The Tale of the Rohingyar Boat People

I read the Robinson Crusoe authored by the late Daniel Defoe years ago; it journaled the life of a shipwrecked man stranded on an island with no inhabitants.  There he painstakingly learned how to kindle a fire, hunt for food, and make a house out of a cave, among other things.  He learned how to survive on his own, fighting his way through cannibals and captives and mutineers.  In the end, he was “found” after 28 long years, and brought back to the shores of England.

Now that is his story.

It’s a sad, sad, really sad world out there. Gloom is monopolizing its dirty little antics, shadowing all the horrifying terror. To hear of so much pain, so much suffering breathing humans are enduring day by day – it’s quite upsetting.  I opened up the newspapers today to find the first two pages complete with news about the incredibly devastating plight of a large group of Myanmar migrants stranded on a boat with absolutely no food and no water.  Oh god, how have they been able to survive so long onboard?  Ten of them have already died; the rest are starving to death with nothing appropriate for life.  Imagine having to rely solely on survival instincts when every other instinct has worn out itself.  This can become pressing, which I have no doubt already begun circling about among the migrants.

The Rohingyar migrants. (Image credits to BBC News)

The distraught, anguished faces of the children and men and women on the boat speak of their intolerable desperation. No place to go, no food, no water.  To think that these are the first of the basic psychological needs that must be inherently met. Without these basic building blocks, stress sets in, first mentally, and then physically.  Because things that used to fall within their internal locus of control starts to slip away from their grasp – fast.  Depression caves in. Worst still, when one sees their loved ones dying of ill health and whatever else.

I agree with Marina Mahathir that we need to head out to the Andaman seas and provide urgent aid.  Malaysia has more than enough resources to provide for the needy.  Furthermore, time is running out – it is already night and soon a new day will dawn.  Let there be no hate, no prejudice, no questioning as to who where, and how they belong.  They are simply humans like us.  Humans who have the right to live, and should be treated accordingly.

There lies a verse in the Scriptures: “Do unto thy neighbors as thy would do unto thyself.”  Probably putting ourselves in their shoes might help.  Being stuck in a floating boat is not the same as being stuck in a fertile island – this is real life, not a movie.  It is more of a matter of life and death.  It is not their fault that they chose to leave their land in the first place.  To have wanted to leave the country in hopes of a better future for one’s family, only to have them shattered because of ill-knowledge, is the most unfortunate thing that could happen to a perfectly okay human being.

I fear what will happen to the younger Myanmar generation.  I fear if the boat is left abandoned, and everyone onboard dies of sickness and hunger.  I fear also, if the ship is left abandoned, and the migrants find their way out to land – and tear upon every other person they see, because they have developed a resilience over torture and have turned their back against Mankind who failed to help them.  I fear for the plight of the migrants as they continue to live ahead with their lives, and yet because of the experience develop PTSD or any other form of psychological disease.  I fear also for the safety of everyone else, that they may become indirect victims of this traumatizing condition.

Because they are only human.

A silent prayer passes my lips for their rescue.

Alicia Ai Leng

Creative Commons License
The Tale of the Rohingyar Boat People by Alicia Ai Lengis licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Don’t lose faith

Once when things were not going too smoothly, I recalled a little yellow bookmark that someone passed me. It carried Steve Jobs’ quote:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

These very words that came from someone who had left a legacy of Apple and iPad products were undeniably comforting. It served as a powerful statement that etched a place for itself in my heart. Quite naturally.

Well, life hits you in the head with a brick every now and then. It may be difficult not to, but there is no losing what we have worked hard for.

Frankly speaking, all of us [humans of similar species] were bornt into this beautiful world. We may have been brought here black, white, yellow, blue, purple, or pale. You may have been brought here with your pinkie missing from your left hand. But rest assured: Regardless of who we are, we all possess the innate human instinct to want to drive our lives towards increased comfort. We have the innate desire to enjoy our short-term lives on Earth as much as possible. Just like everyone else in his right mind, we have an inner wish in our subconcious that is the same from one person to the next. Nothing alters this truth. We are Homo Sapiens.

More often than not there will be times when we are officially – or otherwise – legally – unemployed. There will be times when people look down at you, and perhaps try to hit you in your face for no apparent reason. Why? Because you are younger than them, smaller than them, darker than them, or even weaker than them. That is just what they think about you.Do they actually know you? Not at all.

They do not really understand who you are. Or, put it the other way round, they do not fully comprehend themselves. They literally threw a brick at your head [perhaps it could even be practically] because they do not find you worthy of their time.

However, you don’t lose faith. You can become as old as you want, as wise as you can , as big as you want to be. What matters is inside you – your heart. You have will as gentle as a dove and yet as ferocious as a lion.You have faith in yourself.

You are who you are. You have your rights to live with, and you cannot allow anyone to take that away. And you cannot simply lose faith in what you are, because if that happens, it means you are losing yourself. But that is not going to happen, is it?

The answer is quite simple: When something hits you in the head with a brick, you don’t lose faith. You just cling on to what matters in this world. You just reaffirm your beliefs and move on with life. Show that you are strong. Show that you are able like everyone else. Maybe even better, too. Only, don’t let go of the grip.

That is all. ♥