Farewell Darkness and Hello Light

Claudia gave me this ………..um…….way back at the beginning of March but I am only now acknowledging it. What’s my excuse? Well, there was this bear, see…….and you can read all about it here. Anyway, thanks very much Claudia, it is much appreciated.

“Friendship is a light in the darkness”. I can really relate. I had a very serious bout with depression when I was at University and I remember how very suffocating it was. The world was all darkness, stifling darkness that you feel you would faint because there was no air. Then once, when it seemed that the darkness would stretch on forever, I asked a friend to just be with me for a weekend. No counseling, no analysis, no “why are you crying”, no questions. Just tea and company. No judgment, only acceptance and friendship. Just a weekend but it meant the world to me. It was a sliver of light in my prison. It gave me back the sky. I could breathe and I could sleep. By that light, I climbed out of my pit. (for more details, here)

Wow. I hadn’t meant to go that dark but every time I re-visit that episode of my life, its dark depths still is able to pull at me. But for now, let’s stay out of the dark side. The point that was being made is that friendship is like alight in the darkness.

All this reminds me of a scene from the movie called “Farewell to the King” which also happens to be in my opinion one of the best movies ever filmed in Malaysia. Set in the dark days of World War Two and in the deep jungles of Borneo, it traces the story of an American deserter who somehow wins the trust of the native tribes in the jungle interior and becomes their “king”. In this capacity, he tries to keep the war outside from reaching his people.

The scene I refer to comes towards the end of the movie when one of the protagonists, a British Officer, visits a captured Japanese Colonel. The Colonel had done everything to try to avoid defeat. He had been ruthless and took no prisoners. Later, cut-off and surrounded by enemy troops, he continued to lead his men to carry out attacks. When they ran out of food, they descended into madness and began to eat the flesh of their victims to keep going. However, as they continued to wander under the dark forest canopy, the noose grew tighter and in their desperation, so did their depravity.

Eventually, most were slaughtered in an ambush and now the Colonel was in custody and soon to be executed for his war crimes. The Colonel was all cleaned up and seemed to have recovered some of his former dignity. Even though he knew he was to be executed soon, he reached out and shook the British Officer’s hand. It was this officer who had captured him. As he shook his hand he said, “Thank you for showing me the sky again”.

At least, that is what I re-collect. We all need to see the sky. May we all always have someone to show us the sky.


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