Redefine respect

Before I begin this post, I make a solemn confession and apology to all readers – as you may have noted, I got into an abusive streak since June 2008. Despite my good command of the language, I edged onto the abusive side (and some of you may have even noted the amount of swearwords I used, albeit in asterisks). All that anger culminated from the underlying story behind mom’s hospitalisation. I’m sorry if whatever I have written sounds offensive to you, and I’ll stop this abusive streak effective today.

Now, on to my post.


There’s so much distortion between good and evil that sometimes, we don’t even know who to hold in respect, and what to respect someone for. These days, the majority of people with respectable titles are, in fact, not at all respectable in their own right. And sometimes, there are respectable people in our midst – only that we keep them at a distance because of certain trifles – small traits in their character which make us want to stay away from them.

I mean, come on, guys, tell me – which one of these two would you rather respect ? A lawyer whose father is a Datuk Seri, for instance, and doesn’t follow court protocol ? Or would you rather an ordinary layman who swears and curses so much because of his violent streak, but would go all out to care for his friends and for the people around him ? (You could leave your response to this in the comment box.)

Regardless of what you’ve chosen, respect is a subjective quality, just as is fairness.

And here’s where my humble opinion comes in.

Unless someone is known to be a hardcore, bad guy who does nothing but flirts, stays away from class, hangs out with other bad guys etc., language is not a key factor in respect. Deeds come first for me. A person merits all the respect his kith and kin can give him if he goes all out demanding what is good (never mind if there’re swearwords in between, he still did it for a good cause). Demanding unity among Malaysians, help for all students, proper care given towards family and friends – these are just a few of the many good things a person can do to give him respect. Or well, if a person sitting next to me helps me sincerely with something – maybe an assignment, I’d give him all the respect I can give, regardless of what he has done in the past.

I disrespect people who take sides in a dispute, let alone in a war.

I disrespect people whose only mission is to disunite Malaysians, and to a greater extent, my family.

I disrespect people who give derogatory comments about others’ interests (unless those interests are harmful, of course).

And I certainly don’t hold many politicians in respect : look at the mess Malaysia is in right now. They’ll need to prove themselves worthy of a young Malaysian’s respect by bringing us together.


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