Happy Good Friday. Coincidentally an incident happened this week that allows me to think deeper into this issue of fundamental religious differences with others. This happened in my office with my colleague.

I have a very kind Indonesian colleague, Y. She is so kind, that sometimes a bit too much & I tend to think that she overdoes it. So, here is what happened. She was buying food with another colleague and the other girl asked for extra vege but it was sold out. When they got back to their seat, Y immediately put her portion of vege on the other colleague’s plate. I saw it and quickly dismissed it as an act of not liking her vege. It is very common among spoilt girl (roll my eyes). I tend to be a control freak and do not really tolerate things like this cause I will never understand why anyone should be so picky for their food (this goes to u too, W). If u have seen poor people (I was poor once), they don’t even have enough food, much alone choices of veges…

Anyway, I was curious on what did she not like about that type of vege that she gave it up. After a bit of prompting, Y revealed that she was actually giving it up because the other colleague wanted it more than her (as she ordered more but couldn’t get). In private, I told her what I think. I think that her act of giving up her own food to someone who didn’t even ask her for it was naive and cannot be considered as kind. She is being considerate and think of others, yes, but in a bigger picture, she is being naive and doing more harm than good. Unexpectedly, she stubbornly disagree and even started going offensive when I elaborate more. She is usually never this way so I backed-down and apologize. I have no right and shouldn’t have started on commenting on my colleague behavior in the first place.

Later, I reflected on why she reacted so strongly against my comment. Then, my mum reminded me that it could be due to fundamental religious differences. U see, I told her about karma. Karma is about the final intention and not so much on the initial intention. For Karma, even if the initial intention seemed well, if it is not suitable and causes bad outcome, it will be a bad karma. For example, if a fat kid wants your food and u gave him. He took a bite and he threw it away. What is that? Bad karma for u, because u indulged him and taught him that it is ok to over-eat and throw away food that he doesn’t like. Because he can get food easily. Now think about it. Over time, if everyone continues to give this kid food anytime he ask, his behaviour will become even worse. So, the initial intention to make the kid happy or to kindly give him what he wants seemed easy in the grand scheme of things. It is easier to give it to him because it makes the giver feels good in the short-term. Also, it gives good impression to yourself (not to-be labelled as bad person) and you don’t need to deal with rejections & confrontations, etc. Karma applies to every cases below:-

–          That lazy uncle that kept asking for easy money from you.

–          Over-indulging your son and causing him to become a spoil brat.

–          Not standing up to your supervisor who kept bullying everyone.

Basically, it is easy to give someone a fish but a good karma is to teach him how to fish. Yet, my colleague will not accept this thought of mine and to a certain extent, she thinks I am corrupting her mind to go against her religious belief. What she believes (I am guessing this), is that, as long as her initial intention is kind & well, it doesn’t matter what happens later. Also, God will probably salvage things as long as you do kind things. Not that, there is much bad karma to giving up your veges to someone, but I am against the idea of over-indulging someone to the extent of giving up your own food. That is not kind gesture, and u will make her think that it is ok to be served and taken care all the time. It takes courage to teach someone right because you have to be labelled as bad person. Nobody likes to be labelled as a bad person but someone’s got to do what is right. If a parent will not buy that expensive toy to his son, will the son hate him then? Of course he will. In fact, he will cry and be mad at his parent for days. But the parent will have taught him the importance of controlling what you desire. And that, is more important than anything else.

For Asians, it is easy to compromise and go along with what others want. So, it takes courage to go against the flow sometimes and I often do that. My mum taught me this. She refused to follow my grandparents and relatives request to let us stay with grandparents because she thinks they will teach me the wrong values. It takes enormous courage to do that. Can you imagine? All the relatives frowning, talk behind your back and trying to persuade you to fit-in? Now that I have grown-up, I knew she made the right decision. I know because of several incidents that happened in the extended family and how they deal with issues.