Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Many of you will know I can be quite a mcp at times. But there is one woman, I truly respect (excluding my mother), and have always done so.
That woman is Anita Roddick or Dame Anita Roddick. She is the founder of bodyshop, and a champion of many good causes that today we take for granted, but she brought into the spotlight way before it was fashionable.
This is she.
Causes like environmental concern, fair trade, corporate social responsibility, and so on.
I had the privilege of meeting her in my first year at the London School of Economics. I remember it vividly. She had come to give a speech on corporate social responsibility. I went in before, to meet her at a book signing, and spoke to her for a good couple of minutes.
In that short time, I could sense her energy, and love of life, and kindness. It was amazing. She talked to me as though she had known me for years, even though we had just met, and when she signed my book she wrote something personalised for me.
I couldnt remember it, so I took that book out of the plastic covering I had put around it today to see.
It reads, "To ming, life is no more complicated than love and work!"
I remember coming out of the store, walking briskly against the cold london wind towards holborn, and taking in those words.
Perhaps she was going through something in her life at that point to make her write those words. But she had touched me. I was in my first year. In love. Driven to succeed. Could she have seen through me in a five minute conversation?
Nobody has done that in my life. Pure coincidence?
Today I take stock once again, as I did on that short walk to the tube station 3 years ago. When I saw that quote again, it touched me in the same way it did those years ago. Life is no more complicated than love and work.
Dear Dame Anita, I do not know if you will remember a young, impressionable, and over eager asian boy who once had a chat with you at a book signing at the LSE. But as you move on into the next phase of your life, there is one person more who remembers you, and whom you have left a lasting impact on. Rest in peace.