Photo by Tojosan

From Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture:

In a virtual-reality course I taught, I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not worry about failing. At the end of the semester, I presented a stuffed penguin—“The First Penguin Award”—to the team that took the biggest gamble while not meeting its goals. The award came from the idea that when penguins jump in water that might have predators, well, one of them’s got to be the first penguin. In essence, it was a prize for “glorious failure.”

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted. And it can be the most valuable thing you have to offer.


a.k.a. Malaysian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines, the two airlines I thought would be the biggest help with getting me to Aarhus next month.

If they can’t even help me, who can? How am I supposed to scrounge up $2300 in less than a month? I can’t even get a decent job (decent as in non-dodgy).


I just got a letter from the Danish Ministry of Refugees, Immigration, and Integration telling me that funding wasn’t really in their jurisdiction – but that they have forwarded my letter to the Ministry of Education for further action.

The same Ministry of Education that told me off for contacting them every way I could. Hmm.


It’s just like how half of the KP board members I contacted, including Uffe Elbæk, kept forwarding my plea onto the KP management. I think they’ve received at least 5 emails all saying the same thing – and that’s not counting the emails I sent them myself. Ha!

I sent off my application for the Australia Culture Fund; I wrote a new proposal because there was some criteria I had to respond to, and if I could make it shorter it could be my new proposal, because it mentions my aims as well as my fundraising strategy. Feel free to contact me if you want to take a look at it and help rework it. The main thing missing from that proposal is what the recipient stands to gain from it, but that wasn’t what AbaF was after so I didn’t include it. I do have a paragraph along those lines in my other proposal though.

I’d like to rework both proposals and come up with something that could fit in one A4-sized flyer. It’d have to be very punchy and succinct – two things I’m not, unfortunately. Since it’s more a promotional thing, I don’t have to be quite as detailed, though I have to work out a way for people to see all the details once they come here.

Is there such a thing as a Corporate Sponsorships Directory? One that lists companies’ CSR policies, what they fund, and how to apply? If not, I could start such a thing, based on the information I’ve gathered. It’d be a BIG undertaking, but it’d be useful. Heck, a Fundraising & Sponsorship Wiki wouldn’t be such a bad idea…

The Naked Lady Party now has a date – 13th of April. It’ll be at Ivor Cribb in International House, St Lucia. We might make this a slightly bigger event than just a clothes swap, thanks to Chakae’s magical ability to get support out of the most random places. My request for a fundraising houseparty from someone else got turned down, but holding it at IH after the NLP would be a good plan.

It’s funny how one of my biggest supporters is known for snippets of erotica (hello Twittilate!), while the people I thought would be my biggest shoo-ins for support have turned out to be rather exasperating and unreliable. That adage fundraising organizations like to use about how you should go to friends and family first for support is really, really broken. From my experience, and those of others, they would most often be the absolute WORST at supporting you. According to this AskMefi thread, they feel obligated and exploited, and then never get back to you. It’s the acquaintances, the folk that know you but not too well, that usually end up being your biggest assets. As said here:

Also, from the many fundraising events I’ve done in the past and the causes I’ve swam, run and partied for, I’ve learned one majorly disappointing truth: the closer people are to you, the less they will donate. It’s just the way it is. Family and friends always feel obligated, and they rarely come through. Strangers will write the big checks. I would hear all the excuses from my close friends and family members (money is tight, you know I just bought x,y,z, etc.), but I would receive heartwarming letters and big donations and support cheers from people I barely knew. It really blew me away.

The trick is, then, to reach out to those “strangers” and get them on your side.

The good thing about email is that you get responses quicker and you don’t have to spend so much money. The bad thing about it is that it’s quicker for people to reject you.

Flight Centre’s already budgeted their sponsorship for another organization. YSEI doesn’t fund education. The Foundation for Young Australians has closed up their Opportunity Bank because they’re still working out criteria. They’ve all wished me luck…but no dice on actual sponsorship.

Some others I have to wait a month (or more) for – Virgin and Apple, mainly. I’m more excited about Virgin. I’ve grown to admire the company and Richard Branson since I read his books last year, and I think the values of Virgin and the KaosPilots go very well together. I don’t mind being a “Virgin Girl” (all other uses of the word notwithstanding).

