38 comments on “Sacrifice

  1. John

    What a befitting article on a subject such as this, to celebrate Mother’s Day!
    A mother’s love and sacrifice from the hand that rocks the cradle.

    Aung San Suu Kyi – like a Mother Earth to her country – her life story is one that has universally stirred emotions of utmost admiration and respect. Not many of us can live up to her level of self-sacrifice for the love and the convictions that she has for a better life of her people.

    However. We, as people of lesser and less convictions and may not have matters of such immense dimensions, make sacrifices daily. Little sacrifices here and there everyday – nevertheless, still sacrifices. I attribute this mostly to mothers.

    “A mother’s love is Unconditional and Forever” says an Irish proverb.
    And may I add, Sacrificial more often than not.

    I learnt about and experienced a mother’s sacrifice from my own beloved mother.
    As far as I can analyse, she has sacrificed her whole life to her children.
    Everything she did was for them, almost negating what she herself wanted to do.
    She worked all day (so that the family could have more money)
    She cooked the best food…she mended…she planted the most beautiful garden…she took care of everything domestic….she scolded and nagged to make sure we kids were growing up in the best way…..
    Never was she seen out with friends etc.

    I myself am rather sacrificial too, but not as much as my dear mum…..I still went out for Aam gatherings, didn’t I? 😀

    If I’m not wrong, the practice of sacrifice is more of a thing of the past when people then believed in upholding qualities like honour, integrity, selflessness, honesty, principles etc.

    It’s a shame. We can do with more people believing and practising such higher values.

  2. I needed time to ponder and self-examine over your question:

    “”…would we be willing to endure a lifelong separation from our family in the service of a cause that we deem to be more noble?”

    At first, I thought my answer is “maybe”.
    After pondering for some time, I think my answer is “yes, I would”.
    – But when I was younger.. when I was more idealistic about my feelings, ideas and passions.

    To me – Causes were important. The reasons why I did things were important.
    Believing in something strongly was important. Sacrificing for the common good was important.

    I still uphold my beliefs but now I think it’s more of: the spirit is willing but the flesh has gone rather tired la hahahaha… 😀

  3. Such an appropriate post for Mother’s Day. Have never closely followed the story of Aung San Suu Kyi before so this is quite a revelation for me. What an inspirational and courageous woman! Thanks, John for doing this article.

    Indeed a mother’s love is unconditional and forever, Trace. Never has the meaning of sacrifice means more until one becomes a mother.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!

  4. Trace and Shirley
    Happy Mother’s Day to both of you 🙂

    In my opinion women are made of far stronger stuff then they are given credit for. They may not have bulging muscles or be able to lift boulders (although I have seen many women who will put puny men like me to shame!) but they have the kind of strength that matters the most – devotion, spiritual, perseverance, steadfastness and an obstinacy (sometimes carried to the perverse extreme!) that allows them to withstand all manner of bitterness very often in defense of their family in particular children.
    I have read about so many cases of women having to work at 2-3 jobs to clothe, house and feed their children single handedly because their husbands have abandoned them.
    It takes an extraordinary kind of strength and courage to shoulder the immense burden as these women have done.I think there’s a saying in China that the country was literally built on the backs of women who provided a huge amount of muscle power in it’s development.

    Aung San Suu Kyi and women like her have my eternal respect and admiration for their amazing strength of mind and character to walk the talk in the face of abominable circumstances.
    She and her kind are my modern day heroes. Far stronger than a whole legion of Avengers superheroes put together 🙂

  5. John

    Agree with you totally about the mental, and elso the emotional, strength of the female gender over men.

    To go further, I would like to attrubute that strength even more to the Hakka women who are characterised by their toughness, independence and strong character.
    And generally, they are much stronger mentally and emotionally, than their men.

    The women worked in the fields (in old China) and also attended to all the domestic chores.
    Whereas the men spent much of their time strutting around tea rooms holding their bird cages and having their pet bird sing to them.

    My own family is pure Hakka, including me.
    And I have observed certain truths in that belief.
    Not that the Hakka men are wimps – but the women definitely have stronger characters.

