Sunday January 27, 2013
The lighter side of life
By Soo Ewe Jin
We should learn to laugh more, and more importantly, at ourselves, because laughter is the best medicine.
MALAYSIANS are very creative. And they have a great sense of humour. There is not a single current issue that has not resulted in a joke, a cartoon, a short video clip, or an advertising tagline, that has spread far and wide.
I recently bought The Downfall, a German movie which provides a gripping insight into the madness and desperation of infamous Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the final hours of the war as the Russian Army closes a ring around Berlin.
It was out of this movie that a short portion has been so creatively used by many people around the world to make a spoof on just about any current issue you can think of.
I think it is good that we learn to laugh more, and more importantly, to laugh at ourselves.
I have been through some traumatic medical journeys myself and I find that laughter is indeed good for the soul.
A merry heart, as one proverb goes, is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
I recall the first cancer journey I went through back in 1999 and most of my relatives and friends, from near and far, had rather grim looks on their faces when they came to visit.
So I would always say, “Hey, why so serious? You look like the Grim Reaper. I am not going to die yet lah,” and proceeded to share a joke with them, especially about politicians, that was guaranteed to make them laugh.
A dear person in my life is now in a nursing home because of a stroke. She has always been a gregarious and talkative person and the loss of speech totally changes her character.
I sit by her bedside, expecting her instructions, her words of wisdom and her reminders, but there is none.
But in the silence, I hear her loud and clear. There are many moments to cherish. Some of them bring a smile to my face. Some invariably make me shed a tear or two.
I am glad I have such a treasure trove of memories to draw from, even if the situation looks so bleak and hopeless at times. It is a powerful reminder of what human interaction is all about.
And it is not just about loved ones bonded by family ties.
I bet you that when a real friend catches up with you, even if you had not met for years, there will be countless stories that you can share from your naughty schooldays and growing-up years.
These are the stories that are far superior to those that you have to share when you sit down for a meal with business associates or corporate contacts.
Yes, you may laugh uproariously when one CEO shares the latest joke about a politician, but it is not the same as the simple story you get to share with your former teacher from 30 years ago now that the threads of friendship are interwoven into both your memories.
For it is in such sharing that the laughter, and the tears, are real. And blessed are those who have plenty of the real thing.
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (email@example.com) salutes his neighbourhood hardware shopowner for creatively using the “Listen, Listen, Listen” tagline to draw customers to his shop.