I like to think of myself as inclusive, as broad-minded and certainly not racist. I also like to think of myself as well travelled but I want to share with you a few travel stories that opened my eyes to what I feel is the root of man’s fear of difference. When I would drive through south Auckland, although I have many Pacific Island friends, if I’m honest, I would struggle with the dilapidated houses with temporary structures and tarpaulins, yet with a digital sky dish and the latest commodore parked outside. It wasn’t until I travelled to Samoa and spent time with friends in their fale’s, observing their culture, that the light bulb clicked. Firstly, they rented these homes so they couldn’t update them or fi things themselves. Secondly, the temporary structures and/or tarpaulins were to separate festivities and such from areas of sleeping, food prep and prayer. It is taken very seriously that these should never cross over as that is considered disrespectful. As far as the sky dish and latest Holden goes, they don’t have these in Samoa, so this is the ‘go-to’ spoils they enjoy in the western world and are symbols of status and comfort. After understanding, asking, listening and observing, I got it, I understood and I’ve never had that irritation again when driving past. Because I understood. Similar story: many people dislike it when Chinese spit in the street, but it wasn’t till I travelled to China and learnt about their culture that I understood why. Often our spit is full of to ins or mucus and should be disposed of. The Chinese take their health and well-being VERY seriously, and the street is considered dirty and the street washers blast the curbs daily so whose right or wrong here?
Reality or Utopia? PETRA RIJNBEEK SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, MAN HAS FEARED THE UNKNOWN, THE DIFFERENT, THE UNEXPLAINABLE. FROM TRIBAL DANCE TO WITCHCRAFT, FROM RELIGION TO LANGUAGE, FROM SKIN COLOUR TO SEXUAL PREFERENCE, THOSE WHO CHOSE NOT TO SWIM IN THE SLIPSTREAM HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED, CONDEMNED AND OSTRACISED.
Gay people. My brother and I once went for a drink in a gay club when we were younger and when he made a comment that they’ll all try and touch him, I said “You’re not that hot, what makes YOU so special that they all want to hit on you? Just like all women don’t hit on you, it’s the same. “Stand down goal attack” he laughed and rela ed. Did you know that there’s basically only ONE major point of difference between Muslims, Christians and Jews? It all comes down to Jesus Christ and who he was and when. So, the whole treat each other well is the same, don’t cheat or kill etc etc is all the same. Yet religion has sparked so many wars over one point of difference! I pose this to you. Just try not to worry so much about what your neighbour is eating or who they’re praying to or sleeping with. Just be a good neighbour. Help when they need it, say good-morning, smile and be courteous and be a good human. Some like to drive, some walk, some take the bus – we are all different. But we all need to eat, we ALL need love, we all bleed and we all hurt. Let’s try to not make others lives harder than they already are. Imagine all the people, living life in peace. John Lennon