Friday, 11 February 2011

"Kail Berduri, Disalut Umpan"

Inikah dia lakunan hidup
Di pentas dunia insan berpura
Tipu dan daya pencapai maksud
Budi dan harta merangkum noda
                           Rosli  Hj.  Ahmad

My earlier  posting His Mentor's Voice , was a call for respect of  diversity.  It generated an interesting  mix of light and heat on my Comments page.  I try to give all-comers the oxygen of publicity but more and more it descended into a mire of trading (some) facts and (many) opinions and of self-indulgent nit-picking.  It also attracted some who are hooked on polemics - and  who love the sound of their own words.

It's time for a parable which people can deal with as they like.   But remember, please, it's just a fable.   If you don't like it, ignore it.

                        THE  LITTLE  GLASS   HOUSE

Once upon a time, in the middle of a big forest, there lived a gardener who believed he was an avatar. The forest did not please him: it was vast, unruly, impossible to manage.  Wanting something more to his liking, the gardener built a glass house, and fashioned his very own miniature garden.  It was the tidiest, brightest, and most colourful of gardens; there were no weeds and no pests, the grass never needed cutting, and year after year the flowers were beautiful and the fruit and vegetables grew big and in perfect shape.

The gardener, being a perfectionist, kept a tight watch on his product.  With great care, he calculated the formulae for success and made sure that the chemistry and the physics were right.  He gave his plants all they needed for growth - the right temperature and humidity, light and shade, water and minerals.  The discipline was complete, in a veritable factory of plants, row after row, tier after tier, weedless, bugless, properly fed.  His plants responded and thrived.

Every day, through the walls of his glass house, he would look out at the surrounding forest and he would shake his fist in fierce triumph: he had humbled the forest; he had created a little patch of paradise in his own image; he had proven his prowess and powers.

The gardener, being mortal , grew old.  More and more, he relied on his younger assistants to keep up the routine of cultivation, while he pottered about amongst his plants checking their specifications - making sure that the flowers, the fruit, and the vegetables were correct in their proportions and maintained in the proper manner.  And, now and then, he would shake his fist at the world outside.

But as he aged, the gardener grew edgy .  Things began to happen that were beyond his control.  First, it was the glass: an earthquake cracked some panes, and in the time it took to get them replaced the temperature changed and a few plants withered and died. Then it was the supply of chemicals: the company which the gardener had so long relied  on went bankrupt, and for weeks  the garden was put on short ration.  The result was disastrous: the plants had thrived on exact  proportions of chemical fertilizer, chemical herbicide, chemical fungicide and chemical pesticide. In the absence of these, half the plants died, and the rest became seriously sick.  The gardener was distraught.

And then the water supply was cut.  From the start, the gardener had piped in water from the forest.  Year after year, as he filled his glasshouse with more and bigger and better plants, he increased his demand and the forest obliged.  Suddenly, the supply fell to a trickle.  And the gardener, in an apoplexy of despair, could only shake his fist at the forest as his heaven shrivelled before his eyes.

The gardener, driven mad, faded quickly away.  His assistants, learning humility scaled down their ambition and their appetite, while some melted away into the surrounding forest.  The forest continued to survive, as it always had.  Its inhabitants, people of modest dreams and mild disposition, had managed themselves well.  And they had indulged the small  mad gardener on the edge of their consciousness.  Day after day, they had watched him stand in his little glass house and shake his fist at the rest of the world - at the world that made his wild dreams possible and his humbling end inevitable.  And they had shrugged their shoulders when he, or his acolytes (of which some were residing in the forest) had stood at the doorway of their tiny construction and shouted at whoever would listen :

                         "Be like us - or be doomed!" 

The Moral of the Story :  You can do a lot under laboratory conditions.  But most of us, thank God, don't live in laboratories.


maae said...

Salam kak,

1.Nice story.

2.Not being mortal,but he thinks that he will live forever...betul kak?

3.Just e-mail this story to him,ok?

...mati dah gerenti jadi hantu yang menakutkan...atau yang tinggal sudah tentu berparti siang malam...

Hope i'm right about the synopsis

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahahahah....i love it... Excellent ! Excellent !


Aishah said...

