Thursday, February 21, 2008

LeT mE be BLacK, PoOR & miSeRAbLe

For some time now, I’ve been reading and collecting Maya Angelou’s series of autobiographies. I was mesmerized by her first book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”. After that, I’ve been hot-on-the-tracks hunting down her later memoirs.

It’s interesting to see this pattern recurring in my life. I tend to very automatically align myself with some minority group (who may be misunderstood, persecuted, miserable, attacked, etc.) and take on the role of being their ambassador. It’s very strange how I seem to be able to take on all their pain and hurt and sorrow… like I absorb their very being into myself.

I’ve gone through the whole gamut. Once it was the children caught up in the Cambodian civil war, and its neighbouring Vietnam War. Then it was the intellectuals in China’s Cultural Revolution. Apartheid in Africa and their British colonists. For a while it was the black slaves in Southern America. Anne Frank’s diary turned my attention to Jews in Europe. Nearer to home it was the comfort women in Korea during the Second World War. I followed avidly the work of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. And countless other poor and broken souls, whose pain touched me in very real and disturbing ways.

Am I enjoying the role of the tragic heroine too much? Or is it just a means for me to seek some measure of love?

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