When Auntie gives you a cookie
You learnt from young to say "Thank you!"
When you are handed a red packet on New Year's Day
You wish the giver: "Happy New Year, thank you!"
When Boss gives you a raise
You gush: "Thank you, thank you!"
So one is taught civil behaviour
At school, at work and at the dinner table
Also, Elders beseech you:
If someone slaps you on the left cheek
Please turn him your right cheek
But I wouldn't advise you thus
In my wisdom gotten in golden years
I would beseech you,shout back:
"No, no thanks!
I don't fire blanks!"
(By YLChong, Composed some time in 2003)
Desiderata:This fun poem was written tongue in cheek, and I had the young people, especially my nieces and nephews,in mind. I wished to temper the innocence of children with a dose of "reality check" , maybe spiced with a pinch of sarcasm.
The NST of June 1, 2005 (with a follow-up today) led off page 1 with the heart-rending headline: AYAH, DON'T CRY! with subhead Boy paralysed after beating by seniors says ....
The story, datelined TEMERLOH, Tuesday said National Park ranger Baharuddin Mohamad had advised his boarding school-bound son Mohd Afiq Qusyairi, 13, in January "Turn the other cheek when someone bullies you. Fighting back would only make things worse."
But some unthinking seniors stomped on young Afiq's back and threw him against his locker, causing his spinal cord to be damaged at the base of the skull. Doctors fear Afiq will never walk again.
Desiderata expresses great sympathy to child and Dad; I believe Baharuddin is a God-fearing man who wanted his son to walk the straight and narrow, giving others the benefit of the doubt. I too grew up on similar philosophy -- but realities in life sometimes dictate that there are bastards out there -- adults included! -- who don't listen to reason and do not reciprocate human kindness with kindness. In which case, my poem's last two verses would be my guideline in response. God have mercy on me if I am wrong!
I would like to hear from dear esteemed Readers, young and not so young, regarding this episode which has caused great anguish to Afiq's loved ones.