Friday, October 1, 2010

The Mentalist

When I was younger, I watched Chinese TV serials. Police Cadet '86, blah blah blah.

There was one series which I followed for two or three years, about a guy who inherited a mooncake shop from his father.

It tells of how he rebuilt the business from the ground up after his siblings from the first marriage (his mother is the mistress of the mooncake tycoon) sabotaged his business all the way.

It's like a Hong Kong The Bold and the Beautiful. The series showed values that my parents forced upon me. Hard work, determination, good business sense, blah blah blah.

The boy eventually grew up to be a tycoon. He eventually invested in the HK real-estate boom of the time.

There were other, similar stories, about how hard it was for a boy who came from China to HK during World War 2, how he had to deal with the black market to get food, bla bla bla bla.

These stories on TV, are important because they are nation building. They build up people because it reaches deep down inside the psyche of the masses, who would perhaps more readily accept lessons delivered through palatable fiction in evening dramas rather than hard-sell ad campaigns. It's a subtle approach, and subtle is always good.

I was also heavily influenced, as a young kid, by Japanese manga and Japanese TV. Those always showcase a modern form of the Code of Bushido - a code of honour samurais follow. Though I found out later that the code and ethics, outlined by the Book of Five Rings, amongst others, is a lie - concocted by samurais who are also scholars of their time to validate them getting salaries from the state - the damage was already done.

I was already living life with the delusion that I am a samurai. That I have to follow strict ethical codes, if not moral ones. Haha. Yeah, that's a laugh, right?

Anyway, TV is important for the things they teach the young. The values we see on TV now is what the people will most probably adopt, unconsciously, slowly, through osmosis over the years.

And yet, a lot of dramas I see on TV used to worry me. Usually, the final solution, the ending, is the main character getting married.

I read one book by a renowned writer who outlines this character's life. A hardworking lad, he makes roti canai at three places everyday, working three four-hour shifts. Hardworking, right? What is his ending? As a reward for being good, he marries a rich girl. What?

This fixation on fucking worries me. I mean, if it means go go bars and the legalisation of prostitution, then I am all for it. But if it seeps into the public's psyche that all one has to do is get married to prove that their pussy/dick can attract another pussy/dick, then my worry was justified.

I'm not worried today, cause I'm New Age and pretentious and shit, but the fact remains that there are whole generations of Malaysians who were bombarded with the ideology that marriage and family is the center of the universe. I am not saying this is wrong, or that anyone's belief is wrong. I am just saying that I believe this is a corroding element in society. That's what I believe in.

I believe that a lot of people might grow up thinking that all they have to do is to get married, and that's the end of it. No, stupid. Marriage is the beginning of things. Good, bad, all of it rolled together and shoved up your ass.

And there is no such thing as 'rezeki anak'. You don't magically get imbued with supernatural luck because you successfully bred a child into this dark, dank, dirty world.


Some of the time, it is other people - sometimes demons like me - who think about you and your family and do stuff so that your family would not die. Most of the time, it is just your hard work. Give yourself some credit. Give your work some credit.

I don't believe in magic. I believe that there is a reason for everything.

Oh well. I guess I am an old man.