    A good example is my Hakka grandparents who migrated here from China.
    My memory of my grandpa is that he used to spend all his time in the garden, with a perpetual smile on his face, partaking no domestic arguments or problems of any kind, and looked like he had not a care in the whole wide world.

    My grandma did practically everything and she had to look after 7 children too with no domestic help!!

    Physicall, God made the men stronger. But he gave all the other aspects of strength to the women, that’s for sure. 🙂
    Thank you dear God, for not giving me bulging muscles!! 😀

  6. Shirley

    Happy Mother’s Day to you too!
    And all the other mothers!

    All of us mothers are going to be showered with love and presents this weekend! Wheeee……!!
    And do we dang deserve it!!! 😀

  7. John, once again, thanks for an interesting article. 🙂

    I guess all these children of highly influential leader of the country some how followed their parent’s footsteps by entering into politics and trying to make a better world. Parents really do play an important role in raising up children, a good example cited by Trace in her comments. My mom and my grandma are my role model and hero, too! 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!!

  8. John

    Something else you said:
    About women who abandon their marriage for a greater goal…and to fulfil their dreams…

    Have you seen films like “The Hours” which is made up of 3 stories – the part with Julianne Moore in it…where she abandoned her husband and sacrificed her little boy (prob about 8 years old) to fulfil her own dreams and to live the kind of life she needed to live…she never regretted it at the end and said something like:
    “I chose to live.”

    Another film that comes to mind is Kramer vs Kramer where Meryl Streep abandons her child…I can’t remember the reason why she did it…

    As you said, the decision to make that “sacrifice” could have been made rightly or wrongly – it is the power of the conviction that consumed these women.

  9. Trace

    If I remember it correctly in Kramer vs Kramer, Meryl Streep’s character came back for her son and she had to go to the courts which in the end granted her custody. I saw that movie and it was heartbreaking to see that little boy pulled in two directions like that.
    The courts, including Malaysian ones, have always given the mother more consideration when it comes to child custody battles which, in my opinion, isn’t always the better decision. An example is the recent case in Malaysia (which is very similar to the story in Kramer vs Kramer) when the mother having split from the father moved to London only to 10 years later came back to Malaysia to get her daughter back. The courts granted her full custody which I thought was a really stupid decision on the part of the high court judge and it resulted in a prolonged tussle between mother and father because the daughter refused to go live with the mother. The father was consequently fined RM400.00 for every day that he did not return the girl to her mother.
    Can you imagine the heartache, anguish plus the financial strain that all parties were going thru at this point? I think the courts made the asinine decision to grant the mother full custody simply because they were going with the conventional wisdom that children are better off with their mothers. This may be true most of the time but not always I feel.

    I am reluctant to debate on the moral ethics of parents abandoning their families. First of all I don’t have children and although I can imagine the stress and strain of caring for a family I can never say for sure that I truly understand it for I have never experienced it nor, I am quite sure, will I ever get to 🙂 For instance you mentioned Julianne Moore’s character saying “I chose to live” as her reason for leaving her family. Was she right or wrong? Maybe she’s a product of the kind of society her character comes from which has a very individualistic mindset. It’s the self that comes first before anyone else. I know that US television always has story lines that emphasizes, or tries to anyway, the ethos that family is all important and that without this nuclear unit you are left with nothing. But the truth is US and I daresay Western society on the whole are very individualistic in nature and it’s often the case where an individual’s needs and aspirations trumps that of the group. So in that context can we say that Julianne Moore’s character was wrong in pursuing her own dreams at the expense of her family’s? I really don’t know.

    In Aung San Suu Kyi’s case, the plight and needs of her country outweighed those of herself and by extension that of her own nuclear family. The ‘family’ of millions of oppressed and brutalized Burmese was her overriding concern and demanded that she subvert all other selfish considerations. Was she right or wrong? Would we have taken the same steps ourselves?

    My heart goes out to her because she paid a heavy price for her choices. She lost her husband to cancer and maybe even her relationship with her eldest son who very pointedly made no attempt to visit her when she was released from house arrest recently unlike her younger son who made the trip to Burma. So her case is vastly different from most women or men who leave their families because they “chose to live”.

