TODDLER APPRECIATES TRADITIONAL ARTS
As a collector, oftentimes passions with traditional and cultural arts, lulls us into complacency and ignorance to the happenings closest to our heart – our children.
In zealous pursuit of knowledge, understanding, exploration and educational expansion of the subject of interest to one’s desires, at times children are left neglected, or so it would seem.
For me, my children are my inspiration that drives me to continue further into my interest on the subject of keris and its related “Malay” material culture.
WOES OF A COLLECTOR
Life’s temporary bliss is in the form of material collection and possession. Materialistic as this statement may sound but it is a fact.
Material possessions earned through commitment and dedication fills us with an assured feeling of euphoria to a certain extent. However it its prudent to look beyond one’s own interest. A simple fact – life is impermanent.
What is going to happen when a collector passes on? What will become of his collections? His research, findings and library? Will it be appreciated? Kept as heirlooms? Passed on to the next generation?
Or will it be conveniently discarded, disposed and auctioned away?
In all honesty I do not have the guaranteed answers to these questions. I am however, convinced that children are the future.
Through our children, there is a higher probability that the rich and vibrant cultural legacy will be preserved and passed on. Hence, efforts to instil interests in traditional and cultural arts, begins at home – with our own children.
A stoic and poignant observation from my years as a collector; I have known many collectors both locally in Singapore and overseas; it is regrettable to note that throughout a period of 15 years, to date, I keep seeing the same old faces so to speak.
One question that springs to mind is – where are the next generation of collectors and proteges? I do not see new faces taking after them. What of their own children then?
Any established collector should invest time; aside from becoming intimately knowledgeable of his collections and subjects related; towards grooming the next generation of collectors and subject matter experts. I have yet to meet any collectors whose children are groomed as their proteges for the future.
I do not see collectors walking hand in hand with their children, attending exhibitions, book launches, visiting experts or getting involved at public events as passionate cultural activists. What I observe is that the hobby is only relished by the collector alongside his like minded collector friends.
THE BOY AND THE KERIS
At times I do feel that as a collector, I tend to spend more time pursuing my passions, and dedicating myself to my hobby more than with my family.
In retrospect, however I am certain that I maintain a healthy balance between family, hobby and work.
When my son was born, it would be insane if I were to drag him everywhere I went. It would be laborious and an inconvenience to others alongside myself.
Hence I patiently waited for the day my son was able to walk on his own. That was the day that I introduced him into my world. Today, my son; a boy of 3 years of age; is capable of handling a keris and any edged weapons on his own (with my supervision of course). He also has a sharp sense of observation and appreciation for cultural artefacts.
My son would stare, at times for hours, at my display shelves. with an expression of awe and amazement; he does try his luck at opening the display which for obvious safety reasons, are kept locked at all times; makes me wonder what he was thinking of at that time.
CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE
Children pick up traits easily from observing their surroundings. Especially at home. It would be wise to instil positive attributes, interests and virtues while they are still young. Children needs to be inspired before they take off towards a specific direction and interest.
As a parent and a collector, I am obliged to to impart my knowledge, principles and virtues in my children. I do not however expect them to grow up into the adage old saying of being “a chip of the old block” so to speak. I’d settle for them being “the apple does not fall far from the tree” types.
Life is impermanent. As much as it is nice to have like minded friends to associate yourself with, nothing can ever truly replace a harmonious family.
Like keris, it is never complete without its’ parts and components. So too is family. A man is not complete without his spouse and children by his side. Regardless how big a collection, a library or even knowledge a man may possess, he can never be fully satisfied and satiated with just these alone.
On this note, I hope to see the children of fellow collectors taking up the helm of their parents and become the next wave of traditional cultural activists for the next generation. To carry on the legacy of their parents, assuring that the cultural legacy and collections acquired by their parents are preserved and passed on for the benefit of the community. To collectors whom may not yet have any heirs, do consider grooming proteges to take after you.
Till my next post. This is Khairi Johari (Pak JoFe) wishing you well wishes, may you be granted easy passage in life, blessed with health, sustenance, strength through faith and be happy always alongside loved ones. May your prayers of good intent be granted. God Bless!!!