Watching the News

When we were kids, we never bothered to watch the news. To us, they were too negative. It wanted to show us how scary and dangerous the outside world could be. It helped parents weave up a cautionary tale to stop us from playing after dark, but as children, we had faith. We refused to believe that the world could be so terrible.

So we drowned it out. When we eat dinner with our family, and their eyes are glued to the screen showing the death toll, our eyes were glued to the food. But now, I’m part kid and part adult, and I think I understand now why adults watch the news.

It’s because at one point in their life, they were part of a high school batch that graduated and drifted apart. They were part of a community formed out of similar interests that doesn’t stick to one place. They have friends and acquaintances scattered all over the world.

And now, I do too.

It’s hard to keep track of 150+ batchmates, and a dozen more friends outside school. So when the news flashed “Japan” and “earthquake” on the headlines, I panic, rummaging my head for information – do I know someone in Japan? I search for Instagram pictures, tweets, and Facebook statuses in my head.

In a few months, I will have friends in Canada, America, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong… They’re everywhere, and the world is “dark and full of terrors”. So I keep my eyes glued on the screen, waiting for a familiar surname to be called, a familiar face to be shown behind the reporter, praying to God that they won’t show up, that they’re safe from this horror show called ‘reality’.

But praying can only do so much. Eventually, our deepest fear will come true – we will lose someone we know and we’ll find out in the news. Our innocent days of having our eyes glued on the food, and of drowning out reality… are over.

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