Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Survival of the Fittest

Some time ago Wong sent me this email:

Dear friends,

This is not junk mail. It's my personal reflections. Last night, I watched a documentary on BBC about the plight of Congolese children who are being accused of witchcraft called Kindoki. I felt really strongly and interested about it and forgive me for sounding preachy, but I would like to share my sentiments with all of you.

The history or what I know of it
Recently, in Congo, there is a sudden surge of Revivalist Churches in Kinshasa, capital of Congo. These revivalist churches preach christianity to the Congolese who originally had African tribal traditions and religions consisting of witchcraft and whatnots. I only caught the later bits of the documentary, but basically church workers started accusing young children of having kindoki (i think some form of devil or something).

The rampant abuse of children
Kids who were accused of kindoki had to receive "deliverance", if not they will not be cured. The result, parents started abandoning their very own kids accused of kindoki on the streets. As to the issue of deliverance, I watched some scenes of how rituals were conducted to give deliverance to kids who were 5-8 years old and believe me, it was very very brutal and scary: They rubbed chilli peppers in the eyes and body of the young child and pour salt water in their eyes. I even saw the so called "healer" who is a full bodied 40ish year old African man STOMPED on the body and the stomach of children aged 3-5, claiming that the evil spirit must be stomped.

The psychology of the abused children
What I found even more disturbing was that children were WILLING to be abused by the church workers in the name of Christ. I remember a scene where a little girl was chanting "i wanna be saved by jesus and the holy spirit" while having chilli peppers rubbed into her stomach violently. The children are led to believe they have stupid nonsense shit like kindoki and then how they are so WILLING to let such abuse to be carried out on them, so that they can be loved and accepted by their family and parents. Can u imagine little kids at the age of 3 or 5, putting themselves out like that so they can be accepted by their parents? They also fast their children for weeks, in order to purge the kindoki. Little kids, could be your niece and nephew, made to starve for weeks.

Then there was the story of this girl who was abandoned on the streets. Thing is mostly, it's the uncle or aunt of the family who accused the child of having kindoki, never the parents themselves. Her uncle accused her of having Kindoki and they put her over a fire and if she screamed, then it was verified that she indeed have kindoki. Most ridiculous thing I ever heard. If u put me over a fire, of course, i will scream. Then they proceeded to unleash child abuse on her and abandon her on the streets.

Thousands of young kids are abandoned on the streets because of accusations of Kindoki and I am not sure what I can do to help. But the least I can do is raise awareness of their plight in Congo. For me, I think such stupidity is unacceptable, and I have no idea how Christianity devolved to such forms. The documentary suggests that shutting down Revivalist Church might put a stop to such a massive scale of child abuse, but the thing is they keep springing up, especially in poor and undeveloped Congo.

Well, it's just some food for thought for me. And I think it's nice to share with my friends and if your interested, would be real nice, if you could read up and we can talk more about how to help the children. But do think about it. And thanks for giving 5 minutes of ur time to read me out.

Ee Kean.

My reply was this:

Natural selection at work, Eekean. Dumb parents give birth to kids... Their kids die when abandoned. Stops the dumbness from being passed down.

Imagine the willingly abused kid gets saved by you, and he grows up thinking he must also abuse his kid. How many generations of kids are you willing to save, and how much money must working, normal individuals give in taxes to save the dumb?

Innocent as the kids are, that's the way the world functions. It's sad, but true.

Because we can't all be clever.

I don't blame the religion in the least. It is the people who are stupid enough to believe it, and are even willing to hurt their own children for their stupid beliefs.


I don't know since when, but I certainly didn't consciously realise how my heart seemed to have hardened so much over recent years.

As a young teen of maybe 13, I would have been quite upset reading this mail, and perhaps attempt to save the poor children for maybe 2 days and give up, giving in to my world of pointy combs, dyed hair, and multiple boyfriends.

Wow, I remember I was so goddamn kindly when I was a kid!

I used to refuse to play the game leapfrog (where u jump over a person's back by pressing your two palms on it) coz I thought it would hurt my friends. Therefore I was constantly the person leaped over - which is, needless to say, rather not fun. I believe it might also add to my stunted growth.

But nowadays I see charity shows and only cringe a little at other people's misfortunes.

Instead of feeling so sorry for them and crying, which I used to, I would think in my heart, if you are kinda old, had an operation for 13 times, and lose two limbs and have nobody taking care of you (meaning nobody gets devastated when you die), why don't you end your life instead of living in misery?

