No Shades!

Solo man seated in front of a window of an empty restaurant, overlooking Lake Wakatipu of Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. Taken in Mercure Queenstown Resort.

Liam and his friends were out and about after work, when they came across Azen. From afar, Liam knew there was something wrong about this guy, but he could not put his finger on the issue.

As they approached the mild-mannered man, Liam knew what was driving him to see red.

Solo man seated in front of a window of an empty restaurant, overlooking Lake Wakatipu of Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. Taken in Mercure Queenstown Resort.

“Hey, why are you wearing shades?” Liam stopped the poor guy in his tracks.

“May I know what is the issue?” Azen asked, without removing his shades.

Liam stepped closer to Azen, nose up in the air, and said, “You are wearing sunglasses, it’s unnatural, that’s why.”

“Well, there are people who wear glasses walking around us…” Azen gestured to the passerbys around him nonchalently.

“You are wearing sunglasses! They don’t!” Liam was exasperated at Azen’s brazen attitude, even when Azen was being pointed out his wrongdoing. How slow can Azen get?!

“Well, I’ve been wearing it since the start of the day.”

Of course, Azen did not think there was anything wrong with him.

“It’s normal to wear sunglasses in the day, but abnormal to do it at night!”

“I don’t think I need to explain my preference to you.”

“Oh yea? You are walking around brazenly, showing off your unnatural preference, and you dare say I have no right?” Liam poked at Azen’s chest, trying very hard to hint to the latter that he was about to escalate this conflict if Azen refuses to repent.

Azen tried to walk away, but he was blocked by Liam and gang. “You are hurting public sensitivities here, so I, representing the public’s interest, have the right to stop you from hurting other people’s feelings.”

And then, Liam started bashing Azen to punish him for wearing shades at night.

“Since you like to put something on your eyes, why not put this on?” Liam shoved a piece of rock into Azen’s eyes.

Yet amidst the laughter of Liam’s gang and Azen’s cry of despair, there was no voice to make all of this stop.


Well, this was an impromptu piece, inspired by an article I read in the past week, whereby a teenage boy was bullied to death (literally!) in Malaysia. The bullies were also young men, who were misguided in their lives. How so? They were influenced from young by toxic ideology originated from the adults in their lives. The adults propagated ideas to discriminate and bully people who do not conform to their world views; they taught the children of their social circles to be hostile towards people who are “different”, be it in terms of skin colour, religion, body shapes, sexual preferences, dress sense, social class, gender etc.

It seem apparent to many of us out here that there is a link between reinforcing such negative ideology and the deaths of many innocent souls, but many of those fanning ideas of hatred refused to accept this link. They are blind to the fact that their very act of supporting discrimination was the root cause of all the unnecessary deaths faced by bullied teenagers (and civilian deaths of armed conflicts) all over the world.

I wanted to write about something bright and cheery to show support for Pride Month, but I thought such a story will resonate more with others. We should call out acts of bullying and stop the propagation of misguided ideology by promoting education of science and reasoning.

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Silhouette set against the sunset.

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