Dealing with people who take you for granted

November 6, 2014

RSCN1544There is a common road that runs thru my lands that leads to other lands. Many farmers use this road. Recently, a few of them have complained it is getting terribly uneven, worn down and even slightly dangerous to transverse at certain sections especially during the rainy season. On one occasion one section of this windy road even collapsed into a ravine rendering it impossible to transverse.

One day the farmers who regularly use this road gathered at the edge of where part of this road collapsed into the ravine to discuss what to do next. When they spotted me walking my lands, one of them asked me, do you know what happened to this road…it used to be so good, but now it seems to be impassable….something must have happened. Another quipped, it was never like this before….even in the past when we had heavier rains, it was always even and smooth. Then they all asked, do you happen to know the person who used to maintain this road?

I told them all, that person USED to be me and I did it all alone with the sweat of my brow for four years without a single offer of help or gratitude from any of them. Thereafter I walked briskly away.

Sometimes people don’t notice the good things others do for them until they stop doing them.

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image‘It requires a certain dexterity of mind, intelligence and effort for one to be able to feel gratitude. That is because, modern living blunts our senses and makes us all slothful to the very idea of how fragile man is and how badly conceived he is to thrive in the frontier. If the idea of a great architect in the sky really existed at all – I would have a coat of fur like a wolf, fangs that can sink effortlessly into flesh and bone and eyes that can see in the dark. That to me is the ideal shape and form that I would much prefer to my paper mâché body.

No. I don’t imagine these thoughts have ever crossed your mind before. These are rumminations that only afflicts a man somewhere around two hundred days in the jungle. No! These thoughts can never permeate your hermetically bubbled existence. But that’s only because you don’t know the frontier like I do. You may have experienced it vicariously in the movies….read about in books….or even roughed it out a few days in a camp site. It’s not an indictment on humanity. Rather it’s the way it is when one grows accustomed to the regularity of modern living. Being able to turn a faucet to run one’s hand in a stream of water without ever having to ration it…..switching on a light without having to worry about whether you are using too much batteries….being able to just let your hair down without ever fearing and probably ten thousand other things that one regularly takes for granted in Singapore are all things which will always be alien to the attitude of the frontier man.

No! You’ve never looked at yourself naked before a mirror before. Or felt the assault on your own mortality wondering to yourself how feeble and weak you are against what lurks in the jungle. Or yearn to be that creature with a mane of fur, fangs and fiery eyes that can see thru darkness….to want it… No! A crie de couer. To desire to be that creature.

No! You’ve have never had too…..you were never ever pushed to that point of no return when your mind gives itself to such dark thoughts…..and that is why you should be grateful….so very grateful.’

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