Monday, November 3, 2008

Pak Yeop

Last Friday, I helped my cousin move from our house to a condominium where she’s going to share with a bunch of other working ladies. We didn’t go on our own but an uncle of ours went with us just to be safe. After we left my cousin, I had to send my uncle back to his house too. While in the car he was talking with our helper about the corruption going on in Indonesia and suddenly he became one of the people I look up to.
I want to be like him…a human. A human who understands another human’s plight and can empathize, not just sympathize. I don’t want to be just another degree holder but know nothing of the human race. It doesn’t matter to me if you have a degree in engineering, accountancy, or…graphic. If you can’t relate to another person’s story I feel sorry for you as nothing defines you except your flimsy certificate and the knowledge you’ve memorized along the way.

You know how I always say I don’t like people judging without knowing the person being judged, right?
So as they were talking, my uncle suddenly said he understands why bribery is going on especially among police officers. Being someone who had to struggle once with a low income too, he understands their struggle. Police officers sometimes accept bribery not because they are greedy, but because they are desperate. Not because of loan sharks, but perhaps because their kids are starting school and are asking for new books and pencil cases. Or perhaps one of their children is in the hospital and they do not have enough money to pay the bill. I know, this should not be the justification for a crime made. But even in Islam, before you sentence a ‘thief’ for his hands to be cut off you have to investigate WHY he stole in the first place. Is it because his other Muslim brothers and sisters do not pay their zakat? If so, you cannot cut his hands.

I’m not writing this because I’m for bribery or theft. I’m writing because I want people to remember not to judge others without getting to the bottom of it. In our everyday life, we can’t help but to make snide remarks in our head. Maybe it is over someone who’s supposedly a ‘mat rempit’, or the person who’s eating garbage out of an Alam Flora trash, or just a person walking by wearing ‘last season’s clothes’. (By the way clothes are to cover you up, not to make a status statement. We may love Ugly Betty but how many of us really understand the message behind it?) All I’m trying to say is, don’t easily mark someone under one of the many categories you may have in your head i.e. jock, slut. That’s just a world created by you, in your head. It’s not real.

And another thing, even if you think that your philosophy in life is the correct one, you have no right to force it upon others.

I have a friend, her name is Fayyadhah. …oh you guys may know her from that long post I wrote on her. Anyway, she doesn’t like cinemas. She’s never been to one and vows to not go even in the future. She has her reasons and I salute her for never giving in to peer pressure. But the cool thing about her is, if I want to watch a movie with our other friends she’s more than happy to send us off with a wave while our tickets are torn. She does not roll her eyes, or shake her head disapprovingly or even give us a lengthy lecture. She simply stays true to what she believes in, inform us of this belief of hers so that we won’t offend her and then live without ever ridiculing us and vice versa. And I think she does the right thing. Imagine saying to a teenager, “No!” It’s like telling boiling water not to evaporate: pointless, and encouraging the opposite.
Don’t take it as me saying everybody needs to be egocentric and think only of oneself and don’t care if others are doing wrong. My point is the opposite. You have to be smart in dealing with people because humans are complicated; yet, they are most beautiful creation of God.


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