When truths change

THERE is a saying, "Don't believe what you see or what you hear, believe only what you know after careful investigation", which is so true. People often forget that when there are two parties involved in an incident there will be two sides to the same story. When there are many involved there will be numerous versions.

At the end of the day, what's important is the truth and that is the hardest to establish. With close reference to the incident where a 14-year-old girl attempted suicide and later succumbed to injuries from the attempt over an allegation of having stolen a hand phone in school, we had the whole "trial" going on in social media.

No doubt, on any account the girl should not have died this way and what actually happened remains unknown. The whole story is elusive and the account by various parties are only parts which when put together may present a different perspective to the unfortunate event leading to her death.

I am reminded of an ancient parable "The blind men and the elephant".

It is used today as a warning for people that promote absolute truth or exclusive knowledge. The simple reason is that our sensory perceptions and life experiences can lead to limited access and deceiving misinterpretations. How can a person with a limited touch of truth turn that into the one and only version of all reality?

When it comes to the moral of the blind men and the elephant, it seems that today's philosophers are quick to find closure. Doesn't the picture of the blind men and the elephant also point to something bigger – the elephant?

Indeed, each blind man has a limited perspective on the objective truth, but that doesn't mean objective truth isn't there. In fact, truth isn't relative at all. It's there to be discovered in all its totality.

Just because we have limited access to truth, that doesn't mean any and all versions of truth are equally valid.

The teacher, in the meantime, has been subjected to uncouth and unkind remarks by netizens. The parents have left it to the police and the Education Ministry has promised a fair investigation but emotions have been running high.

On a deeper level, the accusation of theft might have been the trigger but there is something seriously wrong with our society which thinks suicide answers all issues. That child obviously didn't have anyone to talk to and was in deep misery. The public shaming was too much for her little heart and world.

How do parents gauge the tell-tale signs of their children going through emotional mayhem? If only children and teenagers are in the habit of opening up to discuss and share their innermost thoughts, problems can be resolved.

If we remember, in yesteryears where joint-families existed and we had many siblings, we learnt to relate and tolerate each other more openly. It was always "us" as opposed to just "I, me and myself" which is the modern-day creed and it is a tragedy pushing relationships into obscurity.

Children growing up in nuclear families with just one or no siblings never learn the art of sharing their thoughts and feelings and when a misfortune strikes, they become obsessed for a way out on their own, whatever it may be.

Is it because the parenting strategy has gone wrong that we see children being pushed wickedly into believing anything is possible, even without trying? Children are unable to take no for an answer and reprimands are not acceptable. Praise is demanded and narcissistic behaviours are encouraged. They cannot be anything else other than the best. There is no room for mediocrity. Failing in something is taken to mean that he/she is a failure.

To parents, get interaction and communication going regularly. Silence does not mean all is well. Make it your business to know.

At the time of writing, new information with regard to the death is being revealed, but truth remains complacently vague.

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