Monday, December 15, 2003

I wrote this article on what I felt on abandoned babies once a long while ago.
Take a look at it. My thoughts and feelings are in there. Though not the usual type of essay for JC students, I think it may be worth reading if you wish. I stumbled upon it while looking through my files for stuff. =p

Rachel Teo Shi Hui
Register No.:03S21/12
Subject Tutorial Group: S6G
National Junior College

The Dark Side of the Moon

The moon still reigned victorious as I slugged out of my HDB* apartment. A quick hug and a soft pat on my shoulder was all I got from my father.

As I treaded across the untidy, ‘crowded’ corridor to the lift landing, I slipped on some leftover tidbit packaging and fell headlong down the aisle, breaking the silence of the dawn.

My heavy school bag spilled its contents and littered the already grimy floor. Cursing, I picked up my books and stuffed them into my ‘unfaithful’ school bag.

When I stood up, I glanced up to the dull, dark and black sky. The only object that seemed to attract me was the bright and rather mesmerizing Moon. It seemed as if it were hypnotizing me. A sudden sense of tranquility enveloped me and compelled me to stay stationary. It threatened to wind me into a thick cocoon and never let me go.

After a few seconds, the sense of calm I had felt abruptly ran away and with a funny spring in my steps, I made my way towards the lift landing.

Amidst the graffiti that were on the walls of the lift, I silently thanked the Moon for enabling me to experience, what I felt, the serenity of my somewhat young life. It had been an exhilarating moment for me and I had felt as if I were on-top-of-the-World.

As I stepped out of the lift, a slight breeze ruffled my pinafore. Along with it came the ‘smell’ of the morning. It smelt peculiarly fresh.

I could sense a difference.

At the corner of my eye, just beside a rubbish bin, I saw a large cardboard box. There seemed to be nothing unusual about it, except that I had noticed that it had moved slightly.

Curiousity coerced me to take a peek into the box.

I walked towards it.

It opened its eyes and peered cautiously at me. It then started to wriggle and cry. The stench from the nearby waste disposal area was slowly but surely suffocating me. Yet as I peered again into the moving cardboard box, it suddenly dawned on me that the “little wriggling it” was actually a howling baby.

This sudden realization stunned me.

My heart literally stopped beating for a second.

My mind drew a blank as I glanced again and yet again at the little round, small and pink face, with its cute, chubby and ‘pinchable’ cheeks. I did not know what to do. A sudden force ‘pushed’ my now sweaty palms into the tiny ‘wriggling’ box. As my fingers swept across the small, round and flushed face, it stopped howling and started to let out tiny whimpers.

“Ode to joy!” I thought. It had finally stopped wailing.

I ‘pulled’ out my hands and wondered what I was going to do next. I mused over it for a long time. It was only five in the morning and there was no one whom I could halt to ask for help.

“Should I just leave it here or bring it to some safe haven?”

I was playing mind games with myself. After all, I still had to go to school. I could not be late another time. The sight of Mrs. Wong, my school’s Discipline Mistress was enough to distress me.

“Enough of this nonsense,” I thought. “Just leave it here, someone else will find it.” I muttered under my breath.

I stood up and turned away. Just then, the resounding cries of the little infant came flooding into my ears. I halted and listened to it.

“How irritating it is,” I muttered. “And yet how sad it is.” As I slowly ‘sucked’ in the ‘marvellous’ music, I turned back.

“Oh alright, I will bring you somewhere. Now stop the ruckus! Can’t you see that I am back here again?” I talked to the baby. As I scooped it up and held it in my arms, the sudden feeling that I was holding something so ‘alive’ frightened me. I was scared and yet I continued on the tiring journey.

The infant was wrapped up in a white towel and it smelt strongly of the kind of powder my mother used to sprinkle on me. The smell reminded me so ‘strongly’ of her. Looking at the infant, I suddenly felt nostalgic. Images of my mother cradling my younger sister ‘flew’ into my mind.

Again, as I glanced at the little wriggly white bundle, I thought angrily about how anyone could throw away their own flesh and blood.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Don’t they ever miss her at all?”

My pace quickened as I saw the old Indian Newspaper Lady enter the lift of my HDB* block. She turned around and saw me. She gave me a quick smile and a tiny wave despite the heavy load she had to withstand in order to earn her living.

As I offered her a rather weak smile that somehow characterized my emotions for that moment, something crossed my mind. “She would never ever leave her baby.”

The velocity of the movement of vehicles on the adjacent Kranji Expressway started to accelerate. As its level of activity zoomed higher and higher, so did the movement of my legs and so did the movement of the infant I was carrying. It had started to coo and whimper.

My forehead was soon covered in immense amounts of perspiration. My wrist started to ache and my pinafore looked as if it had just been washed. I felt as if I was carrying a tonne. The rate of my heart beat also seemed as if it was accelerating.

Never in my young life have I felt anything like that before. What I felt then could not have been expressed in words. Somehow or rather, I managed to lug the infant and my heavy schoolbag to the police station.

When I arrived at the neighbourhood police station, it was already forty-five minutes past five. The policeman on duty, Sergeant HM Tan stared at me as if I was some horrendous creature. It was probably the weight of the bundle that I had painstakingly held and also the weight of my heavily loaded school bag that caused me to look so appalling. Flustered as I was, I gave my statement and my particulars as I handed over the little wriggling bundle.

Just then, I felt a strong sense of achievement. The bundle had been a heavyweight, but somehow or rather, I had managed to perhaps, save the infant’s life.

However, with this sense of achievement came a nagging sense of heartache.

As I walked out of the police station, my heart felt heavier. The smell of the powder that was on the baby had lingered and clung onto me as if it would never go away.

An image of my mother ‘flew’ into my mind. At that very moment, I thought of myself as that little abandoned infant. I felt a strong bond with her. Just almost like that little baby, I had lost my mother due to unforeseen circumstances. It was an accident that had taken my mother away from me. However, it seemed as if it had been just an irresponsible action that had caused the little infant to be separated from her mother. My heart went out to her.

As tears welled up in my eyes, my pace slowed down.

“Who cares about Mrs. Wong now,” I stuttered.

The road to school seemed longer than usual that day. Perhaps it was the ‘weight’ of what I had just encountered that forced me to retard.

The happenings of the early morning had somehow allowed me to see a horrendous side of human nature.

The tranquility the moon had ‘brought’ to me when I had just stepped out of my flat seemed to be gradually transforming into turmoil.

With my emotions ‘running’ higher and higher, I could not suppress myself. I let out a huge sob.

Once again, my heart heavy with sorrow, I looked up to observe the moon.

The gradual ‘thinning’ of the black early morning sky had cast a shadow upon the disappearing moon.
As I pondered on the events of the morning, I was conscious that I had finally encountered the ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’

Life to me will never ever be the same.

The lesson that I have learnt from this experience and the experience of losing my mother has allowed me to grow and learn that we have to take things in life seriously and never ever regard life as a toy.

‘An irresponsible person is one who never thinks before he acts while a responsible person is one who always thinks before he acts.’

I hope that the irresponsible parents/parent who left their/her child in the large, brown cardboard box would remember their/her mistake and learn from it.

It is through acts of irresponsible nature that any life can be forsaken.

We, as people of the new generation, should indeed learn how to learn and learn how to live as people who understand the fundamental wants and needs of the human heart.
(1521 words)

*HDB: Housing Development Board


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