Sunday, 12 February 2012

LIFE OVERSEAS: Give with a cheerful heart

IN Malaysia, Biology classes include a dissection of animals. In most schools, it is a frog or a mouse.
I first witnessed a dissection at a Science exhibition in my school in Malaysia when I was in Form One.
A mischievous student tugged at the chloroformed frog‘s tongue, yanked it to its maximum length and pinned it onto a dissection board.
From that day onwards, I looked forward to my own personal experience of  slicing a frog open and poking at its organs.
That dream did not waver when I moved to a school in Ireland.
My highly awaited moment arrived when the teacher announced that a dissection class would be held in a week‘s time.
“Which animal would we be examining?“
As I was expecting either a frog or a mouse, the teacher‘s reply gave me a shock.
We were to cut open a sheep‘s heart.And we had to buy it from the butcher! Each heart costs about RM3.
The following week, we entered the laboratory with plastic bags of the organ. Some even brought spares!
Some students were nauseated and were not even able to lay their eyes on the bloody mass whereas others were jumping with excitement.
Equipped with a pair of rubber gloves and a scalpel each, we began to slice the hearts open.
One of our tasks was to differentiate between the main blood vessels. We traced our fingers on each blood vessel to determine the chamber it led to.
After class, several thoughts dawned on me.
The heart is the most important organ in humans and animals but the sheep‘s heart is only worth a mere RM3. The money could easily be spare change in your pocket.
As Valentine‘s Day is approaching, it made me think about the value of a heart. It is not just an organ that pumps blood around the body. It plays a bigger role in life as it is associated with love.
But, in today‘s society, the definition of “love“ differs between people.
Thanks to songs, movies and other influences, love may be confused with lust.
Or worse, the word “love“ may have lost its meaning.
Just as I had to distinguish the pulmonary artery from the aorta, can we differentiate between love and lust?
Love is not selfish, it is not for your own benefit, but for that of others.
On Valentine‘s Day, many people long for gifts.
It could be a flower, a cupcake, a balloon or even just a simple wish.
All of these fall under a person‘s wants which indirectly make them selfish.
Make this year different by giving instead of receiving.
Give with a cheerful heart without any hidden intentions.
So take time to list those dear to your heart and give them a hug or tell them you love them.
You can even surprise the most important woman in your life — your mother — by giving her a bouquet of flowers.
If we all begin to love, won‘t this be a changed world?

The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart.

Read more: LIFE OVERSEAS: Give with a cheerful heart - General - New Straits Times

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