisely what we need to feel! :)

    Yes those small things add up! And you know, sometimes these small things that seem “unimportant” to us may actually mean a lot to others.

    Let me give you one example. I saw this YouTube video interview of someone I really admire. The interviewer obviously spent sometime to track the person (in this case, Bill Buxton) down in a conference and then edit the video and post it. But the viewing number is a bit low and not many comments left. So I took the time (2 minutes) of my time to leave a very positive comment praising their work. And the interviewer really appreciated my praise and wrote back.

    My point being it took me 2 minutes as I really learned a lot from the interview and enjoyed it. I didn’t need to leave the comment but I choose to make the small difference for the one person (plus his team).

    You may remember the blog entry I wrote for my dad’s birthday. My dad stayed on the few extra minutes for a total stranger/singer in Thailand that we would never meet or see again. Our time (a few minutes) was insignificant to us, but to her as a performer, it might have been an added & needed validation.

  7. michelle says:

    i remember what you wrote about your dad too… he is indeed a respectable person according to your description… am sure that you are also quite influenced from him. You are one of the lucky child :) hope your surroundings are also able to feel/appreciate your attitude.

    oh yes, let’s quote a slogan we heard in Hk’s TV in the 70s, 笑一笑,世界更美妙, it is a very nice slogan and i have been keeping it in my mind up till now, unconsciously…
    One thing i like in the north america is that people are relaxed and in general smily. I can still remember i always said hi, thank you, good bye to bus drivers or shop keepers whom are usually smiling in Canada… which is not always the case here in Europe…

  8. kempton says:


    Interesting, I’ve no idea that people in Europe may smile less than people in North American. We are a lot more relaxed here in Canada. For adults, we chat easier to total strangers. I do find people more “formal” in HK. At times, the “why are you smiling to me” look is very obvious. :) For some HKers, may be a smile from a stranger means “trouble”?!

  9. michelle says:

    well, i must precise that i mean european don’t smile as much to ‘total strangers’ as in north america…
    yes indeed, in hk, people don’t smile too much… though i sometimes have chance to meet some really nice bus drivers there… :D

  10. kempton says:

    It is nice to meet those nice bus drivers. :) May be in large cities like HK or Paris, it is easier to build up a protective mask and think, there are so many strangers, lets not bother others and lets not be bother to respond. :)

    P.S. I smile a lot. :) And to strangers too. :)

  11. […] C、coffee、芸、kempton、mad dog、火羽 […]

  12. gwenzilla says:

    michelle, same here, i remember that tune “笑一笑,世界更美妙” and i have been following that in my heart as well.

    and yes, in North America, smiling/ talking the stranger on the street is normal here. I did that sometime even when I am in HK, people look at me like I am an idiot. it’s really true that they don’t like strangers smile to them.

    I am not sure because there are so many tourists in Euro, when we were in Italy, we were able to talk to quite some ppl on the street. m… i need to go back to europ again to observe this…..

  13. chilli mom says:

    “And sometimes those tiny steps may have bigger effects than you had originally imagined.”


  14. kempton says:

    gwenzilla, I think smiling to strangers, smiling back to strangers, and talking to strangers all come much more naturally in North America. May be we are more open.

    chilli mom, you are right, 不要小看「蝴蝶效應」!

    You are very right that “大家對住小朋友,多數願意除下面具。” Now the next step is to be nice to adults as well. :)

    I remember when I was in high school in Toronto, I saw a young student being put in one of those large garbage bin by some bullies, I decided to walk over and asked them what was going on and not to do it. They stopped and the student got out of the garbage can. It was 15 seconds of my time, but I bet it meant a lot more to the student who was standing in garbage!

  15. Haricot says:

    I came back from the Jazz Festival in New Orleans and am still trying to catch up on the last series of articles on “Worldview” (I posted mine late, but better late than never :).

    I totally agree with you that for the Joe’s and Josephine’s on the streets, baby steps are important in changing the world for the better => 众志成城。 My issue is with people who are in positions of power to make changes but choose not to, either because of their own indecisions, fear, or self-interests.

  16. tzigane says:

    should we really be “aiming low, very low”? changing the world, to me, is aiming pretty high, but i agree with you that it takes a lot of tiny steps but they will add up. regardless of how tiny the steps are and how many there are, surely there must be a central vision that drives them? so shouldn’t we aim high, very high, but just make sure that there’s a stretched out plan with lots and lots of tiny tasks along the way? :-)

  17. kempton says:

    Hi tzigane

    thanks for sharing your insight.

    I think there are many different ways to change the world. Many people (including me sometimes) has the common form of paralysis of don’t know what to think or where to start. So my ways to combat that is to aim low, very low. :) It doesn’t mean that I will stop and simply be “happy” or self-satisfied at the “aimed-low result”.

    I commend you for aiming pretty high. Good for you.

    To me, it is good to have a central vision, if that is what works for you. Again, for many people it doesn’t matter if they change the world for the better in tiny ways even if they don’t have a grand vision. The sad fact, it many people simply want exploit the world or exploit others for their own personal gains. Sad but true.

    For me, I pursue my passions and will put more time on those. But then again, my time is not only restricted to my passion in the exclusion of other things that may interest me.

    So, may I ask you, what is your “stretched out plan”? And what steps are you taking to achieve your plan?

    P.S. I recently blogged about a 97 Years old Japanese physician. You may enjoy the article and in particular this quote,
    My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem “Abt Vogler.” My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.

    P.P.S. Good to read you learned your English from great shows like “Yes, Minister”. Now, I want to say there is nothing wrong in learning English from any TV shows. Yes, watching 90210 is pretty much a waste of time but if it helped someone to learn English, I don’t mind. :) I am saying this because I still remember having much fun learning English from watching Paper Dolls (1982) ( ) on TVB Pearl. The show was basically a totally forgettable show that featured some pretty girls which hooked me to watch it every week by myself. I watched the show for fun, the fact that I learned some English was an unintended consequence. :)

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