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Question: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."   Aristotle. The intellectual Social and cultural differences embraced by the University are integral to the fabric of our community. The strength of the University is realized through the contribution of every member of our campus. We understand that each individual is a result of his/her personal background and experiences. Describe the parts that add up to the sum of you.

A LIFE, A CANDLE

My house, a matchbox crammed along thousands others, became dark as ink. Cup dien, or "blackout," often meant chatting in front of the porch, sleeping on the ceramic tiles, and for me, lighting candles. I was born in Thailand. I always watched the candles melt with delight, with my eyes fixated on the growing puddle of maroon on the tray, marveling at the transient and fantastical shapes that I could form. Candles were objects for my individual enjoyment. I remember looking longingly at the sacred candles on the ancestral shrine in my Chinese grandparents' house, wondering how they formed and what they could become under my alchemist hands. They were spiritual comforts, reminding me of man's mortality and the immortality, of happy memories, of a complete education in Singapore, of a unified home.

There were candles that taught me the importance of company, slender and stubby ones, but always ivory-white, alight with diminutive flames and companions of gourmet dinners. A candle alight resembles life in motion. New, un-burnt candles look generic and dry, like words un-crafted and literature amiss. Light a candle, however, watch the wax melt, the hot streams running down the length, gathering at the top, the end, read a man's biography or an empire's epitaph, and find individual achievements, individual crimes. One less candle and a room is less bright; take away a soul, and the world is less amorphous, less rich. A single block of wax and a single wick attest to the marvels of individual creations and destructions; the flame burns and shapes the wax to its will, like that remarkable vitality alive in each individual, that which multiply and gather and makes the world beautiful.

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