An (Almost) Unrepentant ‘Oldboy’ Returns

‘Oldboy’ (2013), like the ‘elder’ (2003) version, tells a cautionary tale of vengeance and regret. Yes, vengeance does not lead to satisfaction, but to bitter regret. Harming others, being just as bad (or worse), even if with a sense of ‘justice’, does not make you feel good. It will haunt yourself with guilt instead. Powered by the poison of hatred, is thought of vengeance not already excessive?

A selfish man (or ‘old boy’) was mysteriously imprisoned for twenty years as a milder ‘uninterrupted hell’… seemingly to force him to reflect and repent on his past thoughts, words and deeds that might have led him there. Angry at first, and despondent later, he finally decides to work out, to prepare for the day he is able to leave. Indeed, there can be spiritual redemption, even if physically trapped.

Just as mysteriously, he is freed one day. However, instead of seeking the reasons for his capture and release calmly, he seeks vengeance rashly. Delusion unresolved continues to punish. His torture thus continues, with unexhausted negative karma. Karma is always ‘personally’ exacting, even if it seems disproportionate at times, with more or other negative karma involved than realised.

Another key lesson… Gossip can spread like plague and prove deadly. Even if truthful, not all truths need to be told, especially if tactlessly. Why ‘Old Boy’? It refers to one once from a school, also referring to the man yet to really grow up by learning well. It is a sentimental term, that is also admonition. If taken in the wrong spirit, feeling insulted, one is an old boy (or girl) indeed! May all grow up in time.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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