Friday, March 17, 2006

The many faces of suffering

Trip to Linggi yesterday was not that bad as I expected, driving alone for more than three hours along plantation area with too many cows crossing. Life in kampung are much more peaceful compared to us in conrete jungle, even though their house looks like falling apart, but still they could give us a smile from their heart.

When we travel, we will always look for something different, something new or better than what we have now in our country. Sometimes the thing that we didn't expect to see is the best thing to remember and make us realise that we are lucky in some way. Until today, i could still recall all the places that I've been to, all the great building by the master architect and the wonder of the world, but the most memorable images is not the Eiffel or Taj, but the faces of the children and elderly who suffer in silent. The faces that you are not going to forget..forever.

I went to Tehran in May 2001 after almost 10 days touring around Europe, it was a humble beginning seeing everything in brown from the aircraft..mount and building looks almost similar. It was a spectacular landscape, Black hijab over a brown background. The ambience was totally different, great development, fast moving transit and suddenly everything change. No more blond in black leather jacket with Gucci bag walking confidently across the street, the sight has been replaced by Iranian women with black hijab. I don't really bother about the women, coz I can't see and interpret anything behind that hijab, but I was touch looking at little childrens who keep on following us, asking for money..We have the same situation here in Malaysia, but then seeing them in foriegn country gives a different impact and the men also have this kind of expression, a face which having a burden or something, I don't know how to describe, but next time on tv when you see Iranian President: Ahmedinijad, try to look carefully and you'll know what I mean, look at the eyes..deep inside. They have sufferred a lot, but yet there are among the strongest and humble compared to other Middle East country.

I thought I've seen it all in Iran, but when I was in Calcutta, India last year, I had the same experience but even worst that what we see in tv, its far from reality, India with high population can't afford to distribute prosperity and wealth to each state. The road is crowded by pedestrian not the vehicle, children were running around with no shoes, white shirt that has turn grey, smelly and some with flies on their face. Old woman with stick wandering asking for some rupee, woman with a baby on her arm..chanting..'Are baba, moina baba..' looking for attention and sympathy to feed the baby. Until today her voice is still in my memory, it's hard to let it go.

In Calcutta most women breast feed their children until the age of two, the don't mind about their skinny body with lack of vitamins and no proper medications, and they even seldom go for maternity check up. Women are to take care of the husband and children, no time for window shopping, each days are filled with house chore, pumping water from community tap, going up and down the house which shared by five family..some of them will bath in 'pukeri' aka big pond (air mati)which surrounded their villages, the source of this water is not from normal underground source but from rain algae is a common sight. But most of them hardly being infected by skin diseases, God give them something that we don't have.

The day I was leaving I thought that I'm not going to cry, maybe tough enough..but I was crying like a baby and hug them like we never gonna met again. I can't forget their sacrifice and I can't pay their good heart with anything except my pray..
Bod Babu face still coming, I hardly spoke to him..

To my hubby : If you read this, I just want you to know that I really love you and appreciate what we have and what we don't have yet..really treasure the moment spent in Calcutta meeting your fathers side for the first time and hope there will be next time for us..


Kak Teh said...

what a rich travelling experience you have - and certainly sufferings and destitution will remain for a long time in our mind. It also serves to remind us of the good things we have and to say Alhamdulillah. We tend to forget, kan? about yr memories of seberang perak..i have loads of memories of thsat place - lets share!
yes - my blog is still down.

Jiwa Rasa said...

Visiting these kind of places, will definitely make us more grateful and appreciative for what we have..

sue said...

kak teh + jiwa:
it was a great experience, i would recommend if anybody want to travel to india, take the train, mixed with th' people and open our mind, don't imagine about bollywood.
i thought that in malaysia we have many 'rakyat termiskin', but then seeing those people i think we are stlll lucky, at least we are in safe country.

thewailer said...

rich and insightful...I am bereaved with pity and compassion reading this.

sue said...

nothing could erase the memory..these people are stronger than us in many ways even though they are lacking in certain things.

Anak Merdeka said...

Lovely post, traveler! I wonder if I am strong enough to visit India...