I then get stunned at myself for thinking such a terrible thought, and mentally torment myself by solving cube root maths equations till I break out in sweat and think I have suffered enough.

I think this little change in my occurred one precious lesson in secondary school... I know I have related this story a gazillion times, but anyway, here it is again for those who haven't read it...

My class in 2A, River Valley's second year, had only like 9 boys, and in one particular lesson we were divided into groups, where in the class there was a group of only boys (like 4 of them - Joseph, Junhan, Jing Quan you were in it! I think).

We were all presented with a problem, and had to discuss within our groups how to solve it best. Well anyway, it was a stupid scenario, where a group of 6 or so people were trapped in some island, and there was only food for 4 people.

All the girls presented first, and naturally, being a nerdy school where everyone was kindly and good natured, all the girls suggested sharing the food and blah blah.. DOES NOT WORK! Already told you there is not enough food for all the people YOU COCKS!

In the girls' solution either everyone goes hungry, or the strongest man would have to sacrifice his food for the young or old. (Clever - when the strongest man dies, who goes hunting, the baby?)

When it came to the boys' turn to give their solution, they promptly announced, "We will dump the old woman behind."

The teacher, shocked (nerdy school, nerdy school, remember that, everyone in RV is nice), asked why they would do such a thing!

Joseph then smirked and said, "Because only the strongest survive, cher!" and the boys proceeded to whoop among themselves.

There you go, a perfect, realistic solution - because that's the way nature intended it to be.

That one sentence had such a strong effect on me, that from that moment onwards I never stopped thinking of that every time I see a sympathetic situation.

It is not that I don't feel empathy anymore of course, it is just that I tend to not dwell on human tragedy as much or as long, coz I have learned that that is the way of life.

[Digression! Speaking of situations where some people unknowingly do something to make you change your entire life, my Poly coursemate once, in a crowded train, said loudly to me, "Yan yan, your breath stinks!" in front of all my other friends. Since then, I developed a phobia for having stinky breath (and being told of it in front of everyone in a MRT train), and I thus now ALWAYS have sweets with me everywhere I go. If I am not armed with the sweets, I get very anxious and refuse to talk (much, coz I cannot don't talk, I'll die). Stinky breath eh? I'm the person with the nicest breath now!]

Yes. So back to Survival of the fittest.

[Another digression, wiki says that this phrase is a tautology. This means a statement which is true by its own definition - ie "fitness" is defined by survival so the phrase literally means Survival of the survivors. Interesting huh?! I wonder if the phrase "pointless tautology" is tautology too. You stupid buffoon.]

That day I was talking to Mike about socialism and medicine being socialised (when we are not telling each other how cute we are, we talk about difficult philosophical dilemmas).

My stand was that yes, it should be socialised (ie, available to all at no or low fee to the public, coz it is paid for by tax payers), because I was thinking in my mind, if one day my grandparents get ill (CHOY), god forbid I don't have enough money to cure them and they thus don't get saved.

And also, fuck those rich people if they get saved only coz they have filthy money. They don't deserve to live more than my nice gramps who love me a lot!!!!!!! ROAR!

On the other hand, I think of those dumbass teenage girls who attempt suicide so they can be special or can get attention or think they are vampires, and I feel like bashing socialism in its face and hope these people die coz they are wasting our doctors' time.

Of course, these teenage girls might be very rich so this has nothing to do with socialised medicine, but I am just saying.

So anyway, my somewhat rickety stand on socialised medicine is contradictory to my stand on Natural Selection, and I guess in that sense my stand on the latter is somewhat rickety too, coz only when it involves someone dear to me I turn tables and go all compassionate.

Becoming fucking confused.

Anyway, my point is that I'm an unsympathetic, mean, hard-hearted person now - unless I happen to know the sorry person involved.

Don't tell me to feel sorry for, ie, someone I don't know who killed himself by jumping into the MRT tracks to retrieve a shoe. I'd just say, oh, that's natural selection.

Kelvin, while on the causeway and looking at the thousands of blue collar workers edging their way back to JB on their motorbikes: "I feel sorry for them."

Me, "I don't."

Kelvin, "Cmon, not even in the least bit? Looking at them squeeze like that and breathing in all the smoke?!"

Me, "I don't know them, but I know that only with such people around (the lower caste) can we be living comfortably, coz not everyone can be rich."

(I then followed up by singing joyously with a song titled "Communists are pigs")