Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free Hugs Campaign - Importance of the Human Touch

A long LONG time ago, in reaction to me not being into hugs or public displays of affection in general, a dear friend of mine said this, "People cannot live without the human touch." I thought long and hard about that one and came to the obvious conclusion, "yeah, that's true." I imagined a really lonely person; don't know why or how she got there, but she feels isolated. The days and years pass and she lacks the comforts of another person's (or even animal's for that matter) touch. In essence, most of us can relate to this person and the feelings of loneliness. It's a sad state of affairs but what can we do about it?

Then comes along the Free Hugs Campaign to answer this quandary. This movement all started in Australia 2004 with one man who goes by the pseudonym "Juan Mann" (cute coinkidink, huh?). While dealing with issues of sadness during a trying time, Mann returned from overseas. He longed to be back in someone's waiting arms but found no one there upon his arrival. With this earnest desire and equipped with only a large cardboard having the words, "free hugs" handwritten on it, Mann proceeded to offer, well, free hugs. Mann's act was even documented on film and clips were used in the music video "All the Same" from the band Sick Puppies (see below)? His popularity grew so great he also appeared in Oprah.

Juan Mann in Sydney

Now an international phenomenon, these random acts of kindness is a testament to the human soul. It's so widespread that even in places like South Korea where PDAs is seen as immodest, especially by the older generation, you will see the Free Hugs Campaign in full swing (see video clip below).

Jinwoo Shin in Seoul

Who doesn't want a hug? Dammit, I can use one right now going through this writing hell. So go out and hug a stranger. Make sure you can run real fast in case they become irate. When could you have most used a hug and why? Please share your thoughts.

1 comment:

Bob's Your Uncle said...

like my ol' Scotts father used to say: "Buck up Laddy! Put that hang dog face away - no tyme fer yer cryin' and sad-ass crap like that, and don't let the door hit you in the arse on your way out to play with the threshing machine. mind you don't jostle the nitroglycerine while you're feeding pigs.

ok - i like hugs just as much as the next very masculine guy with no personal space issues, but as i watch this guy with the "free hugs" sign, i can't help wondering if he's offering or asking. Personally i'm not the kind of person who needs a hug from some sign waving stranger. Now i suppose there are people in this world who are starved for affection (or who are having a very bad day), and cant get a hug to save their life, so they need to go out and get them from some strange dude carrying a sign and offering hugs. I'm guessing that's cause no one else will give them a hug. but you know i don't want to hug those people either. there might be something wrong with them. And some guy with who looks like jesus and waves a sign just seems a little too "needy" for my tastes.

Aside from the obvious nutty and needy aspect of this story, or the self-satisfying self-aggrandizing pseudo-altruism, i think in the future these signs should be a little more honest. How about signs that say "I need a hug today!" or "Brutha can you spare a hug?". Or even something like "share a hug" or "I'll hug you if you hug me". Or "let's hug".

I notice that this guy made it onto Oprah - and hugged her. Now if ever there was a person who seems in need of constant reaffirmation it's Oprah. That girl just can't get enough attention to satisfy her massively needy ego.

People! Buckup! and get a real job! And mind the door doesn't hit you in the arse on your way out.