i wonder what it’s like to promise to do something for someone and then promptly not do it – without prior notice, without subsequent apology. as if it never happened. as if the promise did not exist. i wonder how anyone could sleep at night after doing that to a friend.
well, at least now i know just the person to ask.
he kept taking showers. his family was puzzled by his behaviour and asked him what was going on. “my younger brother’s coming to visit me,” he said, “i have to be ready when he comes.“
the maid who looked after him during the final days of his life found a family picture lying around the house while preparing for his funeral. “that’s her“, she said, pointing out an elderly lady in the photograph. “that ah ma came to visit him one day. she asked me to be quiet because he was sleeping. she said she just wanted to see how he was doing.“
never mind his brother passed away a couple of years ago. never mind the woman in the photograph was my grandmother.
he died last friday knowing who would be greeting him on the other side.
his eyes burned with bitter memories as i showed him the articles in the newspapers. “reconciliation?” he snorted, “what we need is for the people to stop opening old wounds and let the incident die on its own!“
he was a young man, newlywed, when the racially-fueled riots broke out 39 years ago. he was a primary school teacher in kl, doing his best to support his family with whatever meager salary his diploma could earn. he and his wife knew full well the consequences of that fateful day. they lived through every day of the emergency. they saw with their own eyes what it was like.
he wasn’t about to let some punk of a journalist tell him that it’s better to seek the truth than allow time its natural course.
i almost agree with him. most flesh wounds need to be left alone – un-picked-at, undisturbed – in order to heal satisfactorily. even deep injuries, after the necessary interventions, close up in time. how much more so the psychological wounds left in the lives of those who experienced may 13 up close and personal?
more than half the malaysian population was born after 1969. we are fast approaching a time when none of the country’s leaders would have first-hand knowledge of what really happened.
perhaps only then will the hurts be left to die and a common desire for unity will prevail.
round one to the red devils. =)