While enjoying my usual Friday afternoon crawl home, I saw our own local ‘Uncle’ walking and singing happily in the sweltering equinox heat oblivious to the surrounding. Coincidentally, ‘Virtual Insanity’ was on the air! How apt!
For the locals, ‘Uncle’ is a common sight (there is also a ‘Pakcik‘ on the other part of town), – Walking around barefoot, unkempt hair and ‘sexily’ dressed at all times – day/night; rain/shine. For all these years that I have seen him, never have I seen him anything, but ‘happy’. Contrary to popular assumptions which equates mental instability with aggressiveness, the ‘Uncle’ I know is never violent nor aggressive. For me, he is always in alpha.
Of course, this is purely based on my observations and deductions from far. I never have the opportunity to get ‘close’ to him. The closest I get is by looking out my window, safe in my car. The only exchange between us is a series of smiles.
He has never ceased to amaze me and he has always been in my mind from time to time. I mentioned my amazement about ‘Uncle’ and pointed him out (from my car) to Pak Firman when he was here, last. “In order to know and explore more, you need to enter his ‘world'”, was Pak Firman’s reply to my ‘thinking aloud in the car’ session. Very true!
Over the years I have been observing, assuming and trying to understand, without anything tangible. Instead, I should be in his ‘world’ with him (with his permission, of course) to find out more about his state of mind.
I wonder if I have the courage or can even muster any courage at all, to make the effort to get close enough to ask my 1,001 questions about what goes through his head (putting language barrier aside). He would definitely be an interesting respondent for a qualitative research, wouldn’t it? If that should materialize, Pakcik Tanjung Api will be next!
Another thought then surfaces. Our definition of reality. Surely, his reality is different from ours. If it is, he would not be the same person as he is today. He would be like the rest of us. With his own sets of religious belief, moral values and social etiquette plus on the material side of things; unlimited wants. I do not think he will be singing as happily as he is now. Like most of us, he will be bogged down with responsibilities, commitments and the whole band wagon. He is above all that. I bet he does not want them, and he does not need them; hence he is what he is today!
We assume Uncle needs professional help; medically and psychologically. I beg to differ. His needs are different from ours. His reality, as skewed as we might think it is, is still his reality.
For ‘sane’ people like us, we too have our own skewed reality on certain issues. Just read and watch the news! We can be the judge of our own ‘collective sanity’, as we call it… or shall we begin coining Jamiroquai’s ‘Virtual Insanity’ to describe and justify our ‘sanity’ in the midst of our crazy-busy life. Tim Burton resonates my thought to a tee with “One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” .
What separates us from the likes of Uncle? To know where to draw the line and to be able to separate between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual/imaginary’ worlds; is US. The blurring of the line and the refusal to return; is UNCLE.
To each, of his own; for Uncle refuses to be us, and We refuse to be Uncle.
“Apa mau nya?”
Me: I wish for a ‘Holodeck’ for my birthday this year!
: “Beam me up, Scotty!”