A young fourteen year old native boy is sitting outside the longhouse cross-legged on the bamboo ruai [ verandah ] with his grandfather. The afternoon sun after the rains was rising in temperature and the dogs lazing near by waiting to see was the old man going hunting, a way of life that had not changed much with the old man but for the grandson it was a different matter altogether. The missionaries had come and young minds are curious to hear new and far away stories of lands especially when they are promised a better 'after life' if the life they live now is kept to the rules of a book that was written in more years past then there are trees around the village.
The grandfather decided not to hunt that day because he could see that the boy was not his talkative self and had something on his mind, besides, yesterday's hunt brought a lot of meat into the village to be shared out. The dogs knew it was now getting late and there will be no hunt today started to move off towards the river. The old man was always telling the boy to speak his mind and not to carry the thought around like baggage for it will weigh him down both in body and mind. He was just about to ask the boy what it was that was on his mind when the boy saw the missionary coming towards them avoiding the puddles of rain water in such a way it gave one the impression that if he stepped into one he was going to burn like the flames of the hell he was always talking about. The boy stood up so quick that the grandfather thought the boy was going to run in the opposite direction but instead stood his ground. Before the missionary reached them the boy had already started to speak, the grandfather taken aback sat upright and listened ...
''Why missionary man you tell me about your God, before you came here grandfather told me the way of the spirit-of-the- forest but you tell me about this heaven and hell place that I cannot see, smell or walk into like the rain-forest ... and now ... I am afraid to move from this place, but when I only knew the spirit-of-the-forest my life was easy for me ... but now not so. I live in fear of this God you talk about.'' The old man looked at the missionary who looked away for he knew deep inside himself that the boy just might be right. For the man to impose his 'beliefs' on another should not be done without the permission of the other for there is too much to answer for now and in the future. The grandfather, lost for words and full of pride for the boy moved off towards the river to be with his hunting dogs.
The boy now left standing on the bamboo ruai and looking towards the river was more 'lost' then ever before. He never got his 'truthful' answer form the missionary who walked away stunned, no longer caring about the puddles of rain water and questioning his own 'beliefs' and his way of doing things of imposing his God on a culture to change their ways just by his words.
The moral of my story is ...
Before we act we should think about the result and consider that each and everyone is responsible for what they have done in life and for the people they have influenced .
The story have a good description of longhouse in which you could imagine it while reading.
The part where the boy speaks, i could imagine if it were in Iban language.
Post a Comment