Executive Director’s Journal

 PLANTING HOPE IN THE WILDERNESS

Only yesterday my daughter asked me why I liked the song “The Rainbow Connection”. I told her I liked it because it is a song written for “the lovers, the dreamers and me”. Life is precious and we need to live out our dreams and vision. Without vision, we perish. Old men dream dreams, and young men see visions.

We can envision our lives and live out our dreams, no matter how tough life can be. Envisage “The Future We Want” was the tagline of the Rio+20 Environmental Conference in 2012. We need courage to dream, to see vision, and to act.


It has been said that there are three types of people in the world:

  1. those who make things happen,

  2. those who watch things happen and

  3. those who do not know what is happening.

We hope we are not the third type of people. Neither are we content to be the second type of people. They are the mere spectators. This book is written for those who aspire to make things happen. Those who make things happen are creative people. Do you want to be one of these creative people?

The creative folks are actually ordinary people who care enough for the things around us to want to respond, to want to act, to set the agenda, to get things done. Creativity stems from necessity, which is why they say that “necessity is the mother of invention”.

The creative people are not necessarily the brilliant or intellectual people, although these tend to be creative. The creative people can be ordinary people who respond to a calling with commitment and perseverance, and hence accomplish extraordinary deeds.

We need creative people today because the world we live in is in a big mess. There are social cleavages and political turmoil. There are economic crises and ecological crises. We live in a moral and spiritual vacuum. In the past, young people demonstrate in the squares and take to the streets to throw stones. These days, they occupy places and mobilise through social media to press for change. These are creative people who learnt to be creative because they are fed up with the status quo and desire change, hopefully for the better.

This book is written for young people. They are the believers who believe that change can happen, that ideas can become reality and dreams can come true. It is a personal journal of the Green Desert Project, a journey with friends who came alongside me in my humble quest to respond to life in a painful world and on a troubled earth. The Green Desert Project is a dream, an oxymoronic dream that purports deserts can become green. Those who have journeyed with me in the Green Desert Project have borne a stigma of faith, and endured ridicule from others for daring to go into the desert. “To do what? To Plant Trees? You’re kidding!” They went nevertheless. They were believers.

Let there be more creative, young and believing people among us. Read this book and be encouraged to join the ranks of the creative class, who would make things happen. Be a believer. Come help build the Great Green Wall of China and live green!

Preface to book “Can the Desert Be Green? Planting Hope in the Wilderness”

By Lawrence Ko

The book will be available for sale at local book store and online store soon. It is available through mail order retailing at $20.00 plus $3.00 for postal delivery in Singapore. To order please email chingching@asianjourneys.org.