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Monday, November 28, 2005


Tolerance & arrogance

On morning television recently a couple were married. The bride wore fairly traditional dress but the groom and his party wore open-neck shirts outside their trousers. Today this is quite acceptable here in Australia but there was a time when such dress would have been considered inappropriate. A man who might never wear a suit and tie at any other time in his life, would at least hire a suit for his wedding. I tell this simply to make the point that times change.

Someone was telling me a story recently of a young man who was visiting an older relative. At this time the young man wore a hat almost all the time, indoors or out. When it was time for dinner he came to the table wearing the hat. His older relative, the head of the house, asked him to remove the hat. The young man declined. The older man then removed the hat from the young man's head.

I was told this story as an example of the bad behaviour of the younger man. I could not agree with the teller of the story. I suggested that both were being intolerant and pigheaded. The older man was pigheaded because he was not prepared to acknowledge that times had changed and perhaps it was no longer bad manners to wear a hat to dinner. The young man was being intolerant because, lets face it, it wouldn't have hurt him to remove his hat just this once.

I advocate living in a culture that is different from your own as a way to help you realise that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. However, the older man in this story did spend a year or two living in Papua New Guinea when he was younger. I suspect he did so with the attitude of being better than the people he was living amongst and so he was unable to learn from them. Perhaps this is typical of we Westerners. We colonised half the world and learned very little from the people we lived amongst. We entered their countries with the attitude that they had to learn from us.

How arrogant.

There will never be peace in this world until we Westerners take a more humble attitude towards those who are different from us.

John, this is Pang from Melacca, but now I'm in Sri Lanka for the news report about Tzu Chi.

Anyway, I like your articles, but this is the most. Maybe it tells what have bothering my sometimes.

I think not only the Westeners are act what you have mentioned, sometime we do act like we know more then those unprivileged.

In stead of respest, understand and love other, we monitor or "cultive" them in our form. However, they have been living in their our methods for so long, who can decide that we have the right the change them?

It is nice to share your opinion.


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