Words of Wisdom ...or so it seems...


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Recoloring May 13th

Recoloring 13th May. An interesting concept I must say. But how do we do that? Or more important questions to answer, are we willing to do that, and if we are, are we able to do so? My mind when running on a limited range mode would immediately think about my car. I recolor it back to it's original tone of red, simply by washing off the filth covering it after perhaps two months of collection, masking it into a somewhat a blushing grey, if such color terminology exists (well, it's grey from the filth and looks like it's blushing because of the underlying red). When people ask me "where did you park your car? what color is it?", when trying to help me locate my car at the parking lot, my answer would be, "it's red when it's washed". Now, that's another method of "recoloring". If only in real life, it is that simple.

Thinking in brevity, recoloring reminds me of my hair. No matter how frequent I color it, the hair will resume growing a base of my original hair color. And although I sometimes would like to think that it's blond (because Blondie gets the guys apparently), it's pit black, as black as an angry bull's eye in an arena, standing on it's four feet, proudly embracing the moment of victory(well, occasionally, the matador looses). I guess coloring is an ongoing process.

When I first move into my house, I painted the walls all by myself, every single one of them. There was this small wall that I painted black, mainly to allow my kid to write whatever she wants on it, because, ultimately, she will on any surface she could gets her hands on. I suddenly recalled that she actually did. She drew this very extensively long, and I mean long snake, on the side wall from the top of one stairs to the end of it, made me wonder if vandalism is hereditary, but that is a different story. When asked why she did what she did,(she was then 5 years old , but trust me when I say kids have their own reasoning to their actions, most of the time it's hilarious, if adults care to indulge in the negotiation), here was the answer I got, "I wanted to draw the most beautiful longest snake for you, but the paper is too small". I broke into laughter instead, ironing out my frown, which is more than what I can say to laughing at Malaysian politics. Ah, but again, I digress.

Back to the black wall. How do you recolor a black wall into something less Gothic? It's not easy. It takes a lot of patience, hard work and tenacity. First, you have got coat the primer, most of the time, if the background color is black, you need a few coats to cover the dark tone. Only then you are able to paint any other color without dampening it. Even then, you may never get the exact tone you have in mind upon completing the task.

But here's the good news. It is a possible task, it just takes a lot of effort and the strong will that can achieve even the impossible. Just like May 13th, a black history in Malaysian society, we may never be able to forget it at all because, you can easily forget the birthday of your loved ones, with the exception of your girlfriend or your wife of course (try forgetting it ONCE, and trust me, you will never ever forget it again), albeit it doesn't mean you don't love them; you may forget to lock your car door, but you can never forget death. You will be able to live with it, even forgive the dead or the person responsible for it, but your never forget. It's something we just don't. But in remembering the dead, one must not forget the living. Perhaps in death that we learn of living. We will constantly be reminded of how vulnerable life is, how short it is to just fill it with hatred.

My husband is dead, and all the wrongs he did was silently forgiven, even though not forgotten, because to forget is not to learn from the whole experience. I forgave the person who drove recklessly and rammed into his car that night. Hating him will not bring back my husband, it'll only consume me. Life is too short to not fill it with love. And if anything I have learned in life, it is that the humans do what humans do, we err. The biggest mistake is not in making them, but to not learn from them and it reflects in our future actions, or in some cases, inaction. Perhaps, in the human context, forgiving marks the dawn of recoloring.

Death is a certainty. Grieving is a process necessary to undergo, for grieving allows the unseen wounds of the heart to heal. One needs to grieve in order to be able to move forward in life still insidiously injured. Needless to say, just like it's necessary to go through the grieving process, one needs to get out of it sometime or the other, for grieving too long is not healthy. One needs to be happy again at some point.

Yes, let me be redundant by stating that recoloring the walls takes amongst others; patience, hard work and tenacity, just like recoloring one's life. But in recoloring one's life, most of all, it takes mental and emotional WILL laced with sincerity, (a fast dying human trait if I may add, but excuse me for being pessimistic, or should I say pest-y-mistic). Because, unlike the wall, memory of a tragedy will never go away by just repainting over it with numerous coat of primers then proceed to other bright and cheerful colors, because your mind cannot be as easily deceived as your eyes.

Mental tragedy stays there like a splinter in one's mind. The splinter is there for a reason, it serves as a reminder. However, the best gift God has ever given the human is the gift of choice. We can choose what we want to do with the splinter. We can choose to be destructive with it ergo instigating a cascade of detrimental reactions, (which is basically like throwing a boomerang and hope that it'll not come back to hit us on the head) , we can choose take it out or learn to live with it, and learn from the mistake that led the splinter to be there in the first place, then make a change for betterment of humankind as a whole. Humanity is the better religion, turned out.

May 13th happened and it was real unlike Samy velo's hair or Rosimah's face (alah...Rosimah my second cousin, married to my adopted brother in law). And although it is easier to look back in hatred, it is more beneficial to look forward and for the sake of our children's future, we need to swallow our pride, and instead, look forward to remedy the pain, together. It is difficult, but it is possible, and I'm referring to the "swallowing our pride" bit.

It's high time we Malaysians move forward together, to a more harmonious resulting choices. We all know deep down in our hearts, that "racism" and "religion" are the best tools for governance by politicians and a group of ruling oligarchies. The only way to leave this world, leaving a harmonious Malaysia to our children would be to send them a message that "enough is enough" and we are not going to fall for that trick ever again. But this requires unity in it's true sense.

Just like quitting smoking, where no amount of nicotine will surmount to it's success in overcoming the nicotine addiction, but instead the will to quit the reckless and irresponsible habit itself, unity is what we, each individuals decide in our hearts with utmost sincerity. Without the sincerity and the will to unite, no amount of effort will suffice. Unity starts at home, it starts with what we pass down to our children. Then it continues with the people surrounding our lives. Unity, begins with us, as individuals. Only when we believe, that we are able to pass it down effectively to the next generation. Don't you think that they will live better lives in the future without us putting the ideas of racism into them?

The finishing touch of recoloring our lives in the future is similar to that of recoloring the black wall. At the end of the day, the bigger picture we painted stares back at us. By looking at the wall just repainted, we know the amount of effort armed with good intentions, plunged into turning the black wall into a color more cheerful not to mention less Gothic. And that itself, is a picture of beauty, more for the mind rather than what the eyes can perceive. Just like the wall, we can restructure our thinking, our mind, our attitude by seeking beauty off the newly painted wall, even though we know the underlying color is still black, knowing that we had tried our best to make the black wall turn out as beautiful as possible, or at least die reference to may 13, now that to me is Recoloring it.....

"We are like the rainbow. For the people who decipher a rainbow, it is made of many component colors; together these colors stand side by side, picturesque and breathtaking, YET ARE ONE"

In synergistic effort with : Anas Zubedi's "Recoloring May 13"
and Walski's "Reimagineering May 13"