Huh, as I write this, one of the people I contacted from Malaysia Airlines just replied:

Hi Tiara,

Personally I am very pleased to see such enthusiasm and drive in someone at
such a young age. Unfortunately, I do not have discretion over sponsorships,
hence I have forwarded your email to my colleague (cc-ed in this email) who
oversees sponsorship, to attend to your request.

En Azidin will reply to you in due course.

All the best!

Haha, nice!

I went to the Flight Centre Expo in South Bank last month and grabbed the flyers of companies promoting flights to Copenhagen. I contacted Thai, Singapore, and Korean Air, as well as MAS, which flies to Stockholm. Qantas requires a faxed-in form, and British Airways doesn’t do complimentary flights anymore. Maybe I’ll try the European airlines next.

The pile of Nos I’m getting is rather frustrating. I wish someone would finally say YES. Yes, you are awesome, we like your idea, here’s your support. It seems no one wants to be the first to budge. I have no idea whether to keep persuading them on, or just move on. I don’t know what else I could do to make my chances better. With all the other commitments I have, I’m getting pretty tired. Argh.

I just got hired for a job in promotions. Anyone want math teaching software? Come to Mt Gravatt on Tuesday, I’ll be there in the afternoon. Hopefully this wouldn’t necessarily fall in my “strange silly money making ways” list, though I won’t be surprised if it does. I have an audition for pub trivia host on Sunday – $100/hour! Sweet!

ANYONE want to be the first contributor? the one thing I need most of all at this point is a plane ticket.

Also, I’ve watched another couple of KP application videos (applications close tomorrow). DAMN they are GOOD. Such good cinematography. mine looks amateur in comparison.

Thank you for your interest in the MasterCard International Corporate Giving Program. However, we only support organizations that are U.S. based IRS qualified 501(c)3 organizations.

…how is that then INTERNATIONAL? -_-;;

Kiwanis Malaysia got back to me quickly. The admin forwarded my message on to their Trustees, so hopefully their Trustees will respond favourably.

Anyone have any contacts in Mastercard (Australia/Malaysia)?

1) The Danish Ministry of Culture turned me down too, though they didn’t seem quite as annoyed as CIRIUS.

2) I’ve contacted as many relevant Rotary people as possible. It seems that I could qualify for the Ambassadorial Scholarships, but that depends on whether the club in question has funds available. Anyone with more expertise?

3) Mark is AWESOME, enough said.

4) I’m finally getting some headway on my application!! I reused my “extended CV/life story” from the Stockholm application, with some edits – I tried writing a different one but it seemed really messy, and why reinvent the wheel? I’ll probably have to edit it down AGAIN so it doesn’t sound too much like “woe, my life is full of PAIN” or like I’m rambling (which I tend to do).

4.5) Am stumped on two questions:

  • What is your unused superpower? I know of some underused superpowers, but I figure that if I had any superpowers I’d already be using them some way or another – otherwise how would I know if I had them?
  • What is the worst company or private business that you know of? I know of some companies whose practices I am unhappy with. I don’t know if that qualifies them as “worst” though. It seems to come down to what you define as “worst” – worst in making money? Worst in human rights? Worst in customer service?

5) I heard back from someone else who’s applying for Team 15 – hey Thomas! If you’re also vying for Team 15, let me know – I’ll like to hear from you.

After a few different emails to different departments of CIRIUS (Youth Program, Bilateral Agreements, the Year of Cultural Diversity, etc etc), I finally get what seems to be a “enough already” email:

Dear Tiara Shafiq

Thank you for mailing us again.

There are no possibilities for establishing a bilateral agreement between Denmark and Bangledesh or Malaysia and we do not have the possibility to give you a scholarship in return for working with CIRIUS.

Citizens from non-EU countries do already have a possibility to apply for a shcolarship to study in Denmark see However this scholarship is not for the KaosPilot education.

Kind regards
Marie Haulund Otto

OK OK I get the point. Odd thing is, even though I have been emailing different people about it, it’s Marie that usually ends up answering.

Oh well, at least I tried.

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