Light in the Night

Beneath the proud cocky swagger, the crisp sharp uniforms and the shiny boots of officers, there lies hours and hours of preparation. Many a nights are spend ironing our uniforms and shining our shoes to the break of dawn.

Polishing shoes is an art, almost like Picasso painting a master piece. But instead of using paint and brushes, our instruments include a bottle of polish, a piece of cloth and some water. 

Using the cloth, a small dip of polish with a dap of water, the polish is applied to the shoe in a circular motion. In circles we go, all over the shoe until the shoe is positively gleaming. 

Sounds relatively easy isn't it? I thought the same many years back when I first learnt how to polish my shoes. But in reality, polishing shoes is a pain in the neck, like an ulcer on the butt.

Most of the time, you apply the polish and in circular motions and you go and you go and you go... but instead of becoming shinier, the shoe becomes duller and duller. Until a certain point, your shoe is as dark as a black hole, anymore polish and all surrounding light including yourself would be suck into the shoes, lost to time forever.

After generations of polishing shoes, various methods have been created to decrease the time taken to get the shoe to shine. Some use fire to melt the polish beforehand, others use a special polishing cloth but the most effective and time saving method of all is passing the shoes to a junior. Miraculously, the shoes is always retuned gleaming and shining with no effort.

I have over the years came up with my own method of polishing shoes. Simple and effective, I try to spend as little time and effort shining shoes. However, one question that has always bugged me is why must shoe polishing be done at night. And recently I got my answer.


''Twas was during the early morning hours as I was huddled with the other cadets officers with a cloth and a shoe in hand when the epiphany hit me with a symphony.

I was sitting polishing my shoes covered in a heavy blanket of drowsiness, trying to get my shoes to shine so I could catch some sleep. But the more I shined, the duller it seem to get. Instead of taken a high sheen, I could see the map of the world made up by the dullness. If I looked really closely, I could even see the KLCC right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.

After hours of polishing, the shoe still remain dull and I finally got so desperate that I threw up my hands and looked to the sky praying to the Gods to help me. As I looked up, I noticed that the ceiling looked dull and fuzzy too.

Then it dawned on me that the dullness was caused by drowsiness, every thing looked dull and fuzzy, not just my shoes. I quickly went to wash my face and freshen up.

When I return to my shoes, I was almost blinded! An explosion of light seem to radiate from my shoes, illuminating the whole room and nearly burning through my retina with the intensity of the shine. So shiny were my shoes that it could have served as a beacon of light in a lighthouse warning ships away from shore.

The glistening pair of shoes sat innocently by my bed where I left it, reflecting what little light that was in the room and multiplying it by 13 times, resulting in a pair of shoes that shimmer with a brilliance that could penetrate the deep darkness of the blind so that even the blind could see my shoes; and will blind anyone who gaze upon my shoes without protection.

Hence, I finally understand why polishing shoes must only be done at night under the protection of drowsiness. Else we all would be an army of blind men.

-The End-

Shimri Lim