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Fred Cheung

Visiting Myanmar as a Silver Lining Ambassador

I never thought or planned to go to Myanmar. I was honored to be invited to be a "Silver Lining Ambassador" in 2018. The first part of our mission was to visit the Silver Lining Family Village in Myanmar. I felt a mixture of emotions, worry and uneasiness, but finally decided to let go and embark on the journey. After arrival, we discovered that all the luggage for eight people had gone missing! Not only personal clothes, the toys I bought for the children, but also the equipment and props used for shooting. All gone! However, due to restrictions on the visit and filming schedules, I could only accept the “challenge” with determination!

As soon as we arrived, I began filming at a long wooden bridge and a street market. For the first time, I met with a few children from the Silver Lining Family Village who were dressed in the traditional Myanmar attire. They were a bit shy, but after playing some games with them, I slowly started to get familiar with them. They smiled brightly through our interactions, the type of smile that depicted innocence that disappears when we grow up! I had a special affinity with one of the girls named “NaNa”. That was not actually her real name. I discovered that when she first arrived at Center, she refused to speak. The first word she uttered was “NaNa”. Since then, it became a nickname of sorts. During my short visit, I often hugged NaNa and felt her trust in me. At the same time, I also felt needed by her. In other words, my heart was completed melted by her!

Singing with the children, I realized that they had a particular attachment to music. I was also surprised by their independence. They would wash their clothes and help with the cooking. Thanks to Silver Lining for providing them with a loving “home”. It is so crucial for orphans to grow up in a loving environment, because this can directly affect their self-confidence, social skills, and mental health.

Myanmar is a beautiful country and its people are extremely friendly, but the drug infestation is a rampant problem. Drug abuse is as common as when we drink beer leisurely with a friend, but the consequences are so much more drastic. Families commit suicide, wives are widowed, and many are even jailed for drug trafficking. Ninety percent of the children who stay in the Silver Lining Family Village have lost their parents through this “poison”, and it hurts my heart to see the orphans left behind. Although we cannot completely eliminate the drug epidemic in Myanmar, we can start educating and instilling knowledge about the harmful effects that drugs can have on children at an early age, so that they can grow up health with love. After witnessing these children’s experiences, I reflected on what it is that people really need. More wealth? An expensive car or watch? I believe there is only one answer, and the answer is “love!” You may think that it’s an old-fashioned way of thinking, but it’s a fact. Love is the answer. 

This visit was a life-changing experience. I feel that my mission as a singer and public figure has changed. My existence has become more meaningful, and I feel that I have the capability to inspire children with songs, so that they can feel empowered and hopeful. Compared to the problems that these children face, my so-called problems are not problems at all. It’s allowed me to see the world through a new lens, a perspective that is more grateful. In a way, I guess it can be said that my life has become more fulfilling. Although I came to provide for the children, I feel that I was the one who benefited the most from this journey. The love that I shared with the children rebounded in ways that I can’t describe. I would like to thank Chris, Lydia, Rachel, and Oscar. If you ever doubted the existence of angels in this world, then you can clear those doubts. They are angels who have inspired me, and I hope that they can continue to exert their influence, so that more people in need can receive the love and help that they deserve.

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