Honesty Carries Kindness – and Open Speech
By morning, Afiq knew what he had to do. He had not slept a wink but had sat in the verandah all night thinking. He stretched his stiff body and went back to his room. His brother Affin was still asleep.
It was Saturday and there was no school. Afiq’s mother asked him to run some errands for her. On his way out, he glanced at his motorcycle which was parked at the side of the house. There was no hiding the broken front lamp and the dent and scratches on the side. Afiz squared his shoulders and went to complete his errands.
It was late morning before Afiq was free to carry out his plan. He marched down the road to Than Haji Osman’s house. When he arrived and called out the customary greeting, Hajjah Aniya appeared at the doorway and greeted him warmly. She invited him in and served him tea and some cakes. Afiq nervously asked to speak to Tuan Haji Osman. She told him that Tuan Haji was out but would be home very soon. Sure enough, the elderly man returned in ten minutes.
Afiq cleared his throat a few times while his host waited patiently. Finally, he blurted out that he had come to own up. ‘I’m so sorry. I was careless yesterday and knocked into your parked car in front of the post office,’ Afiq said.
Tuan Haji Osman looked at the 17-year-old youth, surprised. ‘So, you are saying that you are the culprit who dented my car and then ran away?’
Afiq went red. He nodded. ‘I’m sorry for not telling you earlier. I was too frightened.’
The elderly man smiled and said, ‘But you’re not too frightened to confess now?’
Afiq said uncertainly, ‘I could not sleep last night thinking about it. I knew I had to do the right thing.’
Tuan Haji Osman was silent for a minute before saying in a kind voice, `You think that it is the right thing to cover up for your brother?’
Afiq went pale. `I …I…you know the truth?’ he stammered.
Tuan Haji Osman smiled, `Yes, Affin told me himself just half an hour ago.’
The elderly man explained that Affn had met him at the tea stall and told him everything, how he had ridden his elder brother’s motorcycle without permission and lost control of it, resulting in the minor accident that dented Tuan Haji Osman’s new car.
Afiq now looked beseechingly at his host, `Will my brother is arrested?’
‘Ah, I see, you are trying to protect your brother. No, I will not be reporting the accident. It’s just a small dent.’ Seeing Afiq’s relieved expression, he went on, `However, I hope that your brother will learn from this. As for you, remember that it is unwise to hide the truth.’
Afiq thanked Tuan Haji Osman for his kindness and then set off home happily. He was glad the truth was known. His brother’s courage in making a clean breast of everything made him happy and proud. He knew he could look forward to a good night’s sleep.