Pass It On – inspiration

The lyrics for “Pass It On” are here.

My uncle King Toh was the initial catalyst behind this song. He very generously donated to a crowdfunding campaign for my last album, and his reward was for me to write a song on his topic of choice. Several other people were also recipients of this same reward; most of them got me to write a love song for their partner/ spouse, or a jingle for their business. But Uncle Toh asked me to write a song about the concept of “pay it forward”: doing something good without any thought of reward. This really sparked my imagination, as service to the community is a big part of my life, and I’m a firm believer in the concept that you can only become a better and nicer person if you reach out and give of yourself generously to others. I’m also a firm believer that the world is not too far gone: the smallest actions that we make do make a difference, and the betterment of the world can be achieved through the sincere and good deeds of everyday people. What’s more, I believe that it doesn’t matter how talented (or not talented), how smart (or not smart), how strong (or weak) or rich (or poor) you are: everybody on this earth has something that they can offer that will be of benefit to someone else. The most important thing I think is the motivation for our actions, which is what “pay it forward” is all about: we don’t do a good thing because it will in any way come back and benefit us. We just do it because it’s a good thing to do.

I also like the idea that we never know how a small action can lead to a series of events that causes something really significant to happen. Years ago I read this poem in a book called “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul”, and I memorised it and have found delight in it ever since…

Smile – by Barbara Hauck

She smiled at a sorrowful stranger
The smile seemed to make him feel better
He remembered past kindness of a friend
and wrote him a thankyou letterThe friend was so pleased with the thankyou
that he left a large tip after lunch
The waitress, surprised by the tip
bet the whole thing on a hunchThe next day she picked up her winnings
and gave part to a man on the street
The man on the street was grateful
for two days he had nothing to eat

After he finished his dinner
he left for his dingy room
He didn’t know at that moment
that he might be facing his doom

On the way he picked up a shivering puppy
and took him home to get warm
The puppy was very grateful
to be in out of the storm

That night the house caught on fire
The puppy barked the alarm
He barked ’till he woke the whole household
and saved everybody from harm

One of the boys that he rescued
grew up to be the President
All this was because of a simple smile
that hadn’t cost a cent