All except one, a black sheep which standing away from the flock in moments of solitude serenaded itself with that detached view and in its moments of epiphany grasped the essence of truth that we are neither Malay, Chinese, Indian, Ceylonese nor Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, American but essentially human and that humanness, our God given privilege on this blessed hearth, was what united us blacks, white, yellow, dark or pale. That a man cut bleeds the same, that the wail of the newborn is the song at every nativity, that the hopes of the poor the world over are the mirror images of one another, that a man born and dies in the never ending cycle of life and death ….
Yes, every migrant nay every soul has an ancestor who contributed whether positively or negatively to what this vast land, bounded by invisible boundaries, is today but in Man’s constant quest to moor his existential drift in the sea of certainty and the concreteness of space and in his never-ending quest to stake his right to call a place his home, he risks negating that part of him that essentially makes him what he is …human. For isn’t this innate desire for belonging and asserting that existential quest for the imagined home self- defeating? That it cleaves us from the sea of humanity and maroons us as islands of Selfs ,that the notion of nationhood, race , tribal affiliation, culture are all figments of the inner self seeking an outer veneer of certitude. Doest thou know the impossibility of establishing eternity on finite reality lost in that very quest. Isn’t the past littered with ephemeral and vain glorious attempts at establishing an infinite presence on an earthly reality? How the might of Babylon, Rome, Baghdad, Malacca and Agra vanished into the graveyard of history as the sands of time and the advent of progress swept away atrophied glories.
For in the end, the hand that reaches out to the other in his/her moment of need, the eyes that tear at the anguish of another, the palms that feed the salt of the earth, the feet that walks to the distant wail, the ears that hark to the howl of despair, the will that propels the immolation of the self to serve and the heart that throbs with the conscience to help the suffering be they Cambodian, American , Palestinian, Iraqi are nothing but the manifestation of that shred of Raheem (Mercy) singed onto the human heart by His infinite Mercy as our unborn souls covenanted Him with that eternal promise in the realm of possibilities: Thou are Our Lord”. For within us beats the ethereal strain “ I am a Child of the Human Race (Saya Anak Bangsa Manusia) and the call of our true home, Paradise.
31 August has ceased to be for me a long, long time ago : just a date on the calendar… a footnote in history, perhaps, nothing more, nothing less, nothing special…….just another day when the flag of humanity is raised as usual in the silent meadows of this heart and many others beyond the reach of physical boundaries elsewhere as we sing the song of hope in unison: We are the Children of Humanity (Kami Anak Bangsa Manusia).
Revert : A migrant’s son tore asunder in 22 years what the forefathers built over many eons. Strange but true……………