"The education and empowerment of women
throughout the world, cannot fail to result in a
more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all"
Aung San Suu Kyi
This trip would be a little different.
Although not an ‘official’ spiritual quest with one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Asia perched on a hill overlooking the city, how could it not be?
I had picked the kids up from the Australian International School in Singapore and was driving along the PIE when an ad came on the radio.
It was for Start Up on Channel News Asia – sort of like Shark Tank in Australia.
Our son, Rem piped up and said, “You should enter that mum!”
To which I replied, “Of course I should Rem!”
And without a minutes thought, once we were home I got on the website and had a read.
If your application was successful, workshops would be taking place in Jakarta, Singapore or Myanmar in November of 2015 – you had to choose where you would like to attend should you be one of the lucky ones.
Well I lived in Singapore, so I didn’t want to choose there, no I would choose Myanmar as I had always wanted to travel there and meditate at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda.
So Myanmar it was, Yangon to be a little more specific.
I entered my website for kids Radio Bambini as TempleSoul hadn’t even been born then.
I came up with the idea for Radio Bambini almost 20 years ago when we lived in Sydney the first time, back in 1998. We had two small children – 18 months apart and as I drove to work each morning I didn’t really want the children listening to the radio and was sick to death of listening to the Wiggles on high rotation (No offence, to this stellar Australian children’s band!!!) Why didn’t they have a radio station for kids???
Back then I mustn’t have been as tenacious as I am now – or maybe I was just so tired having little kids that after some very nasty meetings with Radio execs I popped Radio Bambini on the backburner.
But the idea never left me – I still think it’s brilliant and when I was living in Singapore and had time on my hands I revisited it.
I grew up in a massive Irish Catholic family and one of my earliest memories is running around my uncles big back rumpus room in my pyjamas with my sister and numerous other cousins and there being someone on the pianola and people gathered all around, singing, laughing and just having the best time or it was at Uncle Benny’s who played piano by ear and every gathering at their house on Bollingbroke Grove ended up with everyone singing around the piano, his old knarled fingers banging away at the keyboards – it always amazed me that he could play that thing without looking at the keys!
Jules and I would sit outside on our verandah in the sultry Singapore heat, the sound of over-ripe Rambutans dropping into the pool every now and again, nutting out how I could bring this idea of mine to life.
I wanted it to represent the simplicity of the way I grew up. Listening to stories on Grandpas knee, listening to tunes being belted out on the piano, my cousin Sam and I performing a play to the oldies – I wanted it to have that “home-made’ feel while also being educational and work as a routine for parents.
And so it was decided that Radio Bambini would be a website for kids aged 0 – 7 years with a 7 step routine parents could follow throughout the day.
I had a blast organizing the talent, having the stories written, the songs recorded, I met some fabulous, talented people along the way. It probably took me about 18 months to build but I needed money to take my vision further and for marketing and business strategies.
So I entered Start Up and put down Myanmar as my preferred location for the workshop.
Four weeks later I received notification that out of the thousands of applicants all over Asia I had been successful! It was time to organize my visa to Myanmar.
Well that was an experience I’ll never forget and it looked like there was a fairly good chance I wouldn’t be getting on that flight after all, such was the palaver in organizing a visa!
Needless to say we literally made it by the skin of our teeth. Mine came through but due to Jules traveling and having his passport with him, we had to organize his at the last minute and on the way to Changi Airport to catch our flight we wizzed past the Burmese embassy to see if his was ready for collection and thank goodness the gods were smiling on us. After a very tense ten minutes waiting in the cab, Jules came running out, Visa in hand!!!
That Gin and Tonic at the airport was one of the best I'd ever tasted!