Tuesday, August 7, 2012

'tis the season to blow things up

Being a multicultural community, Malaysians of all ethnicities adopted the Chinese customs of playing with fireworks during the festive seasons. The Chinese believed that fireworks would be an awesome way to chase away demons and usher in good luck for the new year. As a child, I had delightful uncles who supplied my sister and I with all manners of bunga api and mercun to play with during Eid ul Fitr. I have even got the opportunity to see my cousin launch his meriam buluh (bamboo cannon) in a competition with the other kampung.

*Naz, you are evil for tempting me to get them pretteh explosives*

Hari raya is around the corner (another eleven days, not that I'm counting) and I am delighted to note that there aren't as many reports of children (and adults) losing eyesight/hearing/relevant body parts due to firework mishaps. Yes, boys and girls. Salts and metal oxides ignited at high temperature can be pretty to watch, but are also detrimental to your fragile flesh. Look up the gory pictures if you like.

Sixty seven years ago, Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced a different sort of fireworks. It was not celebratory in nature and in fact, killed and maimed over 30% to 50% of the population of both cities. Little Boy and Fat Man left a nuclear calling card that reverberated until this day, as seen below.

Pretty gristly animation based on the story related by a Hiroshima survivor. Click at your own risk.



Of course some people would say that the Japanese army were pretty mean to other people as well. I have heard oral accounting of the horrible stuff they perpetrated in my country, not to mention stuff like the rape of Nanking, inhumane scientific experimentation, sexual slavery and so on. It is true that the Japanese army and government of the day were no innocent schoolboys.

But perpetrating atrocities on civilians are NEVER OKAY and this goes to all armed aggressors in any conflict. Once you start targeting civilians you have lost all your moral certitude and cost you the legitimacy of your struggle. Sadly, we never learn from history and continue to make this mistake over and over and over again. We abuse the free will granted to us by the Almighty and thought that we can impose our will on others on this Earth because of our military, political or economic supremacy.

The powers that be who stockpile nuclear weapons all say that they do so as a deterrent. To me it's like you have a loaded and primed gun that you point at each others' head, with your trembling finger on the trigger. Someone might sneeze and then where would we be?

Conventional weapons are horrible enough, okay?


Seorang Blogger said...

aku tak pernah tengok meriam buluh seumur hiduku!!

Snuze said...

Dia macam buluh lemang, tapi lebih panjang dan mengufuk, tidak menegak.
Isinya karbaid dan isi perut mercun, makanya tidak boleh dimakan bersama rendang atau kuah kacang.

Kehebatan bunyinya bergantung kepada komposisi belerang dan lain-lain formulasi rahsia yang disumbat ke dalamnya.


Aku teringin nak main meriam pokok kelapa. Nampaknya aku perlu cari suami orang Bagan Datoh; ada kampung di sana yang masih main meriam tradisi itu.