Tuesday, August 01, 2006


"Tank Combat" by Ilham, digital art on MSPaint

I don't know what to do.
Ilham has this obsession with war.
He has been playing this game called "Call of Duty 2" on PS2. It's an rpg, a shoot-em-up game, set during World War 2 (I think, coz there are no missiles yet, but there are tanks and planes).
And there's also Ace Combat 4 and 6 (recently bought), which is again, about war, but this time they are in fighter planes, fighting a fictional enemy in the skies.
Whenever there's a program about war weaponry on Discovery, he'd go "ooh oooh, I want to watch this!!" and he'd oggle at the tanks, the planes, the helicopters. Once, I switched to TCM and there was this old black&white war movie on and Ilham insisted on watching that.
During the school's spring fair in March, he came home lugging a second hand box of Risk. He pored through the rules, watched over the map of the world, putting his armies here, his men on horses there.. pushing them across the borders.
His class had a special assembly where parents could attend and the theme was 'When I grow up'. He chose to be a soldier, "to defend and protect the innocent". He went to school wearing his green khaki pants and his army print t-shirt. He wanted us to buy him a toy machine-gun. I declined his request.
Ilham's folder on the computer is full of his drawings depicting war. Planes shooting each other, droves of tanks rumbling down the road, a train pulling tanks and missle launchers. *shivers*
I admire his interest in learning, I admire his talent in drawing, and I admire his ambition to be a protector, but I'm starting to worry, coz he is OBSESSED.

I try to show him the realities of war. Making him watch the coverage of what is going on in Gaza and South Lebanon. That the injuries and death and devastation are very real. That when there's a war, it's not just the soldiers that are dying. Sometimes civilians die too. Sometimes children die.
And even when it's the soldiers that die, they are also somebody's son/daughter, somebody's brother/sister, somebody's husband/wife, somebody's father/mother.
I try to tell him that the effects of war does not end at the battlefield. The efffects transcends geographical location and time. People's whole lives are changed. A whole country is changed. The whole world is changed.
I don't know if I'm getting through him.

"Shattered Skies" by Ilham, digital art on MSPaint

Should I be worried? Is this just a phase?
Who or what am I raising here?


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