Quite often I see an apology in the newspapers for some news item wrongly reported, or see a lawyer movie where the slick lawyer says, “I’m sorry your honour!’ But in both cases, I know it was either the fear of litigation or repercussions from His Lordship that brought on the apology but fear!

A few days ago I had seen a man plucking flowers in the garden below and had yelled at him, and my action had been bothering me. Today I decided to handle it. I walked to him, overtook him, then turned to him and said, “I’m sorry!”

 “What’s that?” asked the little child pointing to a huge shell on the ground.

 “It’s a shell, with a snail inside it!” I explained. We both looked at it awhile, and slowly I saw the snail’s head coming out and two beady eyes looking at us. Then the snail, slowly started it’s journey across my garden.

 “But if it’s not careful, a bird can grab it by the head!” shouted the child fearfully, looking at the sparrows and crows around.

My wife, a medical doctor, is quite strict about the sweets I am allowed to have, and when she does give me permission, laughs as I take it, sit on my favourite rocking chair, and relish the delicacy!

 “Why are you closing your eyes?” she asks chuckling away.

It’s a small showpiece dagger I hold in my hand, a present from the Mayor of Batangas in the Philippines, when I’d visited the country many years ago. He was a young mayor and I heard quite a gangster and war lord. There was a reception at the mayor’s palace that evening and one had to see the place to believe the luxury the rich live in, but below everything was the undercurrent of violence which the dagger in my hand personifies.

Laws like sedition and abetment to suicide are used conveniently by the police to harass the public. And because cunning people know such laws can be used to land you in jail, they threaten you with them. “I am going to commit suicide!”

 “What? For this small amount of money?”