Scene: Raju Restaurant, PJ.
Mohan: I think Malaysians should be born with only one eye instead of two.
Azman: Why do you say that?
Mohan: We don’t need two, what? Otherwise why are we always closing one eye?
Chong: Maybe as a result of all of us constantly keeping one eye closed, evolution will make our descendants born with one eye.
Mohan: One eyed-Malaysian race.
Chong: Cikgu, what do you call the one-eyed beings from the Greek mythology?
I remember the hero – Ulysses or something – blinding one of them.
Zain: Oh, you mean the race of giants called the Cyclops? They had only one eye in the middle of their foreheads. And not very clever.
Azman: So the Malaysians or Bangsa Malaysia are a race of Cyclops.
Zain: Watch that tongue of yours.
Mohan: But surely that cannot be true.
Chong: What cannot be true?
Mohan: That we are a nation of Cyclops.
Mohan: Cikgu, you said Cyclops are not very clever. But we are clever.
Chong: If we are clever we won’t habitually close one eye. Can’t see very properly, you know. We can be knocked down by a car or motorcycle. And, further, if we ask someone to close one eye we are not very clever too. It means we want that fellow to be knocked down by a car or lorry. Surely, we don’t want that? OK, what else?
Mohan: We are not giants and so we are not Cyclops.
Azman: Who says?
Zain: Yes, who says we are not giants? Some of us actually think we are. We think we are taller and bigger than others. And because of that nobody dares do anything to us. And through constantly thinking we are giants we act like giants.
Chong: And we do all sorts of things as we think we are giants. We have no more respect for the laws. Laws are for small people, the midgets.
Zain: We do shameful things but we are not ashamed anymore. As a result of doing so many shameful things over a long period we become inured or immune to feelings of shame.
Azman: Cyclops? Hmmm.
Mohan: Yes, Azman. It all must have started when we started closing one eye to small and inconsequential wrongs – small misdemeanors or wrong-doings of others. Usually small wrong-doings.
Azman: How ah?
Chong: It’s like this, Azman. Let’s say you submit a claim to the accounts department of your company that you have traveled 25km. And you want to be compensated for it. The accounts clerk calls you up and says that the distance is only 24km and asks you to submit a fresh claim. And you say: “Aiyah! One kilometre only. Not much different, ma. Close one eye lah.”
Now if the accounts clerk is your friend, he will smile at you and say, “OK lah.”
Azman: Ya lah. What’s the big fuss over one kilometre? Cikgu, don’t you think it saves a lot of trouble and time just to ignore that small mistake?
Both sides are happy and the happy relationship continues.
Zain: No. We must not allow that to happen, even if it is over a small matter. It is an important principle not to approve a wrong. A mistake is a mistake and must be corrected. No matter how small. If a boss allows the closing of one eye on a small wrong, soon he will soon allow the closing of one eye on bigger wrongs.
Chong: And soon there will be other bosses like him. And that’s how everyone is now closing one eye. So correct lah, we are a nation of Cyclops.
Zain: So it is not surprising lah if we have local government councillors building houses without proper building plans. What to fear. They are giants. Some bigger than the others. And all them are part of the authority that decides whether to take action or not. And the authority above them closes one eye. And the authority further high up says “just don’t do it again.” That’s it, just a slap on the wrist.
Mohan: Slap on the wrist siapa takut? And now the recalcitrants who you have complained against will turn around and thumb their noses at you. You are lucky that they do not decide to whack you or ask others to whack you. So who will complain in the future?
Zain: Exactly. And so no one will dare do their civic duty. No one will complain and everybody is happy closing one of their eyes. Cyclops.
Azman: Elsewhere, once a member of a local authority has been discovered to have contravened a local law, he would resign to save the authority from embarrassment.
Chong: Here he will have to be dragged away screaming and squealing all the way.
Zain: We certainly need a Ulysses.