This Jackie Chan’s 1970’s movie made quite an impact on me. I was a skinny lad with puny arms but in my dreams I was as lethal as him, possessing both his drunken master’s skills as well as his snake style technique.
But in The Book of Genesis, the snake was depicted as cruel, cunning and manipulative, damaging its reputation eternally. The eagle however remains dominant, purposeful and controls the skies. Those in my Whatsapp chat groups who display these majestic characteristics of dominance, super confidence and eagle-eyed scrutiny of our daily banter are the eagles. They patrol the noisy conversations as keenly as the eagle patrols the skies for prey.
Many in my chat groups are of similar age as me, ie sixty and beyond. At our age, should we censure those we disagree with? Should we censor our own honest thoughts and views? As long as we are respectful and do not engage in denigrating others that’s fine, right? Or should we be more humble and keep our thoughts and interests to ourselves, bury them in the snake pit? Why do we even think we have the entitlement to express our views or share our experiences? Does it mean we only talk about the weather? And only send good morning greetings and Thank God on Friday?
Not so long ago, someone reprimanded me for my regular postings of food photos. Regular but not frequent. Only food ordered on special occasions, and during holidays. Many of us are food fanatics, we even enjoy food safaris together. I was made to feel like a fool, wrongly thinking others would enjoy the food photos I share. The eagle took umbrage with my blogs and said I was inconsiderate. What’s the point of sharing photos that they can’t eat?
A few years earlier, I posted some photos of my rose garden, and my joy, the koi pond. A far-away eagle was quite brutal with its vicious attacks on my character. My intentions were openly questioned; they concluded I lack sensitivity for others less fortunate. This snake had nowhere to hide, and was vilified as a show-off.
Changi airport’s Jewel opened to the public a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was such an amazing spectacle and shared a video of the extravagant creation. Another eagle pounced on me, DO NOT send big files without checking with the recipients in the group first!
Yet another eagle got really upset with my simplistic portrayal of China in The Nanjing Judge. It tore me to shreds with its sharp talons. I was accused of being immoral for misleading other more ignorant people with my criticism of poor moral values of post communist China. That I should read more, a lot more before I make more noise.
And then there was the explosion followed by an implosion in another chat group. There was a convocation of eagles on patrol that morning. More a con, they made it their vocation to lecture all when the need was not there. They circled the skies furiously and hunted in unison for the unknown snake. They repeatedly dived from great heights to attack the snake and eventually bit its head off. The eagles screeched and beseeched all with the following announcement:
This is a chatgroup of all brothers of different cultures and background. We respect their race and religious beliefs and refrain from sensitive postings that can hurt the feelings of our brothers.
We are all courteous and respectful with one another, but what is a sensitive matter to one may be just fodder for intellectual discussion to another. How sensitive is dependent on the level of sensitivity of the party concerned. Amongst friends, ideally, everything in the sky and in the eagle’s shadow down below can be discussed on an intellectual basis, prodded, dissected, studied. But yet again, ideals will have to remain as ideals, those participants naive of the eagle’s sensitiveness were warned not to become the condemned snakes.
How do we know where the eagle is on the sensitivity dial? Can we ever know?
We can discuss anything, sensibly but maybe not sensitively since we don’t know how super sensitive some people can be.
A reminder for myself. Urghhling, self censor or be rebuked with a stern censure.