Self-preservation or the greatest respect for others
I live by the words of Shakespeare – that nothing is good or bad except thinking makes it so. I also believe we need to assess a situation from all angles and not jump to conclusions, or if we do take the time to reflect upon those conclusions. We need to let anger subside before we come to a conclusion.

We may act for self-preservation and we may act out of fear or we may act out of respect.

Jesus said there will always be poor people – poor in material standards, poor in spirit and poor in wisdom.

Jesus also said: Don’t cast pearls before swine – meaning that some people just will never listen or understand and you might as well talk to a wall for all the good it will do you.

This is the reality of the world we live in and even if we are the most religious person in the world, we may never be able to change hearts and minds.

The reality of the world is that we live among people who will never accept or understand others’ cultural and religious practices. How do we deal with it – here is an example from Singapore that I learnt this week.

The tudung is the Malay word for Hijab. This is religious covering of the head that Muslims should wear. I am told that it is a compulsory part of the Muslim religion.

I work one day every week at another English tuition centre and for the first time I met the centre manager this week. Usually Tuesday evening is her day off and so this was the first time I met her. I asked one of the teachers – is she from the Philippines?

The teacher replied: She is from Malaysia. She comes to work in her Muslim clothes, changes and then changes back to go home. The teacher seeing my utter shock went on to say:

“The Chinese look down on Muslims.”

My initial reaction was to feel anger that someone could not wear tudung. But I decided to really think about this and here are my thoughts. I share my thoughts with you.

The Hebrew Bible says that there is a time and a place for everything and this is one of my guiding principles.

I also remembered my own childhood. My next door neighbour who was ethnically Scottish would always put his Scottish kilt on when he got home. He did not wear that outside of the house. Also one of my school friends had an English accent and the first time I went to her house, I got a shock because at home she was speaking with a Scottish accent. I also experienced this with one of my Irish friends. Sometimes it is just easier to practice one’s culture at home.

Our Malaysian lady works in a nurturing environment – for children who want to learn English. All the employees are women and most of the time the children are brought by mums, grandmums or female caregivers. Thus it is predominantly female and our overriding concern is to help children. Thus perhaps we could say this is a home from home.

Thus we could say that the centre manager has respect for her job, respect for the Chinese who just are uncomfortable with tudung-wearing people. Further there is no great harm because when she is outside of her home she wears the tudung and we can treat this particular work environment like a home because of the reasons I said earlier.

We should always respect the feelings of others where possible. Flexibility where possible is something else we should think about. Blessings for reading this post. Blessings.

I pray for peace, tolerance and understanding. Blessings.

Author's Bio: 

An I CAN READ English specialist with over 20 years teaching experience, I have worked in the British Council and Linguaphone, well-known language institutions. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. In 2006, I was appointed as an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. For enquiries about I CAN READ classes, email FOR DAILY BLESSINGS: