Kosong Kosong

August 3, 2015

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Every year during and a few days after Raya. I will make it a point to go around the kampung in my heart’s and mind’s magic carpet…the humble bicycle.

It’s a great way to connect with kampung folk without the trappings of class and wealth. In a car one can only be distant and hermetically sealed from others. On a bicycle it’s open, friendly, approachable and very considerate because it’s quiet and the slow pace blends well with the cadence of kampung life. Thru the years I’ve found this to be a very reliable way to walk into even the most hardened hearts. As whenever kampung kids see riding towards them, they will break out into fits of laughter as for the adults they will usually look on curiously only to smile and invite me into their yard for refreshments and cakes.

This gives me an opportunity to connect meaningfully with the men folk beneath a shade of tree, where we partake in a ritual as old as the hills itself and share a very private and brotherly moment – at some point during the conversation. I will reach out my hand, take off my sunglasses, look this man in the eye and say, ‘I ask your forgiveness for anything that I have said or done that is wrong or causes you pain for the whole of last year. Please forgive me.’ He will do the same.

At that point, all the accounts are magically squared. Abracadabra! All the ill will, grudges, resentment and anger is set aside. Tabula rasa. It’s as if the great counter of life is pressed and it all goes back to zero again.

The Muslim regard this ritual with upmost seriousness and from my many years of experience they are most sincere and genuine about keeping to the covenants of this ritual, when they say kosong kosong i.e zero zero…and I urge you all to take the opportunity to go up to your Muslim colleagues and do the same.

There are many things about the Muslim way of life that I find superior to the Chinese way.

This just happens to be one of them.

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