Thursday, 20 December 2012

Behind the Gun Barrel

Pointing a gun at someone must feel like sitting behind the wheel of a car. In Malaysia, certain vehicle drivers seem to feel free to drive as they please without considering themselves a danger to the public. The power of speed is in their hands and all who value their safety or lives must get out of the way, or be run down.

If you hold a gun, you have the power to gun down or harm anybody you don't particularly like or who has deliberately or unwittingly hurt body or ego. So, you hold a source of power in your hands, and for the moment feel less vulnerable to being bullied or put in fear. You become the source of fear.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut tragedy, it was shocking to see the headline of an online news site scream that gun sales had grown. More people decided to own guns. Why? Did this tragedy which cut short the lives of so many young children and teenagers who would have grown up into amazing adults, have virtually no effect or a completely reverse effect on American society?

Yet, should this be surprising, when children, youths and adults, young and old are gunned down on a daily basis in conflict zones all over the globe? Has human life become the ultimate disposable commodity in this age of biodegradability? Despite our delusions of freedom and security, the fear factor is very real, not only in apparently peaceful places like the United States, but also in Malaysia, where alleged suspects and teenage pranksters have been gunned down by police. It seems that the dead tell no tales.

On the contrary, the dead stimulate more questions, many which may remain unanswered for years, or become unsolved mysteries, and guilty secrets of secret perpetrators. 
Fear creates a vicious cycle of irrationality and paranoia. Fear instills the need to defend or protect ourselves, using its own tools. So, it goes on, and doesn't solve anything. 

Shooting unarmed civilians in any armed conflict is an expression of power, like the rape of women and children. However, this expression of power is an expression and revelation of cowardice in they who wield the power, but cannot control it, like driving a car at speed in a manner revealing the inability of the driver to control the car.

So can freedom be won through the barrel of a gun? In an instance of trigger happy power?To place power in the hands of those who like to wield it but become its slave, is to make slavery an accepted tradition. Will the human being ever be free?
Change must come, if the human race is to see the future, otherwise, we could ultimately face extinction by our own hand.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Trying to Force Love

I've been watching a few Taiwanese and Korean soaps on TV. Very often the plots of these stories bear close resemblance, Boy meets Girl1, Girl1 is crazy about Boy, but Boy is crazy about Girl2. So Girl1 goes all out to ruin Girl2 in Boy's eyes, taking the moral high ground to put herself in a good light. As the melodrama moves on, the lengths to which Girl1 is prepared to go to secure Boy's undying love and get rid of her rival become more and more extreme, including murder.

At the end of the day, one wonders if Boy can't make up his mind or has the inability to know how he feels about both Girl2 and Girl1. Are men in reality, so wishy washy? Looks like they're more controlled by down there than up there, or even by a beating human heart. 

Even so, can one force someone to love you? Couples get engaged or marry for many reasons and not necessarily because of love. As a woman, I think many men marry because they don't want to be alone. They often depend on another human being for physical and psychological comfort and support. When this has been secured, they tend to take it for granted ( women also do that), life becomes normal and reverts mainly to the needs of each individual. It needn't have anything to do with love. 

A few more years down the line, if the couple start drifting apart and finding their individual friends, divorce looms on the horizon. So, is trying to force someone to love you worth it?
Girl1 then, could be putting herself in hell by trying to force Boy to love her. Yet, why does she persist in this obviously lost cause? Her quest could be ego-driven and obsessive. It is an ego-driven greed for vengeance that can't be sated unless, the obstacle to her goal is removed permanently. Even then, I wonder, if she will ever have peace of mind living in fear of losing Boy's affection to anyone else?

Boy, on the other hand seems naively clueless about the 'contest' and rivalry between the two girls. Are men so naive? Or does it boost their ego to see two women fighting for their affection. Some men probably like it and thrive on jealousy. It's like a chain they can pull to reassure themselves that they still appeal to women. 

Another favorite theme of soaps is emotional blackmail. A means to force someone to do what they are unwilling to, yet, give in under duress. This is another tactic Girl1 resorts to in order to get her way. Girl2 in contrast is often portrayed as not only naive but not too intelligent. She often succumbs to the treachery of Girl1, thinking it best to give in because she loves Boy. She is the victim and waits for her knight in shining armour to rescue her i.e. for Boy to wake up and make a definite choice. Sadly, because of his apparent naive nature, it's often too late when he realizes his preference is for Girl2. She may not be around by then or may have found a more reasonable partner. The joke is really on Boy who can't make up his mind.

If Boy had been single-minded, decisive and committed himself to Girl2, he may have avoided ending up with less than he hoped and dreamed for. Yet, many things in life are uncertain and unclear and often wrong decisions are made. So, one either lives with it or charts a new course. 

We often think of what may have been, maybe for a reason, perhaps a very good one, that life plays out differently from our expectations.