Friday, April 8, 2016

The Agony of Seeing Agony

There are many things about my life, especially my childhood, that I sometimes wish I could erase from my memory. I have shared some of them in this blog—for example here and here—and there are many more stories that have not been told. I'm sometimes tempted to spend a stretch of a month or two to put my fingers to the keyboard and tell it all. But then again what's the use?

In some ways, perhaps I have benefited a lot from my rough childhood. I'm convinced that I've become what I am today as an outcome of my life experiences. I see glimpses of my mom attacking my dad with a cleaver when they had their fights. The exact times, locations and causes of those fights have all disappeared from my memory, but my parents doing the Ip Man thingy remains fairly clear in my mind.

So much agony in witnessing all the ugly things that people do; and some of these observations can be very traumatic and have a lasting effect on the observer. Thankfully, however, some of us can learn from the experience. Sometimes, when we do something bad, we're unaware of what we're doing—the gravity of its consequences upon others surrounding us. But when we're observing others doing it, we're better able to realise how bad it actually is.

It is mind-boggling to me that some people can allow themselves to intentionally cause physical and emotional pain upon others. This news article is one example of how ugly people can become, although we've not arrived at the conclusion of the case yet.

It pains me immensely whenever I see my wife in agony. I've had quite a few of those moments. For example, when I saw what she had to go through in the delivery room when JJ was born. It was a difficult delivery, and she had to endure a 13-hour labour. I've also seen her agony in the many endurance races that we've done together. You see, she is not born naturally strong, and she would struggle in most races just to finish the race before the cut off. I've raced The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT) together with her some years ago, and I experienced that moment when I was struggling to hold back my tears just from watching her in agony as she was approaching the finish line. I actually wrote extensively about that race in 2 parts, here and here. And last week, during the Putrajaya 70.3 race, I was again overwhelmed to see her limping to the finish line in the dying minutes of the race.

Some people are not only unmoved when seeing other people suffer; in fact they have no qualms in causing the suffering themselves! Money and power can be quite intoxicating; people can lose their moral compass and use the power to inflict harm upon others. The rest of us can only watch in awe and disbelief. They are people who look educated, respectable and even being role models to others. But under the surface, they are very ugly and behave in the most shameful fashion.

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