December 25, 2008
"A specialist heart hospital with a conscience, a bicycle with freedom to ride, proper sex education and a Lancer Evo ... er ... for dad".
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, little boy. What is your name?”
“Err ... are you sure you should be here on my knee with a name like that?”
“Don’t care; paid money to the mall, I want my presents.”
“Er ... okay … how old are you, little boy?”
“I am fort … four-and-a-half.”
“You seem mighty tall for a four-and-a-half-year-old.”
“Yes, my mother says I have big bones.”
“Right. And that moustache is the result of …?”
“Hormones in my milk.”
“If you say so … well then, have you been a good boy this year?”
“Yes. Give me my presents.”
“Ho! Ho! Ho! You are an impatient one. Well then, what would you like for Christmas? A shaving kit?”
“Ha! Ha! Ha! I paid my money so I can ask for presents, not some wisecracks.”
“Ooohhh. That’s not very nice, is it, little boy? But never mind … what would you like?”
“Well, for starters, I want to be able to grow up and know that if ever I had a heart attack, I could go to a specialist government hospital where part of the bill is covered by my tax money.
“I want to know that it is not only the rich who can afford top-notch medical care. It would be good that public money will be used for an institution that does research into heart care, and that the people of this country can have access to that heart care if they need it.
“I don’t want some money-hungry private corporation to control this institution. Medical treatment is a human right, not a privilege of the rich.”
“Are you sure you don’t want a bicycle?”
“Oh yes, I would like a bicycle. And I would like the freedom to ride that bicycle wherever I want. And if I want to wear a special T-shirt with a group of friends and ride from state to state making demands that the poor of this nation need to be cared for, then I should be allowed to do that, too.
“That’s correct, Santa. No police roadblock, no harassment, no arson attack. And most definitely no cry that the youth of this country can have no say in what they think is right. Just because a person is young does not mean he does not have the right to express himself.”
“But, little boy, you are going to turn the youth of the country into rebels!”
“Listen, you old elf, I think you’ve been listening to that cop from Selangor. Let me tell you something. It is miles better having a youthful population that cares for something other than making a few bucks so they can modify their little kap cai bikes and go racing along Jalan TAR every Friday night.
“Maybe, just maybe, the future of this country depends on young people developing a social conscience and the courage to express it.
“Maybe, just maybe, we could do well to have a nation of caring thinkers instead of a nation of obedient sheep. Have you thought of that, tubby? Huh? Huh?”
“Okay, little boy. I think that’s enough from you now. Off you go.”
“Oh no, I have more.”
“Oh, dear Lord, give me strength. All right, just one more.”
“I want an intelligent policy on HIV testing; a voluntary one that includes counselling and education.
“Not some forced programme where a bureaucrat hands you a piece of paper over a counter and says, ‘Here is your result. You are HIV positive. Better don’t get married’.
“I want proper sex education in schools where all issues are dealt with. Pregnancy, STD, preventive measures, all that kind of stuff.”
“Little boy, all the schoolchildren will be romping behind the bike sheds if we do that!”
“What makes you think they are not as it is? Look, if you want to put in a moral or religious component in the course, by all means do it.
“Remind them of all that ‘not before there’s a ring on your finger’ stuff. No harm if you do. But if you don’t have proper lessons, then those who will, will do so dangerously.”
“Oh, very well. Can you go now please, little boy. I can’t feel my legs.”
“Okay. Oh, one more thing ...”
“Can I have a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. It’s ... er ... for my dad. Merry Christmas, Santa!”