When The Lion King was released, I was 8 years old. I watched it day and night. I remember myself pleading with my mom and dad to buy it for me. Yes, we still bought movies and cartoons back in 1994, and they came on something like this…
I still remember the advertisement on TV, with its base and promising voice saying, ‘Coming Soon on your home video!’ And no, nothing was a click away back then. (Jesus, how the world’s changed in 32 years!) Forgive me for sounding a bit too patronising there.
Funny though, as what inspired me to write today’s blog was listening to soundtracks from The Lion King and Mulan whilst commuting this morning (on a pen-drive!)
Getting to the point… why Cartoons?
Because I fell in love with The Lion King the moment I watched it for the first time. Because I watched it day and night (I said that already, right?). I knew it all by heart and used to ‘tell’ it in front of the mirror or the cooling fan in my bedroom – mostly because I liked the way my voice sounded when I spoke to the cooling fan. (Oh, now we have Air-Conditioners… right!). I used to look at Simba and wonder how it felt to lose your dad at such a young age. And I remember praying fervently to God to protect both my parents and give them strength. (and there I am, finally getting to the point).
The Lion King prepared me for what was to come… It prepared me for the next 10 years, when the lion of our household: my dad, my very own Mufasa, had his heart seizure. For the next 9 years he was a living example of not giving up and Carrying Your Own Cross with the Lord. In those 9 years, particularly during the harsh times of secondary school, I also met Mulan. I used to watch her, day after day, as she struggled to live up to her country’s expectations by replacing her father who, due to unforeseen physical health issues, couldn’t go to war and defend his country. Not only was it illegal to do that in Chinese culture (cartoons have a lot of cultural and historical lessons for us all, you know?) but it was also a scandal to think that a woman should go to war. But Mulan had little other choice than deal with it. I’ll make a man out of you is still one of my favourite karaoke songs.
And then I was back here, couple of weeks ago talking to my wife about cartoons. She pointed out how the way a cartoon or book attracts children is very significant. Mulan fought the same battles I did in my teenage years – no wonder I watched that cartoons over and over.
So if you feel an unstoppable attraction to some story, no matter how often you read or watch it over and over again, then it is maybe time to sit down and watch it more closely: it is definitely trying to tell you something about yourself. It wants to help. And before you frown at your children or teenagers for falling in love with a cartoon, movie or – hopefully – a book… be careful! It could be talking to them more than you are!
Remember, what you see in the movies and cartoons may well be fiction, but it is definitely not entirely untrue. Reality forms fiction, and in turn fiction continues to drive reality like a creative wheel.
Be cautious, be vigilant, and don’t stop looking.
Your answers might not be as far and distant as you believe!