The Slap

A man hit another man in front of others in a big occasion. He became emotional. He apologised. His action appeared out of character. The man he assaulted was shocked.

A day later he said sorry to the other man.

In one stroke, everything seemed to have changed. For him. For the other man. And those who were present.

The extent of his remorse is measured by the apology, or the lack thereof. Until perhaps it is a tad too late to say sorry.

It shows. It reflects the sense of entitlement in someone who is audacious enough to hit someone else. Whatever the occasion. And to then rationalise. Using big words like Protection, Love.

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Do you know the story of the blind boy and his sign? He sits on the steps of a building with a hat and a sign which reads, ‘I am blind, please help’. There are only a few coins in the hat; spare change from folks as they hurry past. A man walking by, drops a few coins, but then takes the sign, turns it around and writes some words before leaving. Soon the hat begins to fill up. A lot more people are giving money to the blind boy. When the man who changed the sign returns, the boy recognises his footsteps and asks, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man says, “I wrote what you said but in a different way.” ’Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.’ Both signs speak the truth. The first simply say the boy is blind, while the second conveys to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see…

Today I woke up early to get ready for a yag laser procedure for my right eye. I am told by the doctor who would be operating on me that it would take only a few minutes and I could go home. I remember the story about the blind boy because, from the arrangement for this procedure, checking on insurance claim, going to the hospital, the registration, to the waiting, the actual surgery, and going home, it has been, to me, an exercise in gratitude. The eye surgeon is a friend whom I trust. My insurance agent is also a friend who helped with my claim. My close circle of friends were all quietly concerned and happy to know the laser surgery went well. My eldest sister boiled a special soup for dinner. Colleagues who are working with me on projects, were understanding when I underestimated the down time and meetings were rescheduled…

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A couple who has been together close to twenty years, who will be celebrating their anniversary this week, asked if I could pen a few words on gratitude. They call their celebration ‘an evening of Gratitude for all that we have’. I am honoured but am I in a position to say anything? What do I understand of, what are my experiences in, let alone write about this thing called gratitude?

Have you heard of the ‘Mosquito Principal’? As you get ready for bed, you notice your room infested with mosquitos. You take a fly swatter and by some miracle you are able to kill all but one lone pesky mosquito. Chances are you will still be bothered by that one mosquito. If there are 30 mosquitoes and you exterminate 29 of them, you will be on edge until you resolve the last one.

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There is a warm appeal about ‘Mulan’. A Chinese female warrior. The trailers are flavourful aperitif with glimpses of Donnie Yen, Gong Li, gorgeous sets, sweeping actions. And Chinese speaking clear, concise, simple English for all to understand. Something that may not necessarily be an appeal for audiences in the East. Talk about simple. Does it need to be this simple?

Every character is one dimensional. Every acting is one pitch. Of course it is deliberate. Structured. Predictable. It is a life action film with dialogue and storytelling of an animated movie. A Disney animated movie. This ’The Ballad of Mulan’, a 330-word poem about a woman posing as a man to enlist in the military in place of her ailing father, is given a total Disney makeover.

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Good Morning!


This morning, on a whim, I decided to say Good Morning to various friends via a Whatsapp message. While I did, I channeled the image of seeing each of them in person, and felt the warmth of such a simple morning greeting. The simple response was a return greeting. A doctor friend asked if I was well. I said I just felt like saying Good Morning. He knew I was going through a trying time on a few film projects and wished I was doing better. A chiropractor friend greeted me then added, anything? Another friend with whom we are collaborating on a project, greeted me followed by an apology that he hadn’t gotten back on an outstanding matter. I said my greeting wasn’t work related, just saying Good Morning. A friend residing in Hong Kong sent me a video of him and his son just finishing a water sport by the beach. A slice of his blessed life. Some just woke up, some said hi and needed to go back to whatever they were doing. And there were those when this simple Good Morning paved the way for an ensuing conversation, picking up where we last dropped off. Then one friend told me he had a mild stroke sometime back. I also discovered a friend’s parent passed on. On this Saturday, I see how the simplicity and sincerity of a Good Morning is a window to the diverse lives of people in our circle…

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