Over a cup of tea

What a fortnight it was!

Singapore witnessed its first riot in over 40 years and we lost Madiba.

Also, WTO clinched its first-ever deal bringing back some of the credibility, the organisation has lost ever-since Doha round of talks began in 2001.

Regarding Little India riot, foreign media alleged that it happened because of dissatisfaction among foreign workers in Singapore, which the government [PM Lee and Law Minister K Shanmugam] totally denied. Hopefully, the Committee of Inquiry set-up by the Ministry of Home Affairs will look into these matters as well.

In this issue, we pay our tribute to the three great icons of non-violent protests, the world has seen in the last century. One was the guru – Bapu, who inspired King and Madiba a great deal, by their own admission.

I first read Bapu's autobiography, My experiments with truth, when I was a 15-year-old. Afterwards someone asked me what fascinated me the most about him.

My answer was and still remains the same.

All of us suffer from vanity. We feel the need to be appreciated by our peers, friends and family. When we meet people, we put our best foot forward. We always try to make a good impression. We want our human fallacies to be hidden, forever, and we do our utmost to hide them.

But, what did a person, whom the entire world calls “Mahatma” [great soul], wrote in his autobiography?

He talks about his visit to a brothel and his meat-eating exploits (chapter 7 – A tragedy continues), how he became fond of smoking and stole from his own brother (chapter 8 – Stealing and atonement), as well as his carnal lust for Ba – his wife (chapter 9 – My father's death and my double shame).

Such was his commitment to truth.

In Bapu's own words:

“It is not my purpose to attempt a real autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography. But I shall not mind, if every page of it speaks only of my experiments.”

In peace!