Perfect synonym of gardener and mentor. I was an admirer of the glass house, I felt there was so much to learn and copy from, but you just made me realise that it was not a house but a laboratory. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Salam Kak,
Been following your blog for quite a while... cool & inspiring... u r one brave lady indeed! Great parable! One day LKY will also "go" and his dynasty might last for another generation or so, and irrespective of whether his "glass garden" will last or not, who cares? We "people" of the "forest" (read Nusantara) will go on living... after all hidup ni sementara saja, bukan boleh bawak masuk kubur! Take care & salam.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you maae,

This is just a fable to be freely interpreted by anyone - of anyone.

Also this story is available for all to read - whether they are visible or invisible.

anak si-hamid said...

My apologies to Jon Tham for 'losing' his comment as a result of clumsy fingers.

I'm re-writing verbatim his comment from a copy.

"Interesting story. And in the forest, the birds of the air were pitted against the beasts of the ground by the snakes who sold the trees and fruits of the forest to men in big orange machines. The men paid the snakes well, and the snakes filled their coffers aplenty. And soon, the unthinkable happened ... there were no trees left. The forest had become a moonscape of reddish soil, torn earth, and choked rivers that would not support life. The men driving the big orange machines went elsewhere. The snakes were nowhere to be seen, they had slithered away. As for the beasts of the ground and birds of the air, they wondered if they had been played for fools. Take it from me. An inhabitant of the forest."

By Jon Tham on "Kail Berduri, Disalut Umpan" at 6.06 PM

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Jon Tham for your interesting story.

We must grieve for the oppression of the 'birds in the air' and the 'beasts of the ground' at the hands of the merchant-carpetbaggers and the turncoat-desperados........


.....the grass and the weeds and the bugs and the pests in the little glass house.

Take it from me: the pest that escaped from the glass laboratory.

Kg Morten said...

Hi Kak Ash,

I love your parable and 'sharp tongue'.

To Jon Tham I believe the 'sharp tongue' answers you well.

*Smiling while typing this, and thinking "I'm a product of Malacca High School. Kudos to my English teachers, like you."

melayudilondon said...

an amazing parable, fit for the textbooks!

should you venture south of leicester, please get in touch via Kak Teh. I would love to dish out a Singapore spread of mee siam and roti john for you. Sup tulang/Bone Steak ala Beach Road if the weather is right :)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Excellent spot on parody. Makes me want to make a movie out of this..hahaha...more please

Wan Sharif said...

As always.. excellent!!

anak si-hamid said...


Thank you. So happy you enjoyed it.

anak si-hamid said...

Salam Aishah - and thank you,

It's unfortunate to have to connect gardeners to mentors because most gardeners respect God's gifts of varieties.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Anon Feb 12, 3.13 am.

However, we 'people of the forest' do have to clean up our act - to set good examples to the young.

We are of the forest, not from the desert sands or Disneyland and Harrods.

anak si-hamid said...

Kg Morten,

That you get pleasure from my 'sharp tongue' indicates another tough cookie.

Thank you for thinking of your teachers.

Keep your ears to the ground, always.

anak si-hamid said...


I have to say it again - you are a minx.

Mee siam (yes, please). Roti john (yeah, says the spouse). Sup tulang and Bone steak ala Beach Road - you are too much.

Insyaallah we shall try when the weather warms up a little.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Anon Feb 13 7.43 am,

A movie? Can you get Madonna to play the weed?

anak si-hamid said...

Wan Sharif,

Thank you for the support.

Baiti said...

Superb! For leaders who think that they can control their 'eco-system' against the ravages of their natural surroundings.

koolmokcikZ said...


Anonymous said...

"It's unfortunate to have to connect gardeners to mentors because most gardeners respect God's gifts of varieties."

hahahahahaha...there you go again ! Is there anything that can stop you ? I know babbling words from some pretentious mouths who gound all this 'melucukan', couldn't !!!!


anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Baiti,

We all have become quite arrogant about our ability to control nature and our fellow-men.

anak si-hamid said...


Thank you. Another of my favourite fable is Little Red Riding Hood.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you manamanu,

There's nothing more embarassing than to be seen laughing when others in the audience are not.