  10. John

    Aung San Suu Kyi is of course a rare case because I can’t think of any other woman in history who has made sacrifices of such dimensions.

    However, having said that, if I may speculate, perhaps she never thought of the whole thing as a sacrifice – it is probably a calling for her.
    She has to respond to that calling or she cannot carry on living in a sane way?
    She is consumed by that calling?
    Could she have also said in her heart “I chose to live”?

    But, considering “that calling” (if that is so) has an ingredient of a “nobler” cause – higher than what the other kind of sacrifices made by women all over the world on a daily basis, in every household – is ASSK’s “sacrifice” to be admired much more than the “sacrifices” made by women in their mother and wife roles?

    I can’t say I can answer that question. I just truly admire women, despite their age-old situation of being subjugated and subjected to all kinds of degradation, are still making sacrifices, on a daily basis, how ever small, to create and maintain happier families, and often negating their own needs and desires.

    The word “sacrifice” is almost symbolic for women – women are and were, actually EXPECTED to make sacrifices.
    And they do – for the good and growth of happiness and contentment of others.

    I think a Mother’s Day is so much more significant than a Father’s Day. 🙂
    Ok shoot me! 😀

  11. Bang! Bang! 🙂

    I went to see ‘The Lady’ during the weekend. It was pretty good and I must say Michelle Yeoh was very believable as ASSK. She was tastefully restrained in her emotional displays and the heartbreak that was portrayed during the scenes when her husband’s cancer was discovered was so real that one can truly appreciate the pain that ASSK and her family must have went through during those agonizing moments.A particularly memorable scene was when Michael Aris was in hospital and fading fast and ASSK was on the phone with her younger son imploring him to understand why she could not come to England to see Michael in the hospital. It was truly painful to watch.

    Michelle Yeoh kept her emotions admirably under control much like the real ASSK but there was no doubting the pain and heartbreak. It was a fantastic display of acting chops. A sharp contrast to the OTT histrionics of a certain soap opera that was the ‘rage’ recently 😉

  12. Risen from the Dead…

    Don’t even make me start on that soap opera….
    But then that was a soap opera – and that’s how soap operas go.
    Therefore, David needs to make wiser decisions and not dabble in such things – he is waaay above that…imho.

    Apologies to fans of that genre….:)

  13. I always watched “sacrifice ” video and got cofused simply because while the lyrics are about a married man being unfaithful to his wife,the video goes totally the opposite way.as u said it’s the woman who’s walking out for better things.but what i never got was what kind of career she had that had abandon her family for it? please reply my comment if u r reading this. it’s very important for me..

  14. Hey Nel good to ‘see’ you here 🙂

    That’s the thing with Elton’s video there are some parts that are vague and open to interpretation. The career of the woman is one such question mark. I think it looks like she could be a successful model as there is a scene in the video where she is shown lounging in a luxurious bed. It’s not totally clear what she left her marriage for but that’s the beauty of the video – it leaves you wondering 🙂

  15. That makes sense.I always thougt she had unique beauty to her.so she could be a model and at the end we see her coming out of an upscale building wearing a designer clothes.but it still contradicts the lyrics somehow.i mean if we assume he was cheating on her so she left him and her baby,just doesn’t make any sense..please let me know what do u think?

  16. Hi Archuleta Avenue Msia,

    It’s been a question for me since i watched it over 20 years ago and still is.The video is just brilliant even to this day..full of details and clues..probably we should follow those clue,like the one that the woman is running away with her clothes the guy’s trying to stop her and there is huge”BroadwayHollywood”sign is in there,could be a clue.and as u said the lavish bedroom.the woman leaving a life behind that was in a lower income bracket..etc…and i agree with nel.don’t think there was infidelity involved -at least not from the man-after all she was the one who walked out on her baby…eventhough seems like he keeps pursuing her even after she leaves,writing her letters(that part makes the whole story abit vague)…my favorite part was alway the last scene when the man is dancing with his little girl,probably that’s the part which is open to interpretation:does the daughter who looks exactly like the woman reminds him of her?or is just dancing with his little girl…is just brilliant.please leave me ur reply on my comment .i want to know your opinion.

