The Best of You is about appreciation.
Since its inception in 2014, the movement has been powered by the authentic stories of people from all walks of life within our community. The stories shared are not simply stories. They are tributes to the important people, accomplishments and experiences that have shaped one’s life.
These tributes speak of relationships, community, love, resilience, kindness and empowerment. Through the sharing of stories, we are able to celebrate the diverse groups of people that make up our community and remind ourselves of our shared humanity.
In the spirit of empowering each other with these stories, we are humbled to share them here on this website. We will also be showcasing many of them at our future exhibitions. We hope you will find inspiration and share your own story too.
By sharing your story, you might just change someone else’s life. So, tell us – who is The Best of You?
The Best of You had its humble roots as a social movement about appreciation. More than five years on, it has become much more than that.
We started our movement with a simple question: Who is the best of you? This question became our signature remark that prompted people to take time out of their busy lives and take stock of their accomplishments. People responded to the question with their amazing stories of love, life, gratitude, regrets, forgiveness and more. Through the stories, I learned that appreciation helps us see things we neglect to see or that have been removed from our everyday narratives and the experiences of underserved and marginalised people. Through the stories, I have also learned about the invaluable diversity inherent in our social and cultural fabric and as such, they help us better understand diverse perspectives and forge a stronger community.
Admittedly, I wasn’t always sure where the movement was headed during our early years as a movement. And it really was the stories that we received that guided the movement’s journey and pushed the movement to greater heights. As the stories opened our sights to topics that needed collective attention and care, and to voices of the underserved community that needed champions, we knew that the collective stories elicited by appreciative storytelling were not merely individual accounts of personal histories, our stories are a vital social glue that unites our shared humanity. And more than that, they are often agents of positive social change as we have so often witnessed here at The Best of You.
With community building in mind and appreciative storytelling as our modus operandi, collaborations with like-minded community organisations and public institutions became integral to the movement’s approach and success. Our collaborations have also been a testament to the adage that “we work better together”. In our collaborations with community organisations, we told their stories, they told our stories, we told stories with them about the unsung heroes in our community and we did so for the singular purpose of building a more accepting society. And because we felt that stories from people in the margins are important lessons for the young generation so that they can produce a more inclusive society for the future, the movement actively partners with educational institutions across Malaysia and Singapore to share the stories in our community.
Upon reflecting on the journey so far, I sometimes feel that the movement has arrived once more at a crossroad. I ask myself frequently, “How can we push the envelope with appreciative storytelling?”, “What more can the stories do?” And thankfully, I revisit a concept that has come in handy lately: reimagination. When the amazing stories help us deconstruct some of our firmly held stereotypes, beliefs, and canons, it allows us a space to rethink and reimagine our collective narrative and our lives. Because when we reimagine, we allow our lives and collective narratives to be as it should – cumulative, fluid, open, and ever-changing. And when we do that, we recognise that each of our stories is important and enriches the mosaic patchwork that is our social fabric. So then, our work at The Best of You is not done. In fact, we have only just begun.
Five years ago, I was unsure of the response when I asked people “who is the best of you?” and asked them to tell us their stories of appreciation. Today, on the contrary, when I ask that same question, I will be assured that the response will be rich and powerful stories that can change lives and bring about positive change. So I leave you with the question once more: Who is the best of you?
The Best of You offers a myriad of inspirational stories and artworks, as well as conversations with various artists and organisations, in the form of newsletters and storybooks too. These are available for you to download and learn more about the movement.