On his recent visit to my place, my dad was shocked to find, or rather not find a phallus outside my house. He insisted that I should display one, either outside the house or hanging from the door top. He had an explanation for why my wife was always sick; that evil eyes are on us since we didn’t have a phallus to guard against them.
To please him, I asked a friend to make one for me. The artistic, nasty practical joker that he is, he made one that looked obscene, pornographic and indecent. It did not resemble the ones back home, which were a simple one, in fact a symbolic one. The one he made had all parts, including the throbbing veins and nothing was left to the imagination. I must admit that he did quite a good job. Had this been for some other purpose, other than hanging above my door, he did really deserve applause. Since I did not have any choice I hung it from the door top. That silenced my dad.
A few days later my children’s friends came to our house. They are all below ten kids. They did not seem to be bothered by the new “item of decoration” on my door. Curiously I asked them what it was. Without blinking an eyelid, they replied, “Uncle, chu tang ni gi eembay”, meaning that it is an object to urinate with. They knew it by its basic functional utility and beyond that it’s just another piece of anatomy. Ah, the innocence at its peak!
But it’s a different story with the adults; visiting friends of mine and my wife’s. They grin, giggle, pass comments, some even pass sexist remarks. I heard one friend of mine saying, “the one eyed monster taking its post!” My wife thinks that it is disgusting and wants to throw it away.
I was looking at a picture of a gold chain and a locket, strung around the neck of a lady. The photographer has intentionally shown the cleavage of the model wearing a sports bra. The face was left out. I must confess that more than the gold chain and the locket, my attention was drawn by the cleavage of the lady. I showed the same to my friends and even they saw the cleavage first.
I showed this same picture to my three years old son and instantly he replied, “Sung koed (sacred thread strung around the neck) eembay.” He took the chain and the locket to be a ‘sung koed’. He did not notice the cleavage, which we adults did before anything.
The difference in perception is glaring. Children see things as they are; in their pure unadulterated form. We, the adults, see things in a different light, beyond its basic meaning. Ours is a bit prejudiced by our “adult” minds.