Be cruel to be kind

Today, the social commentary continues. I managed to weave in the social commentary theme into my July submission for The Writer’s Tower FB page.The poem was conceptualized while I was dutifully doing my (healthy) evening jog after cooking and eating dinner with family. Mundane, I know, but such is the life of a working-class female.

The Writer’s Tower is an open group for writers to share their ideas and prose. Every month, they have a theme to write on, and one can write and submit a piece in any style and genre. July 2014′s theme is PARADOX, and if one were able to include the bonus word(s) ‘football’ or ‘time for a bite’ in the piece, that would garner a Writer’s Tower Medal! 🙂

My poem for today focuses on the topic of conflct among people with different outlooks and ideals. I wanted to say something about the sad state of affairs in different parts of the world, where the sound of gunfire is a reocurrent daily theme. However, when I think of this topic, I am at the same time grateful that my country is a peaceful and harmonious place to live in; that I will not get shot at while driving to work; nor come home to a looted and burning house. I am thankful that I can go out to any shop and buy my daily necessities, and have access to clean water and wholesome food every day. Amen.


Be cruel to be kind

Big Sergeant said:
Hey, boy! Stand up straight
Hold it steady; don’t be a maid
Look smart; watch your gait
Mama’s boy, we’ve got a raid
Hurry up, don’t make me wait
Handsomely, we’ll be paid
We’ll show them their fate
Our vengeance shall never fade
I’m sure they’ll take the bait
The boy will learn; a soldier made
Be cruel to be kind

The Boy said to himself:
Let’s go shoot them up
He’s only thinking of his pelf
And how to blow things up
Only I can save myself
School is no more; grow up
Bye football, he said to himself
Dreams of playing the game? Wake up
I hope mother is taking care of herself
They won’t allow me to look her up
Only a memory on the mantelshelf
Be cruel to be kind

Mother remembering her son:
My dear boy, how long has it been?
Gunfire in the streets; the blasts go on
Immediately, I think of you, sad and lean
It’s cold, remember to put your coat on
I worry for you; you are only a teen
No more school, but life goes on
Keep your head down; don’t be seen
Time for a bite; don’t miss meals, son
Those who took you, they are so mean
I want to call every day, but I can’t
Be cruel to be kind

So the conflict goes on forever
They killed my people; I must kill theirs
Make their blood flow like a river
Put an end to all their heirs
So what if there’s fever?
Children must fight; who cares?
To survive, they must be clever
They must claim what is rightfully theirs
So the cycle continues unbroken, forever
Nobody wants to give up; who dares?
Nobody wants to give in; you will suffer
Do we have to be cruel to be kind?

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
15 July 2014

This poem is dedicated to all the children surviving in war-torn countries. I hope you stay strong and never lose hope. Sometimes, only hope is what you have, but it can get you through bad days and tight spots, and one day you will make it out alive, and grow up to lead a meaningful and successful life.

pelf – money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonourable way.
mantelshelf – a shelf above a fireplace.

See the definitions in Oxford Dictionaries Online.