We Need To Talk About Pandir, by dlo
Based on the Malay Classic Literature & Folk Tale, Pak Pandir.
Pandir [pan.dir]: Foolish; stupid; idiot.
“Bathe the child” Andeh said. “It’s freezing cold. Use the water I’m boiling in the cauldron” she said again. Just a quick trip to the market, Andeh left Pandir to look after their newborn child. A baby– so delicate, so precious.
Pandir quickly got to work. Without thinking much, he dip his daughter in the boiling cauldron. “You look so happy” he said to the frantically screaming baby. It didn’t take long for the scream to turn into complete silence. And Pandir thought that his child is only sleeping.
Andeh came home that day to a dead baby.
And just like that, whispers abound. News travelled fast;
“The infamous village idiot killed his own child”
“Well what do you know, he’s so stupid he killed his own daughter”
“No way he’s that stupid, it’s the devil. The devil has gotten into him!”
“How can Andeh ever forgive him?”
“He pretends he’s stupid, but he’s actually the walking devil himself”
“No lah, he really is an idiot. That’s why everyone calls him Pandir. You can’t call him Pandir and expect him to not be stupid. It’s just a careless mistake”
“How can a person be that stupid? I’m telling you, he’s doing it on purpose– the child is a sacrifice for the devil!”
“There is no devil!!”
“Yes, there is!”
“No! He’s just stupid, and so are you!”
“You watch your mouth! The devil is real, and Pandir worships it”
“How many times do I have to tell you that Pandir is just stupid, and it was a mistake??”
“I’m not buying that story. It’s definitely the devil.”
“It’s a mistake. He’s stupid”
“It’s the devil. He’s not that stupid”
And the argument goes on and on. Till the end, no one knows for sure. The universe is very forgiving; and just like how the rain washes the earth clean, time rains down all memory of Pak Pandir’s murder. No one knows why. The story is passed down years after years and becomes a comedic folk tale instead. Who cares if he accidentally killed a child? He was just a stupid person anyway. But perhaps stupidity is the ultimate devil itself.