Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Narrow Angle

I texted my sister recently to ask her about one of her children. She replied by saying that she'd rather not comment about her children. Now there are many, many things about my sister that I just can't agree with, although I suspect that there are also many things about me that she doesn't agree with too. But I really admire her attitude when it comes to her children. 

I have seen way too many parents that can never let go when it comes to their children. They will try to get involved in their children's affairs; in fact, they will try to organise their children's lives until they die. I should know, because my own mother is like that.

You see, it is too easy to forget that children will grow up and will eventually have their own minds. For better or for worse, it's their lives. They have enough problems without their parents' intervention.

Well, I have a 16-year-old daughter, and although I'm trying my best to guide her; to instill in her what I deem to be good qualities to become, hopefully, a good person, I keep reminding myself that one of these days she will become an adult and have a mind of her own. I realise that there will be some opinions and decisions of hers that I can't agree with (not very many, I hope). But I will let her live her own life. It is her life, not mine. If ever she needs my advice, I shall be happy to help. If not, then it's OK, that's fine with me too. 

I've learned since a long time ago that many of the problems in the world today arose because too many people are unwilling to consider views from other angles; what they see are only from a very narrow angle—their own angle, and only that angle. All other views that do not concur with theirs must be wrong, and they are fast to criticize those opposing views; even judge the people having those views. There is no room for compromise; no willingness to allow others to have their own opinions.

Today I saw yet again the narrow angle that I speak of above when I accidentally stumbled upon a link named NTD Life through facebook. It was just a short video clip on dogs that were meant to be eaten, but were instead rescued. And of course many people were criticizing dog-eating folks as inhumane, evil and needing education. Many, many more comments condemning the practice of eating dogs.

But someone commented as follows:

"Folks have to eat. I count dogs and cats as part of my family. I am not so bigoted to think that all humans must share my view. Would I save a dog or cat to starve a child or family? No. Their culture is not mine. So I will not judge or hate about this thing."

She is unfortunately one of the very few having that opinion. Immediately, she's bombarded with so many negative responses; people who called her "sick" and "evil".

Well, I range myself on the side of the minority. I couldn't help from commenting:

"I've read your entire comment. No, I don't eat dog meat. Never have, never will. That's not  my culture. That's how I feel right now. But when and if I'm ever at the verge of dying because of starvation, and the only available food is dog meat, I may think differently, I don't know. Maybe by then my survival instinct will take over the driver's seat. So I won't judge you. I respect your view."

If my memory serves me right, my friend Eric Chong used to have an iguana as a pet. Perhaps I will check with him to make sure that I can still remember well. And while I'm at it, I might also tell him to get his brain checked for having an iguana as a pet? Then my friend, Jiki, had a pet chicken named Rio, but I think Rio escaped one day when there were plans for chicken curry? I have also known some people having pigs as pets. It takes all sorts to make the world. But people have been known to eat chickens and pigs. In fact, I was once in Cambodia, and I saw people there eating all sorts of animals including scorpions, worms, insects and spiders, to name just a few. Elsewhere, people eat live baby octopuses—these are cut into small pieces and eaten while they're still alive. I've also seen people swallow live baby rats. People eat many, many animals, so eating dog meat is not very surprising to me. 

I don't quite agree with many of them, but I don't condemn them, for the simple reason that I don't expect others to think and behave exactly the same way as I do. What is "sick" and "evil" to me may be just a normal daily routine for some people. I shall not impose my standard for others to adhere to. But I do not want to be forced to accept the standard set by others. I must beg for the freedom to agree to disagree.

I firmly believe that if we can all refrain from seeing the world from just a narrow angle, and willing to open our minds to see things from other angles too—although we may disagree with those other angles—this world will be very peaceful. It takes a brave person to accept that one's opinion may not be the perfect one; that there may be other equally good opinions out there, if not better. Let others have their opinions, and we can remain true to our own. There is no need to force others to agree with us.

But the sad truth about human nature is that most people only see things from very narrow angles; narrow and rigid...