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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Respect means more than a selendang and baju kurung

The truth is, respect is not a difficult thing. You just have to want to do it… just have to recognise the opportunity to show it.
hanna yeoh,tudung
Last week, YB Hannah Yeoh made waves when pictures of her dressed in a selendang and baju kurung at a mosque, hit social media.
Some applauded her for dressing appropriately in a place of worship. Others argued that by her actions she was condoning the government’s arabisation moves.
I think the way Hannah and her staff chose to dress while visiting the mosque was purely an act of respect towards Muslims and should not be taken any other way.
That being said, respect has to go beyond our choice of attire. It also has to show up in how we treat others.
Sadly, respect is becoming increasingly invisible in our world. Many of us have been taught since childhood to respect others – our parents, siblings, neighbours, the elderly, people in authority – as much as we have been taught to love and honour God. We pride ourselves on being religious, church/mosque goers yet seem to be ignorant on what our religions preach…
The truth is, respect is not a difficult thing. You just have to want to do it… just have to recognise the opportunity to show it… like giving up your seat on the train to an elderly person, or letting a customer with fewer items go ahead of you at the grocery store checkout line…or covering your head on a visit to a mosque or a Gurdwara.
Respect also means not lashing out at someone at the first opportunity you get, not whacking them out of shape with your words. Respect means allowing for misunderstandings and mistakes. It means accepting that people may get it wrong sometimes or they may have a different set of opinions. Respect means having the heart to explain the situation in a calm manner. It means not always thinking that others are out to get you.
I guess this is a skill which most of our politicians aren’t equipped with. At the very sight of something displeasing to their eyes, they raise their defences while their fingers tweet hurtful words faster than bullets. They don’t stop to consider that there is always the possibility that someone just made a silly mistake.
Perhaps during this holy month of Ramadan, we can pause, take a breath and remind ourselves that to earn respect, one needs to give respect too.
While there is respect to be gained in donning a selendang and baju kurung in my book, a good, kind, patient and forgiving heart deserves the highest respect.
BTW, out of curiosity, why are Madame Speaker and her female counterparts of the Selangor Exco wearing songkoks as part of their attire? Didn’t anyone tell them the songkok is headgear meant for men?
I find it rather funny that none of these women had qualms about dressing up in a head-dress meant for men. Oh well, maybe it just slipped their minds. Perhaps Madame Speaker could find something more appropriate, more feminine to replace the songkok – a selendang maybe?
After all, it would be nice to see YB Hannah’s sweet face in a selendang more often.

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