When Aarin Dang got a letter from Scott Morrison

By Indira Laisram
Aarin Dang

Nine-year old Aarin Dang is not your quintessential poet. He is just a grade four student who loves to write. Read on

When Melbourne came under its first lockdown, nine-year old Aarin Dang found himself watching the news, with a bit of an encouragement from his mother Rashmi who wanted him to learn and understand everything about ‘Governance’, a subject that was newly included in his class.

While Dang’s young mind was trying to understand a state government vis a vis a federal government, he was also trying to fathom the magnanimity of an event called COVID-19 with attention constantly being drawn to none other than Premier Scott Morrison briefing the media.

“I was watching the news daily and I saw the Prime Minister and his team present information. The  way he spoke every time he was live on TV really inspired me. No matter how difficult the times were, putting the country before himself and talking in a way that gives his countrymen the courage to fight in these testing times were very positive,” says Aarin, who switches off from his peers and displays a great level of maturity.

Inspired by the Prime Minister, Aarin started penning down a few lines every now and again post his television time. In three-four weeks, he had a poem ready and dedicated to Morrison.

Aarin’s mother, Rashmi, remembers when Aarin started the writing the poem. “It started with few lines and became a very long poem, much longer than his mother’s day poem,” she laughs.

When he did read out the lines to his mother, Rashmi thought why not sent it to the person he wrote the poem for.

Not that the Dangs expected any response, but it felt good to express their appreciation through the writings of their nine-year old.

But their joy, especially of Aarin’s, knew no bounds when they received the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement and thank you letter last week in which he specifically addressed Aarin in his own handwriting: “I can do what I can do Aarin, because I know Australia is made up of great people like you.” It is a moment the Dangs savour.

Meanwhile, Aarin says he will continue watching the news “because I want to know what is happening. I understand that it’s a pandemic now, I also know it has changed the lives and even the world, and it is even dangerous and deadly”.

He says he is getting used to home schooling but misses the physical interaction he shares with his teachers and friends. What is important, he says, taking the cue from the Prime Minister, is having a positive mindset. “I realised that having a positive mindset will help you get through it, but if you don’t, it will be much harder for you.”

Aarin loves writing in his past time, something, his mother says the family is discovering during this lockdown period. “He has been getting into poetry, essays, narratives. In fact there was a lot of emphasis on term two at school and he did get a task once on writing poems on very simple topics, say, a spider and we felt he was really doing well. We encouraged him and he hasn’t stopped.”

Child rearing is an art and the Dangs seem to be on the right track. Rashmi says, “We have taught our boys (Aarin has a younger brother) that being good human beings come first and everything else comes second, that’s the foundation we want to instil.”

On his part, Aarin has accomplished something else. He has also started a YouTube channel, a Square Production’s debut video WHEN LIFE GETS BACK ON TRACK. Since its debut, the video has been chosen to be an official selection for the First Time Filmmaker Sessions 2020 at Lift-Off Global Network in the UK. Aarin is now on his way to making his second video.

For a nine-year old, Aarin believes in never giving up and always having a go!

“I want to be like be like my grandfather who is wildlife photographer. I like exploring the jungle and seeing new animals,” he says. Incidentally, his grandfather Rajesh Bedi is one of India’s biggest names in the genre of wildlife photography. So he has an idealised model in his life already.

“Maybe I will become prime minister,” he quips, as a kind of an afterthought.

For this Southern Cross Grammar Grade 4 student, using free verse to reflect whatever he is doing with Ipad on his lap and feeling the sheer largeness of the world is a great start!

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