Peanuts Over A Party

Azen was known among his friends to be very hospitable. Yes, he was slightly more affluent than his neighbours, but he would not shy from offering help and care for the weaker ones.

He would often open his house up for parties, so that people around him could experience some fun and laughter (and of course good food and drinks). It carried on for so many years that many of the neighbours’ kids thought his act was a given.

Thankfully, their parents taught them otherwise.

Azen’s hospitality grew so well-known that people outside of the neighbourhood began to join in the fun. Nobody objected, because they also enjoyed learning about people who come from far away lands; their languages, their beliefs and culture helped add colour to the parties and the neighbourhood.

Sometimes, some far away guests would suggest to add something new to the party. For example, someone brought helium balloons and everybody had a ball of a time breathing the helium sang to holiday tunes.

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Of course, there were people who had a tad too much drink and the neighbourhood police had to escort the troublemaker away.

And then, there were those who came into Azen’s house and insisted that he held the party according to their needs.

“No fries, please. The existence of fries will cause allergic reactions to my son.”said one. “I specially brought my son to experience the party that everybody talks about! I really want him to enjoy the party.”

A neighbour offered a solution, like having a no-fries room in the house, where The Son could be safe at. But no, The Father said his son must be at the main party and so, the main party must conform to his needs.

Azen agreed to his request and held a party customised to The Son. Alas! The Father and The Son wanted to stay for another party, and the others were feeling uneasy. They did not really enjoy the last party because there was no fries that many enjoyed.

Another neighbour suggested to offer food separately; there would be section of the food table that would be labelled “No Fries”. But no, The Father said The Son would react to the fries particles in the air.

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“Well, there was an elderly man living down the street who could not eat beef, but he still came nonetheless. He just refrained from touching the beef.” said another neighbour.

But no, The Father insisted (but not without first accusing that neighbour of being apathetic to his son’s condition). “People who wants to eat fries should eat at another house, away from my son.”

Azen gave in again, and held another party, also customised for The Son. The original party-goers were unhappy and pressured Azen to stop hosting The Father and The Son.

“They will leave.” said Azen, hopefully. “When they realise we can’t really cater to their needs totally, or they will grow to adapt to our love for fries.”

Of course, Azen was being too hopeful. They neither left nor adapt to the habits of the original party-goers.

The Father next demanded Azen to use all-new cutlery because the old ones were contaminated with fries.

Azen’s neighbours helped speak up for Azen, but the negotiations stalled. One night, a mysterious person threw a stone at Azen’s window and broke it. The next night, his power cable was cut. On another morning, he found dog’s poo at his doorstep.

After some of these wicked acts, Azen would receive a note in his mailbox to tell him that all those bad stuff happened because he was being mean and insensitive to The Son. Everyone suspected it was The Father (or his friends) who committed the acts, but there was no concrete evidence. The Son, too, claimed that he and his father were innocent parties. They didn’t mean harm, he said. They just wanted to have fun at Azen’s house. He should not have to bear the burden of sins committed by his empathisers.

One fine day, Azen thought enough is enough. He asked The Father and The Son not to join his party. He could not change his party just because of 2 persons; what about the others who enjoyed the party as it was?

The Father was furious and accused Azen of bigotry. He rounded his friends from far away lands to organise protest on Azen’s lawn. Azen could no longer hold any parties like in the past.

Yes, the party was ruined, because someone insisted on having it his way.

The Father forgot he was just a guest and the owner had the right to refuse entry or demand that his guests conformed to rules in his house.

The Father had a serious issue of a sense of self-entitlement. However, he failed to see that and was empowered by his equally self-entitled friends.

What should we do to help Azen? What should we do to prevent people like The Father from bullying others who were kind and hospitable?

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