“Whoa,” yelped junior disciple Ah Lek in surprise. “Arrgh!” shouted junior disciple Ah Kow as senior disciple Ah Moo pushed his way between them and sent both of them falling off the straight and narrow path that leads to the Sow Lin monastery chapel. Ah Kow fell to the left into a bush of yellow daffodil. “Wow,” he thought, “the sky is so blue.” “Ouch, ouch” shouted Ah Lek who fell to the right into a rose garden.
“I so hate senior disciple Ah Moo,” said Ah Lek as he extricated himself from the thorns. “He makes me so angry”
“Leave him be. He just a big bully,” said Ah Kow as he dusted his robe clean.
“I am so furious. One day I will get even. Vengeance is mine said the Lord, and Ah Lek will be My instrument,” Ah Lek told Ah Kow. “Hey, don’t simply quote the Bible. No play, play, you know,” replied Ah Kow in alarm, waiting for a thunderbolt to strike.
“I am still angry” said Ah Lek to Ah Kow during supper that evening in the refectory. Paused in the act of placing a piece of meat into his mouth, Ah Kow blinked and said. “You’re still angry?” “Yeah, I am so angry that I cannot enjoy my meat.” The disciples have just finished their meat-week where they fast from eating meat for two weeks before Lent.
“See there. I can’t stand it. That bully is enjoying himself,” said Ah Lek pointing to the senior disciple table where Ah Moo just cracked a joke and all the other senior disciples are laughing. “I can’t stand being in the same room as him!”
“Didn’t Our Lord teach us to forgive and forget?” Ah Kow pointed out. “Forgive, yes. Forget, no” declared Ah Lek with firm conviction. “Aah…?” Ah Kow tailed off in confusion.
“I am so angry that I didn’t sleep a wink last night,” declared Ah Lek to Ah Kow as they meet the next morning for prayers. “I was thinking of all the ways I can cheket his scrawny neck.” “You're still at it?” asked Ah Kow sleepily. “What about St.Paul’s teaching about not letting the sun goes down on your anger?”
“That don’t count,” said Ah Lek smugly, “Somewhere in the world, the sun is always shining so it can never go down on my anger. Maybe I shall get a big stick and hit Ah Moo on the head. Do you think he will forgive me?” “Donno,” said Ah Kow cautiously as he slowly back away.
“Aiyuh , my stomach hurts,” yells Ah Lek as he rolled on his bed later that day. “Let me fetch Abba Ah Beng” said Ah Kow as he hurried to his sifu’s room. Abba Ah Beng called in the services of Abba Thomas who is a bivocational Abba. His other vocation is as a doctor. “He has a gastric ulcer,” said Abba Thomas after he finished his examination, “I wonder what brought this on?” “Must be his anger,” whispered Ah Kow.
“What anger?” thundered Abba Ah Beng who has superb hearing, especially for the dinner bell. “Ah Lek has been angry at senior disciple Ah Moo since he pushed us into the bushes yesterday!” Ah Kow said, pointing his skinny finger at Ah Moo. “I did?” Ah Moo sounded surprised. “Yes,” Ah Moo said after a moment’s pause. “That was in the morning when I was rushing for the toilet because I have diarrhoea. Almost didn’t make it in time!”
“And you have been angry since.” Abba Ah Beng turned and faced Ah Kow. “And you?” asked Abba Ah Beng. “I was a b-bit..angry but I f-forgive and f-forgot about the innnnncident” stammered Ah Kow, turning red in the face.
“Ah Lek, Ah Lek, what shall I do with you?” Abba Ah Beng said turning back to face Ah Lek with a shake of his head, “You have let your anger control your heart and your mind. You allowed anger to dwell in your soul. A small incident gets blown out of proportion. A small push by your senior disciple had taken control of your life, poisoned your soul and gave you an ulcer.”
After a short pause for dramatic effect, Abba Ah Beng continued, “In life, you may not have control over what other people do to you. However, you do have the control over how you react to their provocations. You can choose to forgive, forget and move on. Or, you can choose to allow other people control your life. Why should you let others ruin your life?”
"don't play play" -Singapore slang made famous by Phua Chu Kang, a Singaporean sitcom. Means “taking something seriously”
"cheket"-Malay word for “strangle”.
"aiyuh"-Malaysian and Singaporean word for “ouch”