Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Duality of Life

Last week, while I was having dinner, I received a call from my brother. My father was having breathing difficulties but could not be persuaded to seek treatment at the hospital. A year and a half ago, my father suffered a heart attack. The same scenario; he refused to go to the hospital until a few hours later. That  delay contributed to his permanent heart damage. Since then, he has not been the same man. Now, half his previous size, frail and gaunt, he never regained his previous vigour. 

He was a tall and strong man, never having had any serious  health problems till the heart attack. But how swiftly things changed. Prior to that, he used to drive my mother to acupuncture sessions daily and on weekends, to the wet market. After the attack, the car was left idle and eventually sold off.  Both my parents spent alot more time at home and became dependent on my brothers. 

I rushed to my parents' home to help persuade my father. However, I only incurred his wrath as angry words spewed from his mouth. Finally, when he could not tolerate the pain anymore, he agreed to be admitted. We rushed him to the Emergency Ward where he was given oxygen till his cardiologist came. Shortly after, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The cardiologist recommended that he be sedated.  and with our consent, he was hooked onto a respirator to help him breathe.

It was a long night. Feeling tired, worried and helpless, I saw him just before he was sedated and went on home.  Naturally, I wanted to soothe and protect him but I could not do much more but leave it to the doctor  to do his job. There is no denying that my greatest fear then, was the thought of losing him. Am I ready to let him go?

I had alot on my mind that night. The suffering of watching suffering. Watching the process of life as it unfolds, the pleasant and the ugly.  It is difficult to watch at times. Added to that, being unable to do anything to help significantly.  It is not in my hands.

This is the package of being a human being. This  package comes with it, the duality of life.  Life and death, joy and sorrow,  pleasure and pain, night and day, meeting and parting, negative and positive, yin and yang. We would not know one if we had not experienced the other.

We cannot determine how we die. Nor the time of death. We can only decide how we want to live. What we can do to shape our own future. And while we are at it, sow the seeds for good to come our way. Finally, everyone would want to be able to make a peaceful and dignified exit from this world. It would be such a privilege.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Happily Ever After


When I was in school, I noticed that romance novels were very popular among my classmates. One girl called Kumari used to carry a bagful of them to school, to exchange with her romance novel bookclub members. Their favourite were books by the Mills & Boons publishing house, which featured many different female authors. I was rather curious, so I asked her to recommend some books by the better authors. However, I could only manage about two books before I became seriously bored. Their story lines were essentially the same. The damsel in distress swept off her feet by the mysterious stranger, who came to her rescue. Yawn.......

The practical side of me found it hard to believe and enjoy what were to me then, rather unbelievable stories. Romance fictions always ends just when real life is about to start. The story always end with the couple falling in love and living happily after. In real life, the point when the couple gets married is when their love is really lived out.

Will their romance get side tracked by the practicalities of life, such as house chores, in-law problems, children, careers and different interests? Yes, there will be a period in the courtship phase when couples can be very romantic with one another.  But why is it somehow assumed that the romance would be automatically sustained without putting in effort?

Are real relationships like that as portrayed in popcorn movies and romance novels? Yet, their influence on our perception of love is subtle. It is when you realise that you have  these expectations which you want your partner to fulfill (similar to the hero in the movies or novels) that you realise the power of its influence in your life. Where did these expectations come from?

The truth is that relationships are a joint effort, much like tending to a plant. Water it, nurture and talk to it lovingly and it blooms beautifully, Otherwise, it could turn out quite ugly too. Couples who, in their old age, wage cold war, curse one another and are unable to carry out a conversation without getting into an argument, are one too many. The truly loving couples are too few. So, what happened to the couple who were once besotted with one another? The romance novels seem to be deafeningly silent on what happens...... ever after.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The State of Our Hearts

Of late, I have been focusing on the plight of animals in this blog. Maybe, it was triggered by the death of my dog, Oreo. Or maybe not. Because to me, whether the topic is about animals or our human problems, the basic issue is still about ourselves. How we treat animals or those weaker and more disadvantaged than us reflects who we truly are inside.  The group I am talking about are children, old folks, sick people and those unspoken for in society,

It is easy to be nice and invest our time on those richer and more influential than us, even though we may not like them because the relationship can potentially bring us benefits. But what about those whom we have to give  more to and  obtain less benefit in return? Or at least that is how it appears, superficially.

Recently, the euthanasia of 8 service dogs at the Fire & Rescue Department caused a public uproar. These loyal, courageous dogs that were now too old to service the nation were inhumanely put to sleep.

"These dogs have served the nation valiantly and with obvious passion for their work. They have put their lives in danger to spare their human handlers the same danger. Their needs are simple and they expect no extravagant pension or benefits. Many do not even live for many years to enjoy much comfort or care following their retirement from active service. They deserve every chance possible to live out their golden years in peace and reasonable comfort. We owe it to these brave dogs to create these chances for them. And we owe it to ourselves and our society to practice the values of compassion, gratitude, accountability and loyalty that we claim to uphold. " Petfinder.myWagazine

I wonder whether it has ever crossed their human minds how it would feel if they were treated in the same manner. What about our aged parents when they no longer can serve us?  Is the worthiness of life measured by their continuing usefulness to us? Do beings have to earn the right to live? It seems so. Our nation maybe progressing, our wallets bigger but what does it say about the state of our hearts?

To me, these are terrible pictures of the callous human heart and great betrayal. A sad day for humankind.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Saving Lives



 All the dogs were rescued. There were 55 of them, rescued a day before they were scheduled to be put down. You may read about the rescue operation by Malaysia Independent Dog Rescue (MIAR) For more of the above photos which are from their facebook page, see Beautiful, healthy looking dogs whose lives have been saved. Kudos to MIAR. Really, really happy with the support of the public and their good work!