Monday, November 23, 2009

Scenes of the Father: Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls

My father is a retired teacher. He was a teacher for over 30 years. Having had several opportunities to get promoted into the Education Department, he declined at each stage.

The reason? I don't know, but I can speculate.

I remember that during school holidays, he would bring his shoulder-mounted grass cutter to school, as well as his array of tools to keep the school clean.

The schools had gardeners, but he didn't feel right unless he had a hand in doing it himself.

It was the same story every time. The Malays in my village were hardly proactive. So it took him and his righteous outrage to get things done. He opened the fucking village. Went to the MB and asked for land, way back in the '70s.

He had one of only two cars on the village back then, and his Opel Kadett became the ambulance, the hearse and general taxi. It was a thankless job. When you are doing better than other people - not because you are better or better paid, but because you have your shit together - they generally believe they are entitled to your time, your energy and your car.

It's the currency of pain. Who has more pain, holds more power.

"They'll use you," I told him.

"They'll take advantage of you."

And they did.

His reaction was, "Oh well."

He has lived to see those who wronged him in many ways suffer.

Sun Tzu is right.

"Sit on the river banks long enough, and you will see the bodies of your enemies floating by."

Thing is, backstabbers will usually backstab each other. Haters will ultimately hate themselves. And people who fancy they can manipulate things and people will one day be manipulated.

I have seen this. I bear witness that evil and spite will only beget more evil and spite.

Play the game, and the game will play you. Stare into the abyss and the abyss stares back.

These days, my father takes care of his land. All one acre of it. Alone.

Me? Oh, I'm sitting down. I'm chillin'. I don't even notice the bodies floating by.