Yan's Corner - In Touch

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Curious Incident of the dog



I was as curious as Christopher when Desiderata (http://desiderata2000@blogspot.com/) told me he is now reading the book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time”. I got hold of a copy and started reading.

It’s a murder mystery story. Christopher Boone finds his neighbour’s dog murdered. He wants to find out who murders the dog. This is a story told by someone with a different view of life.

Christopher is an autistic child, or to be exact, Asperger’s Sydrome. That’s a form of autism and it means that he doesn’t understand or relate to other people the way most of us do.

My first encounter with autism was in year 2001 when I was the President of the Federation of Sarawak Journalists Association (FSJA). Shell Kenyalang Press Awards was an annual event of the Association. The sponsors, Shell, would like to do a social project while holding the annual press awards to journalists.

It was then that I met the Sibu Autism Society. Through the collaboration of FSJA, Shell contributed towards the funding of some equipment needed in the Sibu Autistic Association. From there, I had the opportunities to meet some autistic children gaining a little understanding of their minds.

I read the novel with much care, as I would have to in order enter into the world of a little autistic boy. Being a mother, it is natural for me to be curious about Christopher’s expression of love. I do not have much difficulty relating to Christopher.

What have I seen through Christopher’s eyes? What have I discover about myself as parents?

“Truth” is central in Christopher’s life. One of the hardest things in life is to be objective at ourselves. We make excuses. If we are parents who allow children to make excuses, our children will not take up responsibility for their actions. We train them to find fault with others. They never learned to face the truth.

Christopher writes that “everything I have written …. is true”. Have we, as parents found lies so indispensable?

Christopher talks about love. He seems to know how his father loves him. He does not exactly understand what exactly that should mean. His definition of love is – his father does not lie to him. Little does he know, his father lies to him. How can Christopher believe his father when his definition of love is “telling the truth” after he found out that his father lied to him?

Are we often caught in that kind of situation with our own children?

Christopher fears being touched. Is that the reason that he actually does not experience the parents’ love? Or does he understand? Or is he actually longing for hugs from his parents? When was the last time that we give our children a hug?

Christopher likes to be alone. He dreams of being an astronaut, alone in space. He likes the idea that there is no other people in the world. He contemplates a virus carries off everyone except “special people like me”. He disconnects himself from the world. H goes out at night to stare at the stars to make himself negligible.

In our packed schedule, do we spend time alone by choice? Do we allow our spirt to be revived, our mind renewed and body rejuvenated...

Chris observes “the world is full of obvious things which nobody by chance ever observes.”

To me, it is a book about words, about what you can do with words. What it means to communicate with someone with words. Though everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning to him, Christopher is an excellent narrator. He gives me clear and effective descriptions of mental confusions. If this statement of Christopher makes sense to us, we are on our way to be better parents –

“I do not always do what I’m told. And this is because when people tell you what do it is usually confusing and does not make sense. For example, people often say “Be quiet” but they don’t tell you how long to be quiet for….”

I "challenged" Desiderata to write about the book two weeks ago. When he accepted, I regretted. It's just 50 minutes away from our agreed time - 11:00 am on 24th April. I have to post early because of an engagement at 11:00 am....

1 comment(s):

Hi Yan:
50 minutes -- that was even shorter than my 120 minutes! We are typical press-people, pressing always for time, no wonder by 45, 1 in 2 of my journo buddies has hypertension; you're not invited to join tis club!

A quick note as FIRST comment, I may come back again as again I have to rush for B/F> I the coincidence of the TruthFactor amazing! To me your take is what it's all about, esp Parenting; me, it's more for Writing, but Life emcompasses all, so at least WE DO AGREE with young Chris in ONE CONCEPT of living.

A secondary is your point about playing with words. My piece this morning is indeed mostly a play on words, warts and all, and I promised an Epilogue, thatis, if I'm not confused by pro- dia-epi and PS and PPS by now! As youngsters nowadays say, getting Blur or Blur-red?

That's for the moment, I have mGf waiting for a deferred bF! CHOW, so relevant.

By Blogger desiderata, at 11:40 am  

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