Learning from ‘Kubit Tiup’

Everyone loves a witch hunt as long as it’s someone else’s witch being hunted.

—  Walter Kirn, American novelist

It takes a pandemic like Covid-19 to realise that Malaysia is a country divided!

While the stay-at-home policy has been implemented to preserve lives, a year of separation and social distancing has taken its toll on many friendships.

It’s easy for the privileged with all the facilities and facets to lock themselves in for 24 hours a day, but what about the average man or the destitute?

The rich can tell us to lock ourselves in, order in your favourite food and learn to play the violin or piano.

But coming from Sarawak where the majority of rural folk or 80 percent of the people are poor longhouse natives in the interior, it sounds like a bad joke!

As one of the privileged members of the urban community, I’m quite happy to stay at home and order a pizza and fool around with my laptop and new smart phone.

Some of my FB friends wonder why I appear to be happy all the time — I tell them that doomsday is just around the corner.

Of course, I meant it tongue-in-cheek but you just have to hear or read from the daily Covid-19 reports on TV and the newspapers.

In fact, it’s been bad news since the beginning of the year!

Record-breaking number of daily Covid-19 cases and fatalities!

The question is, do we need to be constantly reminded of the obvious?

Since the first cases were reported in December 2019, there have been an estimated 173.4 cases and 3.7 million cases in 220 countries and territories.

Now the blame game! Did the virus jump from an animal to a man, were the Chinese to blame, was it the Americans who planted the disease in a Wuhan lab?

As the story goes it started with SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in the first half of 2003.

It spread into 28 other countries affecting 8,000 people and killing 774 people.

Called the “new age epidemic” novel coronavirus was even headlined in leading publications such as Newsweek!

But when it was over, we let our guard down and the same old routine continued.

Recently, I have started talking to canines, who appear to be smarter than humans.

My favourite dog mate is a half-blind Eurasian mongrel called “Patch” — who became totally deaf because of a botched operation to remove his left eye.

Even though he couldn’t respond to my complaints, he couldn’t care less if I was dead or alive!

To quote the sage “Tok Nan” who is blessed with common sense, we have ears, but we don’t hear, have eyes but we can’t see!

But even though Patch is unable to read or speak, I believe he can feel the anxiety because almost every day we hear bad news.

I’ve given up on human sense and now rely on dog sense. 

So, it was great news when I read that a dog can prolong life and that a human can live four years longer than the average man, if he owned a canine.

The latest is that dogs can sniff out Covid affected persons, which is great news, because no need to spend millions to test every passenger at the airports, which is the main source of imported Covid.

It is ironic when the TV announcer says: ‘Stay at home … we love you.”

I truly believe the government truly wants to save all of us if they could by using the “Kubit Tiup” strategy.

“Kubit Tiup” (pinch and blow) is the Sarawak method of punishing a recalcitrant offspring and then rewarding him with love after he repented.

Which brings me to the famous Christian verse where love is not a punitive word, but one of encouragement.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

“It does not insist on its own way; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

So, thank you for the blessings! 

Yes, love us, but please give us some space to breathe!

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.