16 Mar 2007
There is one matter that I've not spoken about and will hesitate to mention to anyone. One evening at work few days, I passed by the editors' meeting where they decide what goes in to tomorrow's paper and saw something awful on the huge projector.
I ran to my workstation to load them as well. What I saw broke my heart and made me cry.
It was pictures upon pictures of dead Thais in a minivan.
They were Buddhists killed by Muslim insurgents.
Why? For what it's worth? Because they're of different creeds?
What did they do? What was their crime so bad that they were shot at the back of their heads, one by one?
In death, they look so vulnerable, so unprotected, so small, so ordinary. The pictures weren't gory. It was the pale, dead faces hanging from their seats, men and women with numbers tagged to their heads using bright yellow markers, being hauled and laid side by side on the road, with their legs and hands bloodstained and some without shoes on...and a pair of navy sneakers still worn by a white socked man.
The pictures disturbed me. I will not, and am sure I'm not allowed to post them here. The photos belonged to Reuters and no one in their sane mind should see what I've seen. It ate to my conscious, knowing such terrors grip people so near me. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, but I at least, can know for sure, no one will shoot me dead for my religion where I am.
I can still feel tears stinging at the back of my eyes whenever those photos float into my mind, and that's happening pretty frequently.
To add salt to the wound, I went and watch 300 yesterday. It was a gory, blood-soaked movie of King Leonidas and his Spartan war-hardened fighters battling against Xerxes, a self-proclaimed God King of Persia.
Every gross CGI-rendered drop of blood, flying head, tight torso, spear-stabbed army reminded me painfully that years ago, atrocities like this are probably real, and today is still happening somewhere else in the world. I tried to block the thoughts out of my mind, but truth is, I am sobered throughout the movie. And that evening, another terrorist admitted to slaying Daniel Pearl, an American journalist 6 years ago. How many people still remember Pearl for that matter? This morning, news of suicide bombers killing policemen in Baghdad rang on the radio of my car.
Nobody deserve to die this way. All of them, every single dead person, anonymous to our media-weary and hardened eyes, is someone's loved on, someone's son, daughter, spouse, child, friend. When will we start appreciating lives? When we have to travel in groups and watch our backs constantly?
Inside we are all the same. We all believe in our Gods and should be allowed this freedom to believe in what we choose to. For every comedy we watch on tv, every reality tv drama, every concert, every series, there are people out there whose lives are gripped by terror and fear.
Those thoughts are eating into my conscience so badly, so badly.
On the other hand: a person wrote to the Editor at The Star commenting about the two brilliant girls who scored 16A1s and wanted to be doctors.
He lauded them not for their SPM results, rather, their ambitions.
He cited passion as the moving factors in them gaining what they did. that passion fueled and nurtured them into single-mindedly pursuing their dreams. That they and everyone else should listen to their heart and heed the little voice in their heads.
That passion is the one factor that will move seas and mountains. Without passion, no driving force can lead a person to be where he or she wants to be.
And I agree whole-heartedly. That passion is what we all need to achieve our ambitions, ideals, dreams and the best we can be. Passion decides where we stand on this earth.
Passion drives us to work hard, to seize every opportunity and day, find a way to get what we want. Passion.