At a time of global crisis, my heart is broken.[…]
… I stood there at the edge, skeleton still and muscles taut, as my
heart broke further with each wave of things happening.
A seedling of democracy that germinated after decades of organising and
stubborn refusal to simply go away, died from root rot. In the space of
days, we saw greed pop up like mushrooms, reminding us of their ever
present spores that can’t be seen but are fecund in anticipation of
corruption. New faces that look like family ghosts began to parade their
faeces everywhere. Shape shifting between the transparent sheath for the
legendary keris, the abang manja, the stern ustazah, the reasonably
subservient cina india dll, the happily courted borneo overlord. And so on.
Self-appointed gardeners sit flabbergasted in whatsapp groups,
stuttering expertise in constitutional law while exposing our soiled
pants for different degrees of complicity. From distancing so we can
rest, to overindulgence from proximity with new-found power. The few
free radicals who could still summon the freshness of rage were quickly
hauled into the blue and white buildings for daring to throw anger
against the curtain in this shitshow.
Sitting there on the sidewalk in solidarity, under the shifting heat of
the sun as it travelled through the day, I can hear the sound of hearts
breaking everywhere. And I felt the tightness of company as we are
pulled together by the tides of grief. My own deep pool hidden in the
shade of this larger, more morally – or at least politically – sounder
And as this was all happening, the eddying small fears of a virus that
travels with the speed of globalised human desires bloomed like weed
flowers everywhere, rippling larger every day. Leaving exposed to
brightening light existing cracks in the systems that we all took part
in making, tolerating, or resisting, far too lightly. My imagination is
too timid to travel the path to its logical conclusion right now. It
already looks terrifying.
My worry travels halfway across the world, across 13 hours of man-made
time zones, growing in scale with each hop that by the time it got there
and back to me it looks like Miyazaki’s engorged hungry ghost in
Spirited Away. Grotesque, all-consuming, and ever expanding with the
hazy edge of anxiety for the safety of everyone whom I loved at
different points on this earth. It gouges a growing hole inside my body.
I learn to sit to summon space and calm. But everyday I fight myself to
conjure up magic for metta strong enough to travel the distance. For
anchoring kindness to seep into how I am reading reality, everyday. And
to silence the heat of shame that tells me my small broken love has no
space in the face of this overwhelming event that is happening all over
But I only have one heart, which enlivens this one body, and
reverberates in this one spirit. And it is holding it all at the same
time. And everyday when I weep, I am unsure which one of these tragedies
I am weeping for. What healing I am after.
So instead, I try to write a list of gratitudes everyday. Because that’s
about as concrete and as hopeful as I can muster.