Show Me Your Bad Side

“Don’t show someone your good side to make them stay. Show them your bad side and see who stays.”

Evolution teaches us to show our good side, to win a mate. Living things through the passage of evolution acquire the innate response to show their good side in order to be successful in reproduction. Birds, primates, dogs and cats preen to groom themselves. Male koi fish display a more intense colour and smash their bodies against the female to force her eggs out. Some spiders glow in the dark when they are in a mating mood. Hummingbirds feverishly whip their iridescent tails to announce their readiness to reproduce. Have you ever seen the red-capped Manakin do the avian “moonwalk” to show his good side? But, I reckon no one struts his stuff better than the peacock with his amaaaaazing plumage. How do they survive in the wild with such self promotion? You’d think they would be grey as possible and hide away to avoid their predators.

Humans are no different. To impress and win a mate is also in our genetic code. First impressions count, sometimes vital, especially when there is no second chance. For a job interview, we pretty up ourselves, ensure better grooming, dress smartly, improve our posture even! And we pretty up our resume, of course.

But, urghhlings take that extra effort. To impress and win, anything and everything. Singaporeans call it “kiah-su”. So, we learn to exaggerate, distort the truth, hide the truth, lie. Show the good side, even if it is fake.

Over 3,000 years ago, we were taught to show our bad side, be truthful. The 4th Buddhist Precept teaches us to abstain from telling lies. Be truthful would mean showing our bad side also. A thousand years later, we were again reminded not to lie. The Torah tells us to distance ourselves from falsehood, no matter how bad our true side is. In the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not bear false witness forbids us to speak unjustly against someone, and also forbids us to lie and deceive others. Even if that means showing our bad side. Islam is no different. In the Quran, lying is the 17th Greater Sin. “Those who invent lies will not prosper.”

So, let me try and show you my true side. Even if it is bad. Will you still stay with me?

  1. I love freebies. Free meals are especially tasty. Free holidays are especially fun. But that means someone paid for it.
  2. I am a bin diver. Every weekend I behave like a vulture, circling the local greengrocer’s bins for free discarded fruits and veggies for my chooks. They love the 9-seed wholemeal bread especially.
  3. I love to sleep, in deep REM is when I come alive, in my dreams. There, I can even fly. There, I do not have a bad side. Perfect.
  4. I annoy many. I enjoy discussions that examine the truth. I would rather persist even if it requires an exhaustive debate. I like the truth to be outed, and it can be the bad side that is revealed.
  5. I am born a gambler. During my early teens, I would hang around my father’s laundry shop and wait for his workers to finish their afternoon shift. Every gambling session would last for about an hour. Each player is given three cards, whoever ends up with the highest number by adding all three cards win. I was a frequent winner, somehow I did not have any guilt in taking their hard earned money. My early gambling days make me avoid gambling houses, pubs with pokies and casinos, I know they are stacked with better odds.
  6. It’s gone quiet……. Are you still there?

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