I was asked often why I am doing what I am doing. Here I will give a very brief answer. (a more complete answer can be found at the art of my life)
I think my most fundamental belief since childhood is that life is precious, everyone’s life is precious and the individual’s rights to best develop their potentials should be protected and a society should provide equal access to individuals to fully develop themselves.
Thus when I see my friends and other people denied this equal access, I feel the need to do something for them.
My parents are very traditional people. They are very nice people, willing to help other people. But they are quite non-political. So I don’t have a “grassroots” upbringing that immersed me in grassroots causes. One thing my parents raise children is that they tried not to get us into the habit of spending money. First of all, we didn’t really have much money to spend. When we passed by amusement parks, my parents never bought tickets for us to play those things. I guess they wanted us to focus more important things in life. On the other hand, my parents were very willing to spend money on our education, even if they had to save on food.
So my family background doesn’t really have much to do with grassroots things. For me, what might have made a difference is that I had a wonderful childhood (https://freestone.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/where-i-grew-up-a-tribute-to-gatto/), so I deem life as very precious and thus I have a very high goal with my life. Plus my family are all very hardworking people, open-minded and fast learners. All these allowed me to overcome difficulty in pursuing my life, gain knowledge and go beyond myself. Faced with different choices in life, I always choose those that appear to be more difficult but will eventually make me more open and connected to life.
So my starting point is just to cherish my life and pursue what I like to do (the so called art of life). But as I was able to learn and broaden my knowledge and improve my ability, naturally I was exposed to a lot of truths in real life and real world. Trying to be responsible in this world, I have to reflect on many things and how I conduct my life. All these lead me to this path of doing what I am doing now.
So there is nothing really special in my upbringing that will surely lead to these grassroots efforts I am doing now. Indeed, my parents would be very surprised if they know what I am doing. Based on my own life experience, I feel for every individual, if s/he has the opportunities to freely pursue what s/he likes to do, as s/he is expanding and growing, s/he will naturally come to the point that s/he will realize that s/he is tightly connected to other people, s/he cannot save herself/himself without saving other people. As the individual’s ability grows to a level to be able to impact a lot of people, the greater ability naturally demands greater responsibility. And it is only natural for this individual to tie her/his own happiness to the fight for the common welfare of all people. It is only natural then for this individual to forsake the small self and claim the bigger self, which is the whole universe.
So this is why I think a better society in the future is a society that every individual can do what s/he likes to do, e.g. pursue her/his art of life.
Also from my personal interests, this is really the thing that always fascinated me.