Do I really feel anything? Or is it all numb. Anaesthetized. Frozen. I ask myself as I try to ice down my teenage son’s intensifying inferno at the gang-raped girl’s death in Singapore.
Fifteen years ago my reaction would have been different. I would have walked the candle-lit procession. Wrote anti-government slogans and articles. Rushed into my newspaper office, my face flushed with updates. Been with the girls’ family, wept with them.
But today I am beyond all this emotion. I have been there. Done that. Played that burning game. The only thing I managed to burn up is my own soul. Scorched it so much that today it’s burnt charcoal, with no emotions. So I had picked up my baby and flown across seven seas to build fairy-tale castles around him, so that he cannot see the “wonders” of the world beyond. So that he doesn’t get scorched like me.
But he saw. He grew up and looked across the high castle walls and asked me, “Ma, why’s that blood pouring out on the streets? Why is that woman crying? Why is there so much genocide? Why are so many getting raped? Ma, why are there so many children standing naked or without food?”
He can see across the wall. Across the world. And can see what I did not want him to see all this while. And somewhere, deep down, I am bloody proud of him!
Today I have learned to channelize my anger and flushed emotions into cold decisions. Feasible, practical decisions. I can see both the sides of the coin.
I can see that law will take its due course. You cannot arm-twist the law to perform miracles overnight. Neither can you incite an albeit lame democracy to go back into medieval times and cause barbaric acts like hanging the criminals in public, or skinning them alive, or castrating them… all of which my alter ego would find immense pleasure in doing personally!
Yet, you cannot tell a country to do these. But yes, they will be hanged. In due time. With due justice served to all.
So my motherland, let us gulp our tears and stand aground. Not forget all this in the hype of the New Year drinking binge. But to stand aground. Till a stricter law that we all stand for, is passed.