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Send In The Clowns: 90 second read by Farriz Mashudi 16/05/21

The circus was coming to town!

Sounds Enid Blyton-y, doesn’t it? ‘Archaic’, that’s the word. Of another era—Who goes to the circus these days?

Then again, who needs to anymore?

Everywhere you turn, the madness of the big top overwhelms us on the News. From covid to conflicts, running circles ‘round governments, certain pockets of our species feel they’re above it all: whether it’s the law, or disease (they must think they’re immune somehow?), or showing off mega heavy-weight defence systems that few other countries could ever afford let alone the persecuted adjacent to them next door. Are some amongst us truly entitled? Or is it a myth they tell themselves —the clever, and the really not— all rationalising and justifying alike, as if it makes whatever they do, alright. Because it doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t, does it?

Those who are smarter, rolling in more moolah, cleverer at organising themselves, have got themselves more powerful friends … Is this what makes them the good guys?

My Dad’s old boss was a clown, you know.

—Really?

Yes, Mummy and Papi called him ‘Dobo’. Like Dobo The Clown, you know?

“Oh, my,” I say to myself, eavesdropping on the kids again. ‘Dobo’ was code for plain bodoh, the word for ‘stupid’ in Malay. Which he was; and the last push, as well, in a long list of factors which led to our self-exile.

When she was a little girl, my mother, she, told me, she really hated clowns.

—But why?

Now she’s grown up, she says she’s married to one.

They laugh, even at that age: a tender five and six. Said clown was my neighbour. A loving father at home, and trusted colleague at work. For signing a petition against a presiding dictator, he and thousands who’d done the same were forced to flee. And here I am clowning around about Malaysia and Venezuela.

It isn’t funny, I know.

I’m well aware of the sad, tragic state the world is in … Clown Couture on the catwalks of fashion capitals and in lesser streets across the globe, resonates. We want to be happy, but how?

A Broadway classic comes to mind. As Sinatra, Judy Collins and Streisand were wont to sing—

Where are the clowns?

There ought to be clowns?

Photo credits: (1)Frank Cone (2)Gratisography (3)Saeed Karimi (4)Ravi Roshan

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