There are 4 classes at my son’s school, 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-yr olds. They have their own class schedules, but sometimes they mingle together during outside play or on certain projects. I always see the 6-yr old as seniors, but over time I realize that these kids don’t really see seniority as we do. Regardless of age, these kids will approach my son, welcoming him to play when he arrives in the morning, even though my son is a bit of a shy person. There was one time during school trip, a 6-yr old girl came and sit next to him and said “Ashman, let’s play treasure hunt” even though I know for the fact that Ashman never talk directly to that the girl. There’s no such things like high school where you want to mingle only with the famous group.
At first I was surprised with this. But then after giving some thoughts I realised seniority/physical appearance/racism (dan yang sewaktu dengannya) only exist when we are adults. It makes me remember one of the ads by Yasmin Ahmad, where the lady asked “what is your friend race”, and a boy answered “race? race car.” But as adults, we see the person in front of us based on his physical appearance, race, religion, etc. It is very common to say things like “seksinya skirt dia” or “skemanya muka dia”.
Then before we even talk to him, we even think about the things we are going to say. Is it appropriate? Will it hurt his feeling? Will it embarrass me? We overthink. It gets complicated.
At some boarding school, juniors are even prohibited to talk to seniors of the opposite gender. We ourselves define the ‘difference’ in life. How do we evolve from being genuine and open minded to judgmental and prejudiced over time? As a parent I need to re-learn this art from my son. In addition, I need to be careful in my words to him so he don’t become one of us. Avoid saying things like “is your friend Malay?” or “muka dia tak cantik”. All people are the same, except their hearts and that is for God to judge.
Happy fasting to the muslim! May this month brings us closer to or Creator.