KUCHING: Eileen Chua gave up her job as an auditor to join the world’s largest floating book fair – Logos Hope – two years ago in a search of a purposeful and fulfilling life.
The 27-year-old does not regret the decision as she describes her experience so far as “eye-opening and enriching.”
“It has always been my interest to engage in some community work. Having been on board for two years, I’ve learned not to take things for granted,” she told reporters during the launch of Logos Hope at the Sim Kheng Hong Port in Pending here yesterday.
Chua, who hails from Singapore, observed that some individuals became complacent with their current lifestyle that they had the tendency to express discontent.
Relating about herself, she said: “Back at home, it’s all comfortable and we tend to complain just about everything while forgetting some others do not even enjoy basic amenities such as electricity and water.”
She recalled a six-day stay with a family in West Africa where there were no electricity and water supply.
“Because of that, I’ve learned to appreciate every little things in life,” added Chua.
For Naomi Armstrong, the whole sailing idea was more than fascinating. She found it hard to name a particularly unforgettable experience as she replied: “Oh, there are so many.”
Before joining Logos Hope, Armstrong was with MV Doulos for nine months travelling to countries including Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia.
“I was on a short-term programme in 2006 for two months to get some idea what it’s like. I met some crewmembers and found it worth joining. Then I spoke to my parents and decided to sign up for two years.”
According to the 26-year-old from Wales, being a part of the crew meant lots of friendship and a great deal of exchange of culture and experiences in life.
“I was told that Malaysia is all about food. And I love Malaysian food… they are so good.”
She remembered being taken for a meal that offered Malay food: “I especially love the dessert, which I don’t recall the name but there are beans with some other stuff, it’s delicious.”
Armstrong, who studied Television, works as a videographer on Logos Hope.
She could not decide what to pursue after completing the voluntary sailing, however, added: “Might be communication in general but I’ll have to think about it.”
A professional engineer Lenaic Viand, who is presently on a two-month vacation, said he wanted to play a part in reaching out to the various communities while sharing hope with many others.
“I will be on board for two months, aiming to help and share hope with others,” said the 23-year-old.
Viand, who has been on Logos Hope for 10 days, pointed out that the vessel, which was built in 1978, required reasonable amount of maintenance.
“The engine of the ship is very old and there is a lot of work to make it clean to ensure smooth sailing. We may have to change a lot of parts and system for it.
“At the moment, I’m still familiarising with the ship to do a better job,” said the French.
The ship’s crew of 400 are volunteers from 40 countries.
Logos Hope offers an expanded selection of over 5,000 titles covering subjects like science, sports, hobbies and family life at affordable prices.
It is open to public from 10am to 10pm Monday-Saturday, and from 1pm to 10pm on Sundays, until Nov 13.