  17. Nel and Blade runner 🙂

    I don’t feel that there’s any infidelity involved in the video. It’s highly unusual, to be sure, for the woman to do the walking instead of the man but in the video it looks like the woman wanted something more than marriage and kids. Even though she loves her man she was at the same time hungering for something more, something that fulfilled her own needs rather than that of her husband and even her child. Maybe in that situation they got married too young and she felt that she had missed out on a lot in life. Who knows? I am glad you guys find it interesting enough to discuss 🙂

    I too love the closing scene of the video where the man is cradling the girl in his arms and slowly dancing around. It’s both sad and uplifting at the same time.

  18. I’ve always heard “sacrifice”and was never able to interpret it ..at least not enitrely..i only know for a fact it’s a very personal song that Bernie Taupin wrote when he was going true a very painful divorce.It’s talking about his affair but then again the famous verse is”cold cold heart hard done by you”..as if he was the one who got hurt by his spouse…it’s completely cofusing ..anyway.i recently came to watch the music video and like u i was surprised..it has a very unusual approach to break up of a marriage(when the woman heatlessly abandons her newborn to her working class husband for”greener pastures”) my impression is she ran for another man who could porvide her that luxorious life …just turning the table to the woman who betrayed her man and child in worst possible way…

  19. Kate
    You have an interesting take on the video. The notion that the woman could abandon her family for a rich man is a very poor reflection of her even in these more ‘enlightened’ days of women empowerment. The song itself is one of Elton’s more introspective music thanks in large parts to the lyrics of Bernie Taupin who I feel is a very good lyricist.
    You’re right about the ambiguity of the song – it’s multi – layered. It’s story line can be approached from various angles and still makes sense. I think this is what great songs are all about.

  20. Thanks Msia for your prompt reply..but i don’t agree with Kate about the story of the video..no one cheated(betrayed) on another..it’s just they grew apart due their differences.the man is ovbiously struggling artist(not a working class guy)and the woman doesn’t fit to his world..it’s about their differences ..while they still love eachother(in the video they still write to one another ) they somehow were never meant to last as a couple:”somethings looking better baby just passing through”therefore their breakup is “no sacrifice at all”, but ofcourse ther’se one huge sacrifice and it’s their beatuiful daugter.seems like at the end they both finally move on,she is content with her glamorous career/lifestyle and he accepts that life is about him and his daughter now and happily dances with her..imo the affair is not that important in the song,is just a last trigger to ending of a relationship that was already ver shaky”cold cold heart”,Bernie Taupin once said in an interview”the song is about breakup of a marriage where loss of relationship is no sacrifice at all” i guess the songwriter’s explanation tells it all….anyway.i think “sacrifice”is the most multi dimensional Elton john/Taupin work and certainly way above a simple story about infidelity..from this point of veiw the video suits the song perfectly.. i truly appriciate your time

  21. Nel
    Well said. I guess some relationships eventually run their course and there’s nothing that either of the people involved can do to salvage it. They’ve each played their aces and that’s it. The best thing for them is to walk away as friends instead of sticking it out and risk hating each other.
    I think the video is beautifully made. It’s message is subtle without really putting the blame on anyone and is open to interpretation. Like you said it fits the song very well.

    Thanks for your time too Nel, Blade Runner and Kate. Our little discussion on the song and the video has made me see them in a different light 🙂

  22. Hi Msia,
    i found the article very intersting since i’m Elton John’s huge fan and “sacrifice”is one my all time favorites,eventhough i find the song very complicated.but when the song is as complicated as it is why video has to be open to interpretation?the confusing concept of the video for me is the fact that throughout the vid the man tries to show the woman his affection(holding her,trying to stop her from leaving,writing to her even to the last scene)but she keeps rejecting him,gives me an impression that he’s done something wrong and know trying to win her back,but the again why would she leave her baby to a cheater ending up living large and never look back? i agree with u that the video is beautifuly made but why it has to be so confusing?what’s your interpretation of the video? thanks for ur time..

