Today, a fellow fire fighter commented about how relationships are inadvertently based on lies.

He said: “I realise that lies are a big part of human interactions. And the closer we are, the more we lie and hide cos’ we realise the more we have to lose“.

I hate to sound cynical, and to tell him that well, that’s the way life is. But really. People lie in the hope that their happiness will stay uninterrupted for a longer time. Hope and happiness.

When i was 5, and when my parents separated, every single adult lied. They told me that my father was away on a long work trip. My father himself called to assure me that he was on a long work trip. What they didn’t realise was that i understood, at the age of 5, the Hokkien dialect very well. I knew what happened, and i knew my mum was upset. But at the age of 5, i realised that it was vital for me to lie and to build on the web of lies weaved lovingly by adults around me so that they can maintain a level of normalcy. I can’t explain why i knew instinctively that i had to partake in the lying game but i knew it as surely as i understood that murder is bad and kindness is pure. Adults lied, partly for me, partly cos’ to delude themselves and to make life easier. And so at the age of 5, i learnt to smile, deceive and act like i was utterly clueless. I figured it was all for the greater good.

Years later, i bawled while watching Finding Neverland. Kate Winslet was dying and she was lying through her chattering teeth, telling her little boys that she was ok. Those poor kids knew very well that she was pretending, but they indulged themselves in her make-believe so that they could help her pretend that everything was under control.

So there, lying is something we pick up almost subconsciously as little kids, and we pick up that necessary evil from adults. We gradually lose our ability and courage to be completely and wholeheartedly honest simply because we know that we may have nothing to gain and almost certainly everything to lose by telling the truth.


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