Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tenacity of the Red Ants

Went to a large family gathering the other day. Almost all of mum's siblings' children were present, and cooped in an apartment unit somewhere in Wangsa Baiduri. I used the word cooped, as that is what I think living in a high rise is all about. Once one gets back from wherever and closes the door, one is cooped in that luxurious pigeon's home. Can't help it but that's the way I feel about high rise living. To me, a home should be a house where one can step out and mingle with the neighbours or just staring silly at the sky above. Off course, with the feet firmly on the ground.

But living in a landed property, does have its drawback. For one, there's the garden that needs tending to. Have to admit though, I am not into gardening but mum is. While she has green fingers, mine is butter. Oops!

However, I do help around. My part is, I'm happy to say, to water the plants day in and out. While at it, I am also to hose the floor of the car porch, to water away dust and minute particles. This morning was no different. Except, I took extra notice of the red ants that ply the same route daily, even after I hose them.

Ants are wonder creatures actually. Whether red or black (are there any other colours?), they have survived the cruelest of extermination methods - whether man-made or natural - throughout the millennia of time. Like all other creatures of God, we muslims should not harm them unless they endanger us (like this morning when one tiny red bit my toe). In fact, instead of spraying them with Shelltox or what not, we should just water them away. Spraying, asphyxiates while the latter provides them with a chance for survival. I believe there's a hadith about watering ants away, but cannot exactly recall it now.

Anyway, looking at the ants will to survive, I wonder if human - given the same environment - can? Perhaps we can. This goes especially to people who survive on day to day basis; like the traders I mentioned in my previous posting, they've been plying their trade day in and out for years not to get rich mind you, but just to survive the extra day that Allah s.w.t. has given them. But now, many of them lament the coming day when the stalls they've built with their bare hand will be demolished and the cramped stalls of the 'longhouse' unit they'll be forced to move into. Will their business survive the new environment with the same survival spirit they have now?

There is something I would like to draw your attention to: when names were submitted for balloting of the stalls, the traders were informed that the corner lot stalls have been taken up by the local government. To the traders, the corner lot would be akin to a small wadi in the huge expanse of a desert - a mini goldmine for the trickle of business that would flow in, in time. As such, many of them suspect a foul play here - one where an official of the local government is in cahoots with certain officials of a political party - to reserve the corner lots for themselves or their cronies. It makes me feel sick to the stomach! If I could, I would like to belch on their faces.

There is a trader, however, who will not be moving into the 'longhouse'. He is a member of an oppostion political party and for that reason alone, he is being penalised and now blacklisted. With 9 shoolgoing chilren to feed, he and his wife promised to stand defiant to the authorities and will continue with his business there. How he will stand up against the authorities, only Allah alone knows. But if we Malaysians allow such corruption and injustice at the lowest level to permeate the society again and again without even an utterence of opposition, then truly, we too are corrupted and cruel.

A single ant may be small and weak. But during adversity they might in numbers. Even then when in might, they bow to Allah. Can the same be said for Malaysians?

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