There were two related articles in this morning's paper that made me wonder about values.
It seems that, to some of us, all that matters is only skin deep. In fact, these people would condemn others - perhaps even condemn them to hell if they got the chance - on the basis of superficial appearance and the clothes they wear.
I can't even describe my distaste for such prejudice and bigotry; there are no words polite enough for this blog. We are supposedly a modern nation, but some of us have the attitudes of a medieval witch hunter. We are supposed to be educated, but some of us are appalling ignorant. Unfortunately, often they are the ones who think they are clever enough to lead the rest of us, even when they lack compassion, as well as learning and understanding.
What has got me so riled?
Article One (from The Star), written by someone who is both wise and compassionate, Chong Sheau Ching:
She writes about tolerance of transsexuals in Thailand and goes on to say this about an incident in Malaysia some time back at an international seminar. "I was enlightened by the doctors' medical explanation about transsexuals. A few local transsexuals gave their personal accounts about the discrimination they faced - being rejected by medical personnel, unable to get employment, and fearing arrest.
"To the transsexuals dismay, a Malaysian woman who holds an important position, openly condemned them and told them to be more religious..."
Hmm. I wish someone had suggested to that bi--, er lady, that she be a little more pious herself, and practise tolerance and understanding and compassion.
A little further on Chong writes how a transsexual and her friends, having tea at home last year were arrested in a raid and some thrown into jail for cross-dressing. Geez - people can't even dress the way they want in their own homes now?
Second was a news item.
The Higher Education Minister was quoted as saying that "soft" men (his words) would not be recruited as teachers, and their application to pursue a degree in education may also be rejected. Later on he made it clear that he meant hetero men who behaved like, wait for it, women (horrors!!). He hastened to say that the move was not meant to discriminate against "soft" men (no? You could have fooled me!) but "was an approach to help them realise that they have deviated from the original path in life."
Huh? What the hell is one's original path in life? And how is discriminating against them - and yes, Mr Minister, it is discrimination - supposed to help them change anything? And why should they change, even if they could? What about the really important things, like integrity and honesty and kindness and intelligence and ability to impart knowledge - aren't they the things we should look for in a teacher? What the hell does it matter if they dress differently or move differently?
I guess he believes being "soft" is contagious. And deviant, of course. Sigh.
[And here's me sitting here in a pair of trousers, wearing one of my husband's T-shirts. You know what, it must be about the only arena in life where women (sometimes) have it better than men. We can cross-dress and still be regarded as normal.
My father - born back in the 19th century, mind you - would have looked at the sarong or sampin worn by the Minister on occasion and asked what on earth the silly fellow wanted to wear a woman's skirt for? How's that for irony?]