Same Same but Different

Oct 07, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles

© Jock McDonald 2008 via

Photographer Jock MacDonald and animator Paul Blain teamed up to create this visual masterpiece that explores the idea that we are all one. (I suggest you anticipate with some patience during the presentation and gaze into the eyes of the portraits). Have you ever experience the organic desire of sameness yet felt the fighting force of differentiation from within? Do you have a “place” to go to when you are ‘fighting’? When your heart’s-at-war? Let me explain…

I was once in Bangkok, Thailand for work/holiday and chanced upon a t-shirt at a very popular flea market. The design of the t-shirt caught my attention with the phrase “Same Same” in the front, and “But Different” at the back. I was intrigued by the wordings and my curiosity must have caught the attention of the enthusiastic lady mending the store who might have sensed the chance of an early afternoon sales…

Same Same But Different

“This is an interesting t-shirt.” I started the conversation with my usual unassuming way.

With her not so fluent English, she said: “Sawadika. Yes, yes…very nice, very cheap. Only 300 Thai Baht..very cheap. You L size?”

Unfazed by the pushy sales technique that I was getting accustomed to the few days I was in Bangkok, I asked: “Do you know what’s the meaning…Same Same But Different?”.

With her ever broad smile and while holding the t-shirt over my back to see whether I fits a L-size, she commented: “Ahh…we same same like people…but different life, you good life I from poor life…”

I look into her hazel eyes with beautiful crease-lines at the end of it and said: “Khorb khun. Thank you for your blessing, I wish you good life too…I would like to have two of the t-shirt in L-size please…”.

“Khorb khun ka…please come again…” I still remembered her kind voice.

I have used this phrase kind of regularly since then; even my son Tim would utter it when he find a chance to remind me of my idiosyncrasies…

Let’s take today for example. Since you woke up till now, have you experienced moments of anger, dissatisfaction, agitation, road-rage, unfairness, bad news or simply things that’s not going the way you want them to be…Close your eyes and think for a moment. I did and I am quite sure you do, if not today then maybe days past.

These are times when we need to transpose ourselves to a “place” where we experience calm, tranquility, sereneness. It could be any “place” that we can quickly get ourselves ‘into’, for examples:

  • Remember the feeling and all the senses when you first hold your baby.
  • An old picture of someone dear to you.
  • Your first date, kiss, hug, farewell etc.
  • Your first hand-shake on the first day of your new job (remember how does that feel).
  • A prayer (accordance to your faith)

You may even consider a “place” to go periodically to reflect:

  • A book (Anatomy of Peace, Have a Little Faith, The Bible etc)
  • A video (Seven Pounds, Departures, Passion of The Christ etc)
  • A group (social network, conversational circle etc)
  • A retreat

I have downloaded the above video into my smartphone and I must say that whenever I am warring-at-heart it does help me to be calmed at times. Whenever I am in a ‘storm’, I will always have my bible with me and be ready to listen. I am also grateful to the friends and love ones that have always been a support whenever I need my voice to be heard.

Lastly, I am heading for a retreat cum practicum come November to learn more about the purpose of hosting circle and collaborative conversation.

Points to Ponder:

1. Can you remember the first day when you started on a new job; full of enthusiasm, hope, energy. You would probably think, “I am going to work hard, contribute to the best of my ability and be of help to everyone I meet regardless…”. Is the feeling still the same?

If not, what happen?

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