Awakened by noises, that in my sleepy stupor, sounded as if we were being invaded, I quickly recognized that it was just another overnight thunderstorm here in Singapore. We’ve experienced quite a few of those in the last month or so. The storms here can be quite violent, and I often find myself only counting to one or two after the sky is lit up, and before the loud boom occurs. The house reverberates.
It just recently occurred to me, however, that, despite all of the electrical storms, we have not once had a power outage during our entire 2-1/2 years of living on this island. Quite amazing, actually. Perhaps Singapore is a small and rich enough country to keep its power grid stronger than most? I really don’t know.
Power is an interesting word, at least in the English language. It has such a wide array of definitions. And, depending on your frame of reference, you may have a negative or a positive connotation associated with it. As used here, I am simply referring to the energy source that allows our house to operate more effectively. How much is used or wasted can definitely be an area of contention. But, for the most part, people would agree it is a good and necessary thing.
In business and politics, there is a different meaning behind the word. Power, in these arenas, can be more about having control or the upper hand or influence over another. Many times, this power is derived from having the resources that someone else wants or needs. The person who has more of what the other wants typically has the upper hand…the power.
However, just recently, I was reminded of an even different kind of power. As we often see and hear in the media, there are those in this world who equate force or threat over others with power. To me, this is false power. Real power comes from a much deeper place. Earlier today, I was watching the following Jon Stewart interview clip of Malala Yousafzai. She is the 16 year old girl who recently was named the youngest nominee, and hopefully very soon to be recipient, of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala exemplifies real power (inner strength and influence) in the face of false power (physical threats.) She stood up for what she believed, that everyone has a right to be educated. But, more than that, she did it in such a gracious and peaceful way, despite the threats and actions against her life. This is the type of power that should be celebrated and recognized and emulated more frequently.
So, maybe my original definition of power – “an energy source that allows our house to operate more effectively” – is not so far off from Malala power, and the type that we should all strive for…just replace the word “house” with “world.”