Friday, June 20, 2008

What Goes Around Comes Around

From time to time, when I was out of the office on business, I do take some personal “Sue-time” for an hour or two whenever I have the chance. I don’t feel particularly guilty about it because I was already outside and it was only for a short time.

Yesterday, unlike the usually spontaneous decision to go AWOL, I actually planned one.

I went to a certain government office to meet a certain government official. As I was hoping, he was in a meeting and wouldn’t be available for another hour. Exactly as I planned it the night before, I immediately left to run a few personal errands on office time.

In my head I was thinking, if anybody asked, yes I did go to see him but he was in a meeting for the longest time and so we didn’t manage to meet up. There would be no lying through my teeth as that is the absolute truth.

So I left and headed to the highway. Unfortunately for me, I missed a turn and ended up on the wrong highway. Later, I got out at a certain exit which I thought would lead me back to where I wanted to go but instead I ended up in some housing estate with very little signboards and hundreds of unbearably slow traffic lights.

At this point, I already realized that I was lost, but determined not to admit it, I didn’t bother to ask for direction and continued going around in circles. I managed later to get back onto that unfamiliar highway again and got off another exit only to have the same thing happening all over again at a different housing estate.

What the ….?

To cut a very long and boring story short, I was lost for about what seemed like eternity before I managed to wiggle my way out of the traffic jam that seemed to be everywhere, and back to familiar places. By then, it was almost 1 pm.

Suffice to say, I didn’t have time to run those errands, and only managed to grab a quick tapau lunch before headed straight to office, bummed out and so freakin' irritated.

Small matter actually, but it got me thinking.

This has happened a few times before. Whenever I’m up to mischief on a whim, I get away with it. But if I do plan it somehow, thereby having the bad intention, something will turn out wrong. In this case, my eyes were blurred. My mind was blurred. I got lost where I never thought I would. It cost me precious time, it cost me precious petrol, it cost me unnecessary toll.

I couldn’t help thinking that it is karma. I’m sure Sharon Stone would agree with me.

My own mother would agree with that too. The punishment was swift, she’d say.

To some people, including my mother, when bad things happen to bad people, then it must be ‘bala’ (punishment from God). If the same thing happens to good people, then it is a 'dugaan' (a test of one's faith).

The thing is, how do you decide which is bala and which is dugaan? Why, by judging who is good and who is bad, of course!

This is where I’m so bloody pissed off every single time-- because when someone pulled an Artful Dodger on me, when I got a flat tyre, when I lost all my money, when I got sick, all of those are deemed by my mother as bala.

Again, WHAT THE …?

There is a concept of “What goes around comes around” in Islam, and that the Quran has mentioned this in a few verses. But I doubt that God intended for people to use this concept to judge other people’s misfortune so swiftly.

Indeed, many people find it so easy to pass judgment on others and so readily label a tragedy as bala, thereby indirectly labeling the victims as bad people. The Acheh earthquake and the resulting tsunami, the flood in Johor, Hurricane Katrina in the States, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, those are just to name a few. In fact, a few miscalculated steps causing one to slip and fall on the sidewalk can also be a bala. Everything bad that happens, is considered bala. Until such things happen to themselves that is, then it’s dugaan.

When Sharon Stone said what she said about the earthquake in China and the Tibetan people, she said what a lot of people who are pro-Tibet were thinking but never said out loud because it is utterly ridiculous.

Of course, as much as I don’t agree with her, I actually applaud her for knowing what’s going on in this world, as opposed to Mariah Carey’s infamous blunder when asked what she thought of the (then) recent demise of the King of Jordan. “It is a great loss to the world of sports” or something like that was what she said, referring of course to Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, who actually is still alive and kicking till this very day!

Anyway, there were a lot of angry reactions from China and all over the world about what Sharon Stone said. She was eventually forced to apologize and I think the issue has since died. Whether or not it was bad karma we will never know. But she wasn’t the first person with such ideas and neither will she be the last.

‘What goes around comes around’ is a concept predominant in any society, traditional or modern. Heck, Justin Timberlake even sings about it! It is not a concept that will go away in the near future. It is also the concept behind the words "Padan muka!" that we use so often.

Personally, I do believe in fate and destiny and that there is such a thing as bala. But I don’t agree with us mere mortals to be in the position to judge what is bala and what is not, thereby judging who is bad and who is not. What happens, happens. Let’s just leave it at that and not judge one another.

Having said that, I know that as I am sitting here rubbing my sore neck which has been torturing me since Monday, I realize what my mother would say if I were to tell her about my stiff neck—it’s bala. No doubt. Although I have no idea what I did wrong this time, as in any other time.

And oh, I also note that the next time I want to skip work, I shouldn’t plan it. I’ll just be spontaneous. That way, without the mala fide or bad intention, hopefully, karma won't get to me :-)


pugly said...

If people do bad things or have bad 'niat' (intentions), karma will bite you in the ass, sooner or later. I'm a big believer of that. Just that in Islam, 'karma' is known as 'balasan Tuhan', & it's definite :-) The only question is whether you'll get it here in this life or the next.

Pasal your leher tu, best bet would be to go to some traditional Indian barber. Suruh dia pusing sikit. Fuh, legaaaa ... !

Manal said...

Why la tetiba teringat lagu " hukum karma" by wings aa?

Typhoon Sue said...

ye la. bala tu mmg ada, but who knows which is which?

Everytime something bad happen 2 me, my mom will definitely tie it up to something bad i recently did and say, "Kalau Tuhan nak tunjuk tu, sekelip mata aje dah kena...". Ciss! Sakit ati betul. How does she know that it's not a dugaan? I can be an angel sometimes y'know.... maybe God is testing my faith. Who knows?

It's not for us to judge. That's all I'm sayin'.

tak tau pon lagu tuh...nyanyi sat?