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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The boys in Little Boy's class devised a game of catch that they've named Virus. Little Boy thinks it is the most exciting version of Catch ever! The boys get to run anywhere in the school that they want... which kinda turns it into action that comes right out of a spy movie where one needs to elude the bad guys.

The game starts with 2 Viruses who set out to catch the other boys. Once you're caught, you turn i.e., you become a Virus. The winner is the last one to be caught. For days before PSLE, Little Boy's whole class played Virus at recess and he came home to regale me with tales of how he eluded capture and how he had contrived to catch others.

"Trust no one" said Little Boy in sepulchral tones and large serious eyes... but with a giggle hiding at the back of his throat. See, when the game starts, the boys run off in pairs (for company, I guess). On one occasion, little M was Little Boy's companion. In the heat of the chase, the 2 boys got separated and Little Boy was caught and turned into a Virus. Little M had successfully eluded his captors by being really fleet-footed. Unfortunately for loyal and faithful Little M, he came back for Little Boy, and Little Boy caught him.

"Trust no one." said Little Boy seriously again "I made the same mistake as Little M once before."

The moment a partner has gone out of your sight for even a moment, there is absolutely no guarantee that he'll still be human when you see him again. Little Boy can't run very fast so he employed subterfuge to elude predators and more subterfuge to catch his prey.

Once, he saw 2 boys from afar. One was ready to take off in the other direction. The other stayed behind to assess if Little Boy was dangerous. Instead of running, Little Boy sauntered up to the boy who was waiting around and began chatting nonchalantly. The one who had run off then decided that Little Boy was not a Virus, and came back. And so, Little Boy caught 2 boys together.

However, if you're a human, trying to run away from Viruses, then you should do the counter-intuitive thing by running TOWARDS the Viruses as if to catch them. Then they'll think you're a Virus too and will leave you quite alone. After a while, as feint turned into subterfuge and back into a feint, everyone was on high alert. Hearts beating. Pulses racing. Danger lurked at every corner of the school buildings.

"It's so easy to win isn't it? All ya gotta do is hide somewhere until everyone else has been caught?" said I.

It turns out that Little Boy had tried that trick once and then decided that playing the game was worth more than winning it. "What is the use of winning the game if you have to fall asleep behind the flower pot whilst every one else is running around having tons of fun eh, Mom?"

Ok... I am sure readers will agree with me that there is in Little Boy's last statement an important life lesson... which I can't quite put a finger on, but I do know it is valuable and important... and it DIDN'T come from any MOE syllabus, nor was it tested in the PSLE.


Wen-ai said...

Yup, Little Boy is absolutely right! Being the winner is actually no fun at all. ;)

Blur Ting said...

I think the kids are brilliant to invent a game like that!

We have a Jack russell in our neighbourhood named Virus. We think it's such a cute name for a dog!

Petunia Lee said...

Wen-Ai: Yup!

Petunia Lee said...

Ting - A dog named Virus? He must really grow on people eh?

Celine said...

Little Boy is correct. Being the winner and not participating in the Virus game (life in general) is lonely.... not to mention that falling asleep behind the plant is boooooorrring!

Humans need to play with other humans to be more fully human :). Trust the kids to come up with games that teach winning is not all. Much food for thought.

Petunia Lee said...

Celine - Welcome back! I missed reading your comments!! A profound discovery even at my age... that to savour the richness of what life has to offer, one must not fear to lose... and that sometimes, it may be smarter to lose.

Celine said...

Chey... even at your age indeed... the thoughts on your blog sound very young to me ;)