  23. Sami
    The situation with the couple is complicated to say the least 🙂
    My view is that she wants out of the relationship (the reason is unclear and there could be a number of reasons why she wants to leave) almost to the point of desperation and by him trying so hard to hold her back just makes her more determined to leave and maybe even causing her to feel resentment towards him. I really don’t think it’s due to infidelity or that he’s done something wrong otherwise she wouldn’t have left her daughter behind. It’s more likely she feels stifled and unfulfilled in the marriage and she’s at the end of her ropes.

    I think the people who made the video deliberately left it vague so that viewers can interpret the story in different ways.

  24. Hi nel, bladerunner, kate and sami!

    I’m late for the party but I’m very happy to see you guys here.

    Today is the 1st time I’ve watched the EJ vid.
    I managed to work myself into a tangle while trying to read between the lyrics and looking for clues watching the vid.

    First, I think there WAS an act of infidelity on the man’s part:
    -“It’s a human sign when things go wrong
    When the scent of her lingers and temptations strong”
    -“Into the boundary of each married man
    Sweet deceit comes calling and negativity land”

    The woman finds out, becomes disallusioned, ignores him, refuses to be intimate with him and decides to leave.
    -“We lose direction ”

    He pleads with her.
    -“Cold cold heart hard done by you
    Somethings look better baby just passing through”

    She leaves.
    -“It’s 2 hearts living in 2 separate worlds”
    -“Sensitivity builds a prison in the final act”
    -“No tears to damn you when jealousy burns”

    There is alot of vagueness which can be interpreted in many ways.
    But I think all that is symbolism.
    Symbolic of a failed relationship/marriage, where the couple has lost their common direction, drifted apart and one of them prefers to leave.
    In this case, it is the woman who feels the trust has been broken and wants to look for her own happiness elsewhere, and therefore does not consider leaving as a sacrifice.
    The man broke his marriage vows by his infidelity and she broke hers by leaving the family.

    I don’t think the designer clothes or glamorous satin sheets or whatever, are relevant. They probably just represent the “happiness” she found elsewhere.

    He found happiness with his daughter. (yes touching scene, that!)

  25. Trace if there is deceit involved then maybe it’s on the part of the woman. It’s telling that she left her daughter behind. Most women would not do that.

  26. John

    What you say may be true but I have heard of women abandoning their kids to spite their husbands. Not many but there are. Women are not what they used to be.

    At any rate, I think the whole story of the vid could be just based on a failure of a relationship where couples lose their common direction and drift apart, and leaving becomes “no sacrifice”.

  27. Trace, there’s always artistic freedom in terms of interpreting the song.as far as the video there is no indication of the man cheating on the woman.however,seems like she’s unhappy living in less than splendid surrounding(the vid shows her wandering around in some rough neighborhood wearing worn out cloths.living in small apt,etc)so she leaves the man and her baby(it’s against the simplest logics that a mother leaves her baby to a cheating husband,she takes the baby with her)and then it spins it around …long story short,my point is music video is art of images and in order to get the message a viewer must follow the clues: when a young woman gives up raising her baby in not very desirable lifestyle and ends up living a glamorous life,it’s most likely she left for that and not just because the husband was unfaithful…aside from all these in the vid, it’s the man who seems more wounded by break up than the woman ..u can see his pain and loneliness when he angrily tears the woman’s letter.or when he sleeps holding a pillow.etc..i understand your pov.but i also suggest u to watch the vid one more time..and share your opinion with me then. peace,

  28. John,
    You have a valid point,the deceits comes from the woman,and apparently is money.better thing,as they say”greener pastures” and negativity could be as u mentioned in your article”less than splendid surrounding”that she left behind,,somehow the video probably turned the table to the woman..i mean why on earth this man would want to cheat on this woman.imo she is really beautiful and attractive(don’t u think so??),and seems like he truly loves her..to me she “sacrificed” the ones she loved for those”sweet meterilistic deceits”the idea that she left her baby to unfaithful man to take revange sounds absurd to me..Please let me know what do u think.coz this video and it’s story keeps occupying my mind…

