Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Dashed Hope

I was having breakfast at a roadside stall in Batam, when the stall owner sat opposite of me.

Knowing I was from Singapore, she asked me to look out far a man whom I shall call Asim - I told her it will be an impossible search as she did not provide me further details of him.

She seemed surprised at the confident answer. Knowing Singapore is such a smaller island than Batam, I would have known everybody - but she did not know that every 4th person we meet in Singapore is likely to be a foreigner.

This Asim wooed her daughter.
He travelled all the way to her remote homeland, in Central Java, where the poor family stayed before their move to Batam, to ask the girl's hand for marriage.

After getting the mother's permission, he brought the girl to Singapore for the government's green light in marrying a foreign bride - she travelled alone with him.
She travelled out of the village for the first time.

The mother was elated with the proposal. Thinking the family would be out of poverty with the union, she started with preparation for a very big ceremony yet to be held. The neighbours shared the happiness. Almost all in the neighbourhood join in the preparation of the grand festivity.

After a few months, the girl came back alone - no more a jovial person. She passed her days crying over spilled milk.

Very soon, they uprooted to Batam to escape the neighbours and neighbourhood. The mother set up a food stall to earn a mearge living from hand to mouth.

The girl stayed with a Chinese family, non-Muslim, who will adopt the baby inside her. The girl has become a withdrawn person with no spoken words - not even to her mother or the caring Chinese family. She resigned to fate. She spent her days staring at the wall.

When I asked what the religion will the baby be, the mother replied what is religion to the baby when the baby's father had exploited the situation in the name of religion.

It is the Chinese family that cares the girl now and will take the responsibility in bringing up the baby. Where is Asim's responsibility in the name of religion if not in the name of family?

The conversation had left many questions in me. Should anybody take the blame, who will it be? The gullible Asim?
The hopeful mother?
Or the naive girl?

For now, in the name of humanity, it's the Chinese family who save the unborn baby from all these selfishness and irresponsible act.

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