SURESH RAMPHUL

Father: What did you tell your mother?

Son (A Grade 10 student in a government college): What did I tell her?

Father: Stop playing the fool.

Son: I’m not playing the fool.

Father: Come on, tell me the truth.

Son: I didn’t say anything.

Father: Why is your mom on the verge of tears? She says you told her something hurtful.

Son: She must be joking.

Father: No! She isn’t!

Son : What is she saying about me?

Father: “Look at your face!” Why did you tell her that?

Son: I got angry.

Father: Why did you get angry?

Son: She’s exasperating. Always asking questions. I’m fed up. I come home late. She starts asking questions. I do not clean my room. Questions again. She reprimands me. I go out with my friends. She disapproves. What do you want me to do?

Father: You’ve no right to talk to her this way. What’s wrong with her face? Where did you pick this vulgar expression from?

Son : At school.

Father : At school?

Son: Yes. Everybody is talking about it at school.

Father: What are they saying?

Son: They’re saying that the Speaker in the Parliament has told this to a member of the opposition.

Father: You cannot use this kind of language with your mom.

Son: If the Speaker can use this kind of language, why can’t I?

Father: I’m telling you, it is bad language. You mother says you’ve said it to her again and again. She feels hurt. She’s now refusing to eat and drink. She’s in a pathetic state.

Son: I didn’t know it was unacceptable language.

Father: I’m telling you it is. It’s not because the Speaker says it that you must say it too.

Son: He’s a role model. I’m only following in his footsteps.

Father: It’s wrong.

Son: Our teacher says we must watch Parliamentary Channel instead of films to get ideas and to increase our knowledge of the Constitution.

Father: Stop watching it from now on. Young minds are being corrupted by insults and lies.

Son: But I like watching this Channel.

Father: Why?

Son: I like to see them quarrelling and shouting. I like to see the Speaker saying “Order!” “Order!” and when no one listens to him, he gets into a rage. It’s humourous. He reminds me of Mr. B…. I enjoy it. And, often, you know, this Channel is an ideal way to help me doze off.

Father: Watch something else from now on. This Channel is losing its respectability because of the kind of things they do in the Parliament. The fact that you’ve picked up the Speaker’s words and used them against your mother is proof that Parliament is having a negative effect on the young. We’re supposed to be learning good things from the Parliament, not bad things. You must apologize to your mom.

Son : I’ll not.

Father : Why not?

Son : If the Speaker himself doesn’t, why should I?

Father : Day by day you’re losing your manners. Just like him.

Son: Dad, he’s my hero.

Father (scandalized, at a loss for words)

Son: I like him. He’s powerful, like Superman. He can do what no one else can.

Father: You’re learning terrible things from your friends.

Son: They’ve themselves learnt it from the Speaker. Our teacher says we must learn from adults.

Father: Listen to me. You must learn from adults but take what is good, reject what is shit. And stop taking people in the Parliament as role models. Our Parliament is getting worse and worse. The worst thing about some of our politicians is that they think Parliament is their property. They’re setting a bad example. Concerning television, I’m telling you again to stop watching Parliamentary Channel. Watch student channels instead. You understand?

Son(aggressively) : Look at your face!