Yan's Corner - In Touch

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Lost Coin

What did you do when you were 8 years old? If you were from a poor family staying in the village, you would probably be like me –

At 4 or 5 am, I was in the rubber garden collecting latex from the rubber tapped by my mother and elder brothers and sisters. It means my mother and elder brothers and sisters started their days at 2 or 3 am. By 8 am, I was in a primary school. I did not even have a pair of shoes to wear to school. I walked bare-footed to school. In the late afternoon, we were running around in the vegetable farm, watering and weeding. Then, to the river for cleaning clothes and bath.

At night, my siblings and I lit the kerosene light and did our homework.

Those were happy times.

Last November, I wrote about Singaporean parents spending ten of thousands on their 6 to 8 years old daughters for their singing and dance lessons as well as costumes to prepare them for beauty and talent contests. (Refer “The early Birds” posted on 08/11/2005)

Today, I read a report in Sunday Post (Australian newspaper) with the headline,Girls 8 new sex targets. The paper reported that girls as young as eight are dressing provocatively and encouraging sexual predators because “sick” marketing is leading them to grow up too quickly. These girls called tweenies (8-12 year-olds) are wearing padded bras, make-up, in some cases racy (lacy?) underwear!

The article also reported a survey by the Australian Childhood Foundation that more than 90 percent of parents thought marketers were targeting their children too aggressively.

Fair enough, it’s the marketing push to the tweenies. Where are their parents? What are the parents doing? Who buy the racy (lacy?) underwear for these tweenies? Who allowed marketers to use their 8-year-old to push their music videos, magazines, make-up and clothing? Are parents going to do anything about it?

These questions lead me to the parable of the lost coin –

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:8-10 RSV)

The ten silver coins here was of not much value, but it was of tremendous significance to the woman. Something was lost. Something was lost at home. Is someone lost at home? The woman did three things which were extremely important.

First, she lit a lamp. She knew that she needed light. Literally, she sought God’s work.

Second, she swept the house. In those days, the floor was spread with straw. So, it would be difficult to find. When she swept the house, it meant the woman opened up to the family circle, admitting the failure. That made finding the lost ones possible. It’s not easy, right? It concerns pride!

Third, the woman searched diligently. She meant business, the lost coin was valuable to her.

There are surely lessons to learn from this parable. If you have a lost one at home, do the three things. Remember even the angels will rejoice.

The poet, Edgar A. Guest, said:

If I don’t help my boy to grow up right, I’ll call myself a failure no matter how much money I make or how big a reputation I get. I have a number of tasks to do all of which I should like to do well. To be a failure in any one of them would be disappointing. Yet I could bear that without whimpering if I were sure I had not failed my boy. Not somuch of me in the bank, and more of me and my best in the lad – that’s what I should like to have to show at the end of my career. For me to succeed as a father, he must succeed. Unless my boy comes to manhood fit for the respect of his fellow men, I shall have been a failure. The glory of our handiwork lies not in ourselves, but in our children.

4 comment(s):

Hi Yan,

A classic case of society going for economic gains at the expense of basic values of decency....or is that what some culture would call creative marketing in progress or freedom of choice?

To note that the absence of a public outcry is indeed sad. Those parents don't seem ready to look for their "lost silver coin" or perhaps the "lost coin" is of little value to them, and that is disgusting.

What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:26

By Blogger Joepsc, at 10:27 am  

hi yan:

at ripe olde age of 8, i was housed in a room with a few brother and cousins, but we were luckier in the rented premises --as Dad was a school teacher -- we had electricity BUTT no TV until secondary 1 or 2!
Well, ddin't have to wake up 5am butt at 9-10am had to go to a sawmill about 1/2km away, lined up with 3 to 5 neighbourhood boys to take turns to "band" some hal;f dozen pieces of thrown=away planks for Mum to use as fire wood. Mumm was a professional wood chopper and I think could have made a good prok seller in slicing up porkie isntaed of wood/plants for making the fire to cook.

You know why in my adulthood (not adultery!)I hate "porridge"? Cos at least one of 2 main meals of the day then was porridge with ikan bilis or "saulted" vege! Uurgghhh!
If not for the over-weighted loads of timber on my young shoulders, I could have rivalled who's that Chinaman .....? in basketball, NBA no less!:(

But "leisure" was stealing weekend evening to a Park about 1-1/2km away to "peep" from outside in between wooden planks at WongFeiFoong shows, steal B&W!-lah -- hence you can say dei came from the Ulu!

You can say that again -- Happy Days? No...it's THOSE WERE THE DAYS!

More if thou join G5 to make it G7 for CNY Meet, tentatively set for SE7ENth Dae of CNY in TAIping! "Kyels" hometownny.:)

JOE.psc says he's giving it a MISS! cos the travel by lembu would take a month from Sinland to KL, then to Taiping.
Hey, JPsc, doesn't your SIA fly to Taiping, ah? So ulu one, like FuRong...

By Blogger desiderata, at 2:50 pm  

Hi, Joe,

Well said. Thanks for the insight.


By Blogger Yan, at 7:12 am  

Hi, Desi,

Those were the days, still happy days..

Happiness is to wait for the durian to fall and share with siblings and neighbours.

Happiness is walking barefoot in the garden, even in school.

Happiness is catching a snake and cook it and share with villagers. The whole villager rejoices! (yet to try)

Happiness is having a new set of pyjamas and dress tailored by mummy for Chinese New Year ..

Memories are made of one of the not-so-good day when you have the whole pail of collected latex poured on your head because you slipped and fell.. Still, it was fun.

I still like porridge because I could not remember taking porridge two times a day. To me, then, porridge was for the sick. I longed to get sick during the young days, but I was as tough as a bull (oop!). Getting sick means you have porridge, Milo and apple!

Thanks for sharing your 8-year-old stories...


By Blogger Yan, at 7:21 am  

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