Monday, February 14, 2011

This Is For Vanessa Ong

Because I know you’ll be reading.

And if you are supposed to be doing your assignment, this is a reminder.

Because I’m procrastinating myself *insert cheeky smile here*.

The last sentence suddenly sounds a little weird.

Is thinking you have a fantastic time at camp.

How dare you.

We’re all suffering here trying to finish those reports up.

Have you noticed that I’m typing out this post the way you normally do yours?

Ha ha!

Also, I think you should capitalize your i's. I’m a “perfectionist” like that.

Smilies! =)

Edit: Oh, Happy Valentine’s to bubbly Vanessa Ong… Are you touched? Smile with tongue out

And Happy Valentine’s to everyone who reads this SmileRed heart

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cruel To Be Kind

I once did a presentation about this saying. A phrase coined from our immortal poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. It is so commonly used that I thought it was such a cool thing to say and to use and to find out about. When I looked deeper than just the physical words, I actually came to agree to this phrase. It is cruel to be kind. What does it mean?

It can be viewed in either two ways. One,  you need to be cruel in order to be kind. Two, you’re being cruel when you’re being kind. In the end, they both result in the same thing. Let’s explain the first viewpoint. This was used by Shakespeare in one of his writings.

I do repent; but heaven hath pleas’d it so
To punish me with this and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again good night.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

Hamlet Act 3, scene 4, 173–179.

Let me give you a summary of the explanations of these lines. It is said that these lines were addressed by Hamlet to his mother. The first five lines refer to Hamlet’s impulsive killing of a courtier called Polonius whom had been snooping around when Hamlet was talking to his mother. Hamlet justified his act by saying he was heaven’s “scourge and minister” to bring justice on the corrupt. At the same time, he repents on the killing and accepts the consequences to come. Polonius was punished by Hamlet and Hamlet will be punished for killing Polonius. 

The next line saying, “I must be cruel only to be kind,” was shifting the focus on Hamlet’s mother whom was indulging in her new husband (whom is also her brother-in-law) of whom Hamlet thought was a very low specimen of slime because brother-in-law is a murderer of mother’s late husband. In this line he explains he needed to be cruel to his mother in order to be kind- to save her from going further into sensuality and betrayal of her late husband. (To read the original explanation, please click here)

The two explanations above shows Hamlet being kind (bringing justice on the corrupt and nagging his mother’s ear off because of her acts), but was seen as being cruel (his act of murder needed to be punished and his mother most probably does not appreciate of her son’s despise of her new husband).


I know this doesn’t belong here. It’s too cute.

The second viewpoint is one I believe most people experienced. It is when you’re being too kind, that you end up being cruel instead. Imagine this; your very own son or daughter does drugs and demands for money every once in a while to buy them. There are two ways this can end. One, you give the money to him or her and your child will be on their way to “happiness”. Two, if you don’t, they might throw a tantrum, flip tables, bang doors, perhaps even threaten you and walk out of the house swearing to never see you again. Your own child- hating you, never seeing you again. Would you in this situation, give the money? If you would give the money, thinking this would pass and there will be a time when he or she would go off drugs, you’re being too kind.

Maybe that example is a little too abstract for you. What about if someone close to you was self-destructive? Most times you meet, you hear of his or her sorrows of not being able to be successful at what they do when in actuality, the root of the problem is the person himself or herself. Perhaps why he cannot get a promotion while his other colleagues are getting it is not because the boss was being unfair, but because he’s not showing any progress. Or the reason why she’s always being unhappy in her relationship is not because of her, but her holding on to the wrong person. Or maybe you realise that he’s going to ruin his relationship with the love of his life by suffocating her too much with his obsessive love acts, but he doesn’t realise it. Yet, you keep quiet because you know, if you touch on these sensitive topics, they’d get hurt, defend themselves, start to turn away from you or you assume that they would not listen to you in the first place. Bottom line, it might not end up well and will ruin your relationship with him or her. You assume they would work it out themselves sooner or later.

By keeping quiet or giving hypothetical drug money to your hypothetical drug addict child, you’re being too kind. What if they never figure it out? What if they never get their head out of that castle of clouds they just built? True, you never did anything wrong to them. But you never did anything period. You just did a cruel act by letting them fall into their own self-made trap. Almost as if it’s Cruel Mercy. Hamlet could have just shut his mouth and let his mother fall further and further in her lustful love of her brother-in-law. It was because he cared that he took the chance to be seen as cruel to be kind to her.


Modernized Prince Hamlet.

I struggle with this constantly. Some people close to me are being self-destructive. Yet, I chose to keep quiet because I did not want to be seen as judgemental, did not want to have to deal with arguments, did not want to deal with them turning away. I was being too kind. Inside, I want to help, but I did not know how to help without being cruel. If I was being cruel (rude, harsh, insensitive), I never meant it to be. I only did it because I cared.

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. 
~ Jesse Jackson 


Random fact: There’s a weird and cute game called Cruel2BKind.