Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heroes and Losers

Only if most of our politicians had the ability to reflect and put some of their pettiness into perspective. Amidst all the hooplah about who is mentri besar of Perak, the snipes and quibbling, the posturing and ego stroking, the self-promotion, and the rest, there are then stories of people such as N. Parameswari – that is, stories about the real heroes in our society.

Perhaps you read about her in the news. And if you didn’t, you really should. Now there’s a true hero. A woman, who literally has been in the depths of despair, anguish and hopelessness, has been caring for 13 young children and persevering when many of us could never survive even for half a day in her shoes. It is she and those like her who deserve medals and titles, deserve our commendation and public acknowledgement.

Imagine…as our politicians strut around proclaiming themselves as either Malaysia’s Obama, or likening themselves to Gandhi or Mandela, we instead are reminded – perhaps not so coincidentally – about N. Parameswari. Of course there are countless others like her out there. People on the brink of survival – whatever their creed, skin colour, religion or age. They persevere against unimaginable odds to do so much for the truly powerless and vulnerable – the children, while our politicians continue to try and score popularity points.

Yes, while Samy Vellu is preoccupied about who will succeed him in the MIC by becoming his deputy, and while he’s trying to impress us that the MIC is getting funds for temples, or civil service jobs for Indians, our real heroes like Parameswari and the many others like her toil and cope with that which matters the most. They are the ones who, despite all the obstacles our politicians put in their way, are truly making the world a little better by their humanity, by giving themselves and their lives to those who have nothing to give back but their love. They give for those who truly need – not to expect, in return, votes, fame, or the approval of the public. No, they just give - to the extent that is humanly possible, because it is the right thing to do.

And if along the way, they have been neglected and abused by the system, it is even a greater testament to their heroism that they prevail. And maybe if along the way, we find ourselves with the opportunity to be able to lend her a hand, we should only consider ourselves blessed that our path has crossed with hers.

Maybe Gandhi and Mandela were special human beings and heroes to many. Maybe they also had in them some of the decent qualities one finds in women like Parameswari.

One thing is for sure….many of our politicians could learn a lot about what serving others means from individuals like Parameswari.

G. Krishnan