by A Lump Of Clay
My head was still spinning from the powerful words of the travelling preacher as I made my way out of the church. Wow! This collared-one dared to preach the Gospel Of Jesus Christ, even at the risk of not being invited again? That's a change. So I closed my eyes and told myself, "Enough said lah. Time for yours truly to just SHADDAP till Christmas."
Suddenly I heard that eerie cackle again. I opened my eyes. I was staring at a fool-sized.. err.. full-sized poster on the church noticeboard with a shocking (even to me) message. Stuffing back my eyes into their sockets, I skimmed over the poster again. Yup, no mistake. There it was, an earnest appeal to all English-educated church-goers to:
"PRACTICE SAFE SEX"
Have I just been teleported to the other side of Thambipillay? I glanced around at the folks greeting each other with a familiar father-son-hoooooly ghost handsign. Phew! Thank goodness, I was STILL in church. I rubbed my eyes and turned back to the noticeboard. There was more! Just in case those below 16 don't get the message (and in the spirit of 1Malaysia, to include the Tamils, Telegus, Nepalese, Indons and miscellaneous visitors who frequent the church), there before my still bulging eyes was a larger-than-life, full-color 3D picture of a deflated balloon to go along with it! (Silly Anwar. Had he attended our church, he would never have left home without one... And he would be our PM now too!).
No way the Youth Counsellors would ever put up such an obscene abomination within the church premises. I mean, we have unanimously placed our precious children under their wise counsel, no? (Again the faint cackling, but I couldn't place it.) And oh, silly, mothu me! All this while, I was under the
La Salle schoolboy impression that AIDS was a terrible, deadly killer disease, even taking down famous chaps. But of course, the church, led by the father-son-hoooooooly-ghost, knows better mah. There it was, in kotai yelutthu Queen's English:
"DISCRIMINATION KILLS, NOT AIDS"
Sudirman, Mokhtar Dahari, Charleton Heston and Yasser Arafat must have been super-DISCRIMINATORS! Hoi, Ibrahim Ali! Heed the warning – you’re next, you discriminating toad you! (That cackling again. Could it be Marina Mahathir? No. Heard she’s in Sibu.) Haiyaa! didn't have my glasses with me so I coudn't make out the usual supporting bible text at the bottom of the poster (like the one on the "new-building" poster that gave me a good laugh for weeks - I mean, who is the "they" in “….they said, let’s build ….”? Ha ha ha! But I digress.).
So, just my bad luck, l missed out on something really edifying when I skipped the “special” lecture on AIDS AWARENESS by "Outside Experts” – for which the regular bible-study session was cancelled. (After all what’s a 2000-yr old book containing the “words of the One True God” when we have scientific space-age theses by no less than the daughter of the apa-nama ex-PM. But again I digress). I am now bursting with curiosity. Was it just a power-point lecture or ……WHOOOOOSH!
As I slowly slid to the floor near the church noticeboard, I could hear the familiar cackling faintly echoing from above the parish. Pheeeew! Church noticeboards are certainly not good for 50-year old cardio-vascular systems.
So, the church can now join hands with the entire world out there, to effectively fight social ills, without embarrassing nuisances, like the Gospel of Jesus Christ, getting in the way. Smart strategy too, to seduce the miscellaneous YBs to help top-up the sluggish building fund. The next gotong-royong, we can all throw every verse on "chaste-living" into the green trucks and proudly follow our shepherds to the green pastures down the road (the ones with cute red lights), armed with little square packets, with the comforting bold print:
"MALAYSIAN RUBBER. SAFETY GUARANTEED. NO GOSPEL REQUIRED"
ICHABOD - THY GLORY HAS DEPARTED FROM THY HOUSE!