Tuesday, May 31, 2005

From the Outside Looking In...

The neighbour was a dilapidated kampung shed whose inhabitants hailed from north of the sea. It was on a land without natural resources yet with right dose of autocratic leadership, it rose to become one of the neighbourhood's richest and wealthiest household. Everything was in place once it divorced itself from the chains of the so-called less intelligent landlord. Education was the neighbour's first priority. It instilled in them how their father fought for their independence from the "nasty" landlord. But it failed to remind them of their cultural connections with him. Not until recently, did the father realise that his well applauded autocratic style has crumbled and is no longer as effective.

His children have become walking robots. They likened themselves to living in a zoo. A zoo is a artificially created habitat for animals to roam free as they like yet they are under the clutches of the zoo keepers. They are always under constant surveilance less they end up in some mischief or go against the neighbour's code of conduct. Anything which did not go with the ways and thinkings of the father was frowned upon.

A child who happend to be visiting the neighbour drew pictures on the neighbour's wall. What he drew was ugly to the assistants of the father but to those outside the fence of that household, it was art. He was right to be reprimanded for his insolence but to be caned by the father's men was just outright wrong.

Young adults living in the household attended classes designed to keep their minds on academic excellence and for those who excel, they are then chosen to be the father's right-hand men and women. They were good students; always hardworking yet they lacked certain qualities. They possessed abilities which their peers outside their little circle did not have. They could jot down notes verbatim; even the opening speech and little joke their teacher made before the formal lecture began. They never questioned their surroundings. Instead, they just ate the food that was fed to them and excreated it when the time called for it.

The neighbour like any other household disliked to hang their dirty laundry for the neighbourhood to see. They hid their soiled linen carefully in their backyard. The household was crumbling economy wise yet the father's assistants did not allow such bad news to be told to the children of the household.

But the children are no fools. They are observing creatures who have a mind of their own but they never exercise that right for the fear of the father. They talk amongst themselves about the failings of the household.

As I peered through a whole in the fence, this is what I see. But who am I to judge how the neighbour lives and handles its internal affairs when my own household is equally as chaotic. My household is also filled with skeletons in closets that are craftilly stuffed in by my father's able assistants.

Who am I to judge?

Who am I to compare?

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