Something wonderful we can all learn from Hari Raya

July 31, 2014

Hari Raya is the only time in the year where it is socially permissible for one man to go up to another – hold him by the hand, lead him to a cool shade of a tree and say to him in hushed tones – forgive me for what I have said and done for this whole year. Let us close this account and open a new page and set aside old scores. The other man will do the same.

And in this one simple act of contrition – all the old accounts of resentment, pent up frustrations and enmity for the whole year are magically wiped away clean as if one just pressed the reset button and the counter all goes back to zero again.

There is much that is superior in the way of the Moslem.

Tabula Rasa.

—————————————————————————–

‘Many years ago. I once caught a mole online in the newly formed internet brigade. I did not expose him as I have always believed in the principle of waging a gentlemen’s war. To me everyone has an elemental right to be in the internet.

I only told this person to be always mindful of the broader consequences of what he said and did online. I went on to share with him when he asked me to elaborate further – if you are callous or allow this power at your disposal to go up to your head like 40% proof alcohol – then you are likely to sow the seeds of mistrust, resentment and enmity – and once ill will takes root in the online community then all you would have done is created a whole generation of hardened contrarians who will never want to hear what your masters have to say and when that happens you are well and truly finished.

I went on to share with this mole that although many netizens appeared to be anti government – they pose no threat as their hearts are in the right place, as they really want to do is to make Singapore a better place. So there is so much that he already has in common with them – and he should work hard to win the battle of the hearts and minds along with their respect instead of using psychological warfare, software to slow their hard drives, screw up their stat counter along with other dirty and underhanded tactics. As I went on to stress to this fellow – even if you are on the other side, providing they know you are genuine and can be relied to conduct yourself like a gentlemen – most netizens will accord you the respect and hear you out.

But if you resort to threats, fear tactics and invading their privacy – then Hallejuyah to you lah!

I do not know whether this fellow took my advice. I really don’t think so. As these days things are so bad online that when Mini Lee says something – no one cares to listen any longer. So you can draw your own conclusion from that. This is what happens when you get a sheep to do a foxes job. He will fuck it all up!

But nonetheless this is really how I have always seen it. As even if one has no choice but to wage war, this does not prevent one from being a gentlemen and respecting one’s adversary by fighting fair and square.

But if all the dirty tricks come right out – then it becomes almost impossible to seek out common ground let alone a truce or any such agreement where two men can agree not to behave like animals. As since there is so much ill will, it’s hard if not impossible for both sides to seek a compromise.

Take the case of those businessmen in my village who tried and failed to cheat me on a land deal just about a year ago – since then a Cold War of sorts has descended on my village. One where whenever I appear in the kopitiam and this group is there everyone scrambles for the door frantically like some cowboy movie in high noon.

No one is quite sure what will happen. But they’re all convince something terrible is going to occur – it is no longer a question of whether as it remains when. At times it’s so tense, it’s even possible to even hear a caterpillar chewing leafs. All because these people continue to insist it is a miscommunication while I have adopted a militant refusal to concede to that term and have instead described their actions as nothing less than a dishonest act.

Not long ago. One of these businessmen who had suffered a stroke summoned me to his deathbed. He is a very old man and when I came to his side. He whispered to me – forgive me and let our differences end right here. Do what you need to do to the others. But promise me when I go to the other side that my children will be allowed to turn the wheel of life without harassment. Do not raid their lands. I told this old man, he has my word of honor that I shall forgive and move on and I bear no grudges.

But when he looked me deep in the eyes. He began to cry and soon he was wailing uncontrollably. As he did not believe me.

I felt very sad when I left. As I meant what I said.

But all that this old man could see was an angry man hell bent on squaring accounts. This is what happens when there is so much resentment, mistrust and enmity – we all suddenly find ourselves in the hottest place in hell and we don’t know how to get back to the road of peace any longer. This feud will go on for generations.’

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