De-ri-ku [noun]: Japanese pronounciation of an English name belonging to a Chinese guy in Malaysia. Electronics engineer currently based in PJ. Chinese-educated and proud of it.
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Sunday, August 20, 2006Don't talk to me about religion
Religion is always a sensitive and somewhat unsuitable topic for a casual conversation, especially when you're discussing it with someone you're not very familiar with. Ideas will clash, voices raised, fists proudly displayed and someone might get killed in the process.
No, religion is definitely not something I'd want to bring up with that new friend/colleague/neighbour.
But some people are just so darned persistant on talking about this, even when they're not a follower of a particular religion. Take for example this conversation I had the other day with a new aquaintance. He noticed the Bible in my car and started to yak and yak and yak about his incoherant ideas on the matter.
He started out by saying that some of his friends converted to Christainity, and they were happily serving God by finding they're own purpose in life yadda yadda. Then his words took a 360-degree turn and he went on to say that he didn't believe in the existence of a God, openly stating that religion is some mystical belief and he wouldn't be part of it.
All the time he was talking, I was listening and tried to intervene with my own opinions. Being a young Christian, I guess my explanations didn't quite manage to convince him and he continued with his high-and-mighty preaching about religious beliefs.
I was trying to keep my cool. Okay, I thought, he's not a Christian so it's not his fault that he doesn't understand. But it was the last straw when he said to me "I don't think you look like a Christian".
Wtf? What gives you the right to judge whether or not I belong to one religion or another? Do I need to stamp my beliefs on my forehead and proclaim to the world which God I believe in? Do I have to LOOK like a Christian to be a Christian?
Coolly, I replied to him, "You can't judge a person like that."
That must have made him realize that he had crossed the line. The conversation topic was dropped not long after.
Malaysians are generally a tolerant lot when it comes to discussions like these (if you're not talking about the religion, that is). I don't mind if people talk in a nice way. Respect my beliefs and I'll return the favour. But please, keep away from the insensitive remarks before I label you a dickhead and put you in my freaks list.
And that aquaintance of mine? I'm staying as far away as I can from him.