Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preconceive Ideas

Flying back to Malaysia (from a trip that I shall blog about later) last night, I sat next to an Australian. He's making a very short (business) trip to Malaysia. He'll leave on the morning flight.

He commented that I spoke good English, perhaps 99% grammatically correct. I was surprised to hear that. I never think much about how I speak. And to have a native English speaker who studied language to say that, it was really a surprise. Perhaps he after dealing with lots of people, he had a preconceive idea of ordinary-looking-Asian (yes, for those from across the globe who drop by occasionally, I'm an Asian) not being able to speak grammatically correct English. To his comment, I replied that among my friends, my English is not that good. I can say the words, but I can't spell them.

I had wanted to catch a nap, but he's an interesting guy. So I chatted with him throughout the 2 hours flight [clue #1]. He's of mix-blood (though we both agreed we bleed the same red blood). His mix of Indian, German, and native Australian. Because of that, and his beard, some times people thought he's an Arabic. As such, he is often asked whether he's a Muslim. His reply is no. His religion is Humanity. He believes in God. Every human are brothers and sisters. He didn't believe in other kind of religion. To which I replied, religion is a mean to get close to God - whatever God that you believe. And the our relation with God is a personal thing. He agreed.

He told me of his brush with a another westerner in a pub. He, in a good-nature manner, told the guy that he was not offended. By birth, he has a PhD in discrimination - Indian have lots of caste, and discriminates each other. The man in the pub eventually became his good friend. Throughout his travels, he finds more good people than bad, even with all the stereotyping and preconceive ideas.

I told him that most people are good to him BECAUSE of those preconceive ideas. He looks and talks very much like a westerner. The preconceive ideas about him, is that he has money. Naturally, people will treat you better if you have money. He agreed.

We chatted some more and end up exchanging contact numbers. He invited me to stay in his house if I ever come to Brisbane!

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