A soldier is judged by his loyalty,morality and,above all,bravery.I am no soldier but I truly believe in bravery. To be courageous has always been my utmost virtue in life.But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.I remember years ago when I was a mere green kid just entering primary school,my courage was put to the test.No,I don’t mean ghosts.This was an encounter of the beastly type.There was a chinese family in my village who owned a grocery shop. They kept several ferocious dogs to guard their property.Prior to that,I never saw the dogs but I heard them barking and growling somewhere in the back yard. The owner only let them roam free after midnight.Little did I realize that I was to come face to face with them in the dead of the night. Aside from going to school in the day time,I had to go to a religious teacher’s house to study Islam and Quranic verses in the evening.The learning sessions normally ended around 11.00pm and seldom exceeded midnight.However,one eventful night,I had chores to do for my religious teacher as punishment due to my mischief.To clean the surau,the place of worship and prayers. By the time I finished my dreadful chore,it was almost midnight. Turning down my teacher’s offer to spend the night there,I bravely walked home.That shouldn’t be a problem because the distant was less than a mile.Then,it suddenly dawned to me that I had to pass by the shop near the wooden bridge.The dogs were most probably out already and that was my problem.Approaching the silent shop gingerly, I walked as quiet as possible.Just as I was tip-toeing towards the bridge,suddenly out came the snarling dogs.Brave as I tried to be,I couldn’t run.I froze there and then. Surrounded by the fiercely-barking dogs,I sat down and waited for them to finish me off.Suddenly,on the spur of the moment,an idea crossed my mind.I began to sing ‘Negaraku‘,the national anthem,first softly,then loudly,in off-key tunes.To my surprise,the dogs stopped barking and sat down to watch and hear me sing.My voice must have soothed and calmed them.They howled along as if to encourage me. So,I kept singing and singing into the silent night until the owner,probably awakened by all the ruckus , came out to relieve his dogs and saved me from further torture.He was surprised to see me still in one piece,unharmed and praised me how brave I was. I guess,considering my age,I was brave enough.Right there and then,I ceased to be afraid of anything.Even ghosts which used to put the fear of God into me..But that was a horse of another colour.