  29. Trace,John,Msia
    Well ilve never an Elon john fan(iDavid Archuleta brought me here)this song was release before i was bon…but all the discussion about the song and the music video made me to read the lyrics and watch the video..i have to say the lyrics is talking about a pretty serious affair ,more of a married man falling in love with another woman(scent of her lingers)and( definitely not just a passing fling.”negativity lands”sounds like the man is not contented with his wife(could be boredom , the woman’s appearance,etc..)somehow the lyrics is very harsh.but the question is does the lyrics completely is inline with the music video?The guy not being contented with the woman!(i find her quite pretty,but probably it’s just my opinion ha?).but most importantly why she would ditch her baby? that makes her the irresponsible one in relationship,even if he hurt her it’s no excuse for her to leave like that and never ever look back….god,i’ve to say i’m confused,probably i shouldn’t have watched it.it’s messing with my mind lol..someone tell me what exactly happened there?

  30. “sacrifice’..hmm.it’s one of the first video’s i remember from my childhood and had a very vague image of it till i watched it again after reading this(.back in the day i thought it was parts of a movie) …now it starts when the man’s rocking his baby crib,apparently something went wrong as the song goes..seems like he’s recalling something:the couple dancing””why would the video show such a romatic scene and meanwhile the song talking about scent of some another(absent) woman?if u guys watch 80’s music videos you’ll notice that usually song and video follow eachother line by line, image by image(kind of more litteral).so probably thats it?but then again,i’m not 100% sure.all i can say is that if there was any infidelity theyd show it.that’s the whole point of making a music video i guess:to portray the storyinstead of leaving it to viewer’s imagination……

  31. Trace,
    if you interpreted the video correctly then i have to say the dirctor did a horrible job making this video..usually the viewer feels sympathy toward the one who was betrayed.now if u assume it’s the woman who got hurt then i for one don’t feel any sympathy toward her.. she seems more like a very materialistic/selfish bitch(sorry,i’m short of any other word)who has it all:living in a mansion,looks quite attractive and fit lounging in her sexy night gown almost naked while the poor husband sitting next to her daughter in her bed trying to put her to sleep in that dark,tiny room. even seems like he’s thinking about the woman .if u know what i mean..lol.

  32. Trace,
    i think you should base your arguement on logic rather than assumptions like the woman in the video becoming delusional/insane!!! just because the husband cheated on her,after all hedoesn’t seem catch of the town (it’s not like has a very promising career or fat vallet) it’s just they obviously married too young, had a baby,but after a while tough side of life shows up:living a very humble life struggling financially,so they drift apart,considering all these it’s safer to assume she left for all the things she got later on:glamorous lifestyle,designer outfits etc..the only vague part is how she ended up living that life? at least that’s how i see it.

  33. I found this website cause i was searching for “the story of sacrifice video” and then this website popped up.i watched the video quite a few times and never quite understood it .but somehow i loved it..it’s depressing yet has a poetic sadness about it.seems like the woman is always unhappy,and the couple are unhappy together.the only happy/romantic moments are where the man and woman are slow dancing which seems like was before their marriage.even after they go their separae way,still none of them is happy.the video exclusively captures the man’s loneliness in his acts,stares..and the woman also seems sad and lonely eventhough she is living like a princess . i just don’t exactly know what happened between them but ultimately they are sad individuals with or without eachother.for me the most heartbreaking scene is where the man climbsup the stairs of his apartment balcony recalls their romantic moments and then tears her letter which seems to be the final farewell letter.i personally don’t think the reason she left was that important,their romance was over long ago and they lost eachother..the beautiful daughter could be a symbol for the man’s lost love since she has same features as her….it’s a beautiful video.i enjoy watching it and don’t really care what happened there.

  34. Trace,
    i guess you answered the question somehow. who broke the trust ?the one who left for her own happiness elsewhere or the one who stayed and raised the result of their love?what do u think?

  35. Trace,
    based on your analysis of the music video for the song”sacrifice’ i think you have a very poor view of women in general.do u really think women are that pathetic they go totally insane because their poor husband cheated on them an leave their baby to a cheater who they can’t trust…god u are such a genius to come up with this load of …gee,use your brain next time you want to analyse video with a very simple story?just because a woman leaves neccarsily mean their man cheated on them..good luck,

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