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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness


It’s lunch time now and I’m sitting in my office on the fourth floor. The cleaning lady is replacing the plastic bag from the wastebin. I could hear the Azan Zohor resounding in the air on the other side of the window (the mosque is next to  my office). She approached my table and began wiping my pc. 

 “Thank you,” I said with a smile.  – “Ha??”

I repeated myself, “thank you,” my hand already approaching my lips trying to sign the ASL ‘thank you’ , thinking she was deaf.

“Oh…ya.” She carved a smile. “Belum makan?”

I think I blushed. I replied, “oh belum lagi, tapi dah nak turun la ni”.

She smiled again before disappearing behind the door.

I stared at the door a while longer thinking about the seeming harmony that holds our multi-racial (multi-religious) nation together. I am tempted to examine the depth of our commitment to each other. It won’t be long before we hit the polls again. With much that is demonstrated so far from all ends, I wonder if we have ever believed in such a kinship. I fail to see a meaningful attempt to renew and rethink such commitment as embraced by this 50-year old nation.

My friend posted this some time back and I think it is a story worth retelling. I am also intrigued to reimagine this story in our context. What would we be telling our children? Would we tell them that the Azan is my neighbour’s expression of  loving God?