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Two Related Stories

August 4, 2014

Ambapali was an accomplished singer and dancer known for her beauty, but she would not perform for just anyone. If someone’s manner or behavior displeased her, she refused to perform no matter how much gold they might offer. When she was sixteen years old, she became involved in a love affair that ended in heart-break. Soon afterwards she met the young Prince Bimbisara, and they fell in love.  As a courtesan to the prince, she gave birth to their son, Vimala. But no one in the palace wanted to accept Ambapali and Vimala. Some members of the palace household even spread rumour that Vimala was no more than an abandoned orphan that the prince had rescued from a barrel by the side of the road. Ambapali was hurt by these accusations. She endured humiliation caused by the jealousy and hatred of others in the palace. Soon she saw that her freedom was the only thing worth guarding. She refused to live in the palace and vowed that she would never relinquish her personal freedom to anyone.  She endured false accusations.  Fast forward the story (history) to the end, and we know Vimala became an elder and Ambapali (or Amrapali “mango leaf” in Sanskrit), eventually attained the state of of a “perfected person”.

ambapali

Ambapali

Moses and his wife were married the Singaporean Chinese style. Like all Chinese, they received many jewelries during their tea ceremony.  So like most happy newly wed, not knowing what to do with the gold and jewels, they kept them in a box.

For reasons of employment, the couples have to leave Singapore and live in a foreign land. A year later, Moses, asked his aunt on the phone if she had seen the box of jewelries (actually he knew he passed to her but this is how Moses politely asked his aunt). The aunt search all over, couldn’t find it and started blaming the man for being careless and that brought up all memories of how careless the man has been before marriage.

This loss of wedding gifts is unforgivable in a typical Chinese family.  Just for a moment, if you are married, imaging trying to explain to your spouse, that you have lost your wedding ring. In a typical American family, even not wearing the wedding ring, is a cause for great concern and a start of rumour amongst friends and colleagues.

So many stories of Moses were spread amongst his friends and relatives. He is now branded as a completely irresponsible man who was ungrateful to friends and relatives. Every time he came home to Singapore to visit, either his granny gives him a hard time, Or he got scorned or laughed at

“He would lose his head if it were not screwed to his head”

“This guy belittles something as important as the sanctity of marriage.”

These remarks do no justice to the character of Moses. Moses may not like to be lovey-dovey or showed public affection, but he is a very responsible man, and helped out with the housework even though he brings in the dough. When his folks got angry at him over the matter of his wedding gifts, he simply said (with equanimity)

“They are not lost, simple misplaced.”

When friends/relative called him names or laughed at him in his face, he simply smiled, and quietly give them his blessings.

Many years later, truth surfaced. The gifts were in his aunts security box in the bank. Moses remembered very clearly asking his aunt to keep the wedding gifts for him because he has no use for them abroad. The exact words on the phone were,

“Auntie, please check your safety box in your bank, I handed to you because I do not own a safe box.”

His aunt did look in her box once, but her box was so big, and the jewelries were so deep inside, she overlooked. It is only when the bank requested her to clear the box, that his aunt saw those jewelries. Moses did request for his aunt to look in her security box again, but she only remarked that she already did and it was NOT THERE.  Clearly his aunt did not even look.

After that incident, Moses thought it better to carry his own “wedding gifts”.  Having no security box, Moses sold all his jewels except for the wedding rings. In fact, the wedding ring was never worn, it felt like “dogma with no rhyme or reasons” to him. And eventually it will also be sold. And of course, nobody go around and “undo” rumours. If anyone asked about Moses and his wedding gifts, they would either still enjoy the false remarks about Moses, or simply be given an answer,

“Oh, I think it was found, it was just misplaced, not lost.”

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One Comment
  1. I was more than happy to find this website. I wanted to thank
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