Over the course of my life, most of which were spent in Malaysia, I’ve gotten a number of different responses by people whenever I speak of a taboo subject, use coarse language or simply question their beliefs. Let me outline some of the more moronic ones:-
I’m Offended by what you just said!
Really? Who cares?
A response such as this remains to be nothing more than a whine or a grumble. It, to me, has no merit or credibility whatsoever and is not even worthy of any attention.
I find it thoroughly putrefying that people assume that just because they’re offended by what I say that I need to apologise for it and then shut up; that somehow it gives them a Right to have me silenced.
If that is their logic, then, suppose I don’t like your face and I feel offended by it, could I insist that you talk to me while facing elsewhere? Wouldn’t seem like a very pleasant thing to do, would it? As much as your face doesn’t pose a physical threat to me neither can the words or language I use do the same.
But of course, being offended is absolutely natural. We are often times hurt when something is said that is contrary to our hardened views or stagnant perspectives. But what gives us the Right to ask someone else to shut up? To be silent? To censor himself? How did we derive this superiority; to instruct someone else on the language or words they can and cannot use? I submit, there is no such thing! You have to take your knocks like every one else in society.
If you want to say all that is on your mind, it is only fair that you allow another to say all that is on his mind, whether you like him or not. If you don’t like what is being said or you feel offended, respond to it with valour and conviction. If indeed your views are as strongly held as you claim it to be, stand like a civilized man or woman and argue for it. Write, speak and advocate your position. Why nestle behind disingenuous “political correctness”? Why insist on ending an argument you haven’t even defended? Why cower like a weak pathetic dog under facades of “hurt feelings” and “upset emotions”?
Further, being offended is a good thing. It encourages you to assess yourself. To ask yourself why you feel offended? To inquire into the root of your distraught. To locate the source of your distress. You are forced to think; to deliver yourself from your mind’s inertness and to engage in compulsive mental masturbation. You will be compelled to read more, to question archaic norms and primeval values. You will be inspired to seek knowledge, learn about foreign cultures and meditate on life’s greatest mysteries. One fine day, you might even stumble upon a personal revelation that will rock the very foundations of your conceptions on Life. Isn’t that what you seek in life? The truth? It would only be an utterly joyful day for you!
I see nothing but positive developments in being offended.
Please Respect my beliefs!
‘Respect’ is a highly misunderstood concept. Most people go around expecting to be respected by others. This is a completely fallacious assumption. The only immutable ‘Respect’ that ought to exist is ‘Self-Respect‘. Respecting others is entirely relative.
‘Respect’ should never be asked or demanded. It is to be earned through mutual recognition. I treat you with dignity and acknowledge your freedoms and you do the same for me; this is construed as being ‘Respect for one another’. I always try to ensure I extend the same level of respect I get from someone else. It is, to me, the fair thing to do.
I also often respect people if they have proven themselves to be useful members of society or have amassed for themselves a reputation of being trustworthy, honorable and an intellectual. Having a dark sense of humour is always a welcome bonus.
But to respect someone’s beliefs highlights more than just respect to them as a person. It denotes that I must somehow have respect for what they believe in, which more often than not I don’t and I can’t, because I might find one’s beliefs to be ludicrous, preposterous and just downright dumb. Why should I respect the insipid, uninspiring and unenlightening belief of another?
I must be allowed to voice my opinions on it, to at the very least cast doubt on one’s beliefs so he can rethink his beliefs and perhaps adopt a new one – one that more closely resembles his expectations in life. That opinion of mine should also be able to take any shape; a skeptical inquiry, a joke, a caricature, a satirical play, a critical essay or even a 300 page book.
One is of course free to question and criticize my beliefs and I expect one to not have any respect for my beliefs – it is only fair that he does not, seeing as he doesn’t believe in it. I would be forcing my beliefs on him if I expected him to respect my beliefs.
For instance, I find that a belief in a God that cleanses ethnicities, subjugates women, procures infanticide, kills homosexuals, starts plagues, permits slavery, authorizes racism, encourages self hate, allows for immeasurable suffering to take place in the world today, creates evil and by His omission allows it to thrive, to be ridiculous, silly and rather comical.
There is no reason at all why I should respect such anemic and lackluster beliefs.
This is a Sensitive issue!
The last shelter of a man with no replies and no arguments!
This is the kind of hogwash you hear often from the Government; it is the mark of a defeatist, an idiot and a hopeless nitwit.
The Government utilizes this phrase because it is the most potent weapon in controlling thoughts. If you instruct people on what they can and cannot talk about you inevitably control what they can and cannot think about.
The Government of Malaysia is notorious for keeping its citizenry uninformed while concurrently promulgating divisive lines of race, religion, sexuality, social background, political affiliation and titles. All are but devious attempts to keep the population subdued and divided in order to discourage unity, solidarity and a spirit of mature nationalism.
This is to be frowned upon. This is against what Democracy stands for and it is an insult to the dreams of our forefathers.
As for issues being sensitive, I can only ask the question, who is to say what is and what is not sensitive? Something may be sensitive to you but it might not be to me and that doesn’t mean I must stop talking about it.
All of this can only mean one thing: that there are no “sensitive issues”, only sensitive people. In fact, the phrase “sensitive issue” is an oxymoron. As long as something is an “issue”, it demands open discussion. And how does one resolve an “issue” if one cannot talk about it because it is supposedly “sensitive”? Even if there is such a thing as a “sensitive issue”, it can only cease to be “sensitive” if people are allowed to talk about it.
I don’t think it is in the interest of society to be held back by people with an inability to think, act and communicate in a rational and grown up manner. I find it utterly sickening that people can be so conceited to think that mere discussion of an issue must cause others to take their intangible and insubstantial “sensitivities” into account.
So what if your feelings are hurt? If you don’t like me talking about something, leave the premises. If you feel uncomfortable hearing it on the radio, tune out of the station. If watching it on the television makes you feel uneasy, turn your television off. Is it really that difficult? If you feel sensitive about something, you need to grow up!
I am immensely Disturbed by all of this…
…but I think I have stated my feelings of being offended, shocked and disturbed by the religious institutions, political institutions and socio-cultural trends of Malaysia rather aptly. I have also elaborated on these feelings of mine, for the past 3 days. No death threats were made. No animals were decapitated. Not a single drop of blood was spilt. Nothing has really changed besides the brewing of the minds of the people who have read my writings; everything is as it were 3 days ago. All is fine.
Civility isn’t so difficult, is it?