Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Give an Inch, Ask for a Yard.
I'm not sure whether that's a genuine English saying but the Malays have many versions of that saying. Give the Calf and (they) ask for the Thigh,is one version. Give a spoon and (they) ask for a bowl, is another.
The saying is used to describe a greedy person. To just ask for more is one thing. But to undertake various shady, underhand and even malicious action to get more of what one has been given a little of, is another thing. It's called cheating, threatening or outright backstabbing. It's like what is described in the story of the Arab and the camel. Give the camel a little space in the tent out of sheer kindness and the camel finally kicked the Arab out of the tent. There's also the story of the Foreigner who asked for a piece of land only as large as the area covered by the skin of a buffalo. When agreed to in writing, the skin of a buffalo is cut into a thin strip which can be stretched for miles.
That's greed, cunning and treachery. Today's world seemed to be replete with such instances. A teenager asks the parents to use a car for a short spin or for an emergency situation and the parents allowed it. The teenager asked them again and again. Later he or she just takes the car out without asking for permission. When the parents get angry the car will suddenly suffer many mechanical faults which the teenager could repair or send for repair at the nearest workshop. He or she soon gets to use the car anytime at all or even be given ownership of the car.
Can you think of examples at the national and international level? You're rather a naive person if you can't for it's happening all round us. A protest group makes some demand on the government to expand certain rights which had earlier be given to the group. Soon more demands will come and finally the protest group will form a political party to oust the government out. A certain minority group will make small request to the government which represents the people. Out of kindness the request is granted and more requests will come which soon turned into a series of demand. Meanwhile the minority group has increased in size making the demands look more justifiable. Turn them down and the government will loose the group's support which it badly needed. Soon the majority will be alarmed and the government will have to face the majority's displeasure...
Where will it all end? At the international level, a displaced people can seek the right to have palace in the world. The international community agrees to give them a place. The displaced people grew larger in number, needs more area to accommodate their need and begin to go into new territory. When confronted they will fight. A win means they can legally take over the lost territory. And the process goes on. When will the international community say stop and don't be too greedy?
As one wise man said once, there's enough in the world to serve everyones need. But there won't be enough to serve everyones's greed. Is the people of the world to stupid to understand that? Or is everyone so haughty and presumptuous to believe that he or she can have whatever he or she wants if you or your people are strong enough to fight for it? Do we forget the saying that whoever lives by the sword will one day die by it. Or have we become so dumb as not to understand that as well.
Given an inch ask for a yard by all means. But don't cheat or threaten people at the point of a sword or a gun. The point can turn to you one day. Let's attend to our need but do not promote greed. That greed in one person can swallow a nation one day. In the end all of us will be dead. Are we so dumb as not to understand that as well?