We were having lunch with some friends the other week and for some reason, we got onto the topic of religion. Normally I don’t get into discussions of a political, historical or religious nature, but this was just one discussion that I couldn’t stay out of.
One of our friends, let’s call him The Mr. No Tolerance (TMNT for short, and yes, it brings back memories of when I was addicted to those little green men in the 80’s), was going on about how in his office, there is a very smart, knowledgeable, skilled guy who has some ‘funky shrine on his desk with some ridiculous statue of some elephant thing that he worships’ and TMNT has completely lost all respect for him and is now questioning the guy’s intelligence because he ‘believes in something stupid’.
We informed TMNT that the gentleman in question was a Hindu and the ‘elephant thing’ was Ganesh. Over the course of the next twenty minutes we pointed out how worshipping an ‘elephant’ is no more stupid than worshipping some fisherman with a beard or lighting candles in front of a big piece of wood shaped like a cross and religious beliefs are not a reflection of intelligence or professionalism. He couldn’t be swayed though and said he’d never let a doctor operate on him if they prayed to an elephant (although I seriously suspect he has already received medical care from someone with ‘stupid beliefs’ and just doesn’t know it.)
Yeah. It just made me cringe how narrow-minded and intolerant he was.
I’m not a highly religious person, but I’ve been to my fair share of churches, shrines, temples & mosques over the years. I’ve prayed to various deities, bought charms, amulets and done ceremonies to remove ‘bad spirits’. I see these things as more cultural activities than religious ones and I’m always happy to experience other people’s beliefs and ‘do what the locals do’. Some people might say that doing religious activities without being a true believer or doing them just for the sake of doing them, is disrespectful and ignorant, but I’m of the belief that people are always more pleased when people make an effort to ‘join in’ and are accepting than when they stand back, point and say ‘it’s stupid’.
I suppose people are entitled to believe what they want to believe and if they believe that praying to an elephant is stupid, I guess that is a legitimate belief too, but it just rubbed me up the wrong way.
I thought later on that I should have pointed out to him that belonging to the religion of M/s is pretty damn stupid too if you’re looking at it from an observers point of view. If you’re a subscriber to the Church of Masters and Slaves then you have a pretty hard time convincing a non-believer that what you believe and do is ‘normal’. I wonder how he’d feel if people thought his ability to do his job was impaired by the fact that he likes to keep a girl in a collar or he likes to smack someone’s ass. I’m pretty sure he’d been offended if his private life reflected on his private life and he was told that he was getting a pay cut because his belief that he was dominant over his submissive partner meant his IQ was 20 points less than if he didn’t have that belief.
But anyway, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink, right?
In update news, I did my test on Sunday and it was okay. It was long and the sound of the shuffling papers around me was really annoying (Why do people have to shuffle?? Pick a page and do it damn it!!) There were words I didn’t know – words I’d never seen in my life and probably will never see again – and so there wasn’t anything I could do about them but make an educated guess. The listening was quite easy but I got bored in the middle of it and my attention wandered and I missed a question. That one was an eni, meanie, minie, moe situation.
The last time I did the test was 1997 and all I remember of it then was a pre-dawn bullet train trip to Tokyo and a sea of Chinese people. This time there was a pleasant drive in the Range Rover courtesy of M and maybe 15 people who were mostly Korean. Results come out in mid-February next year.
Remember that job interview I had where I forgot my bra? Well, the emergency substitute bra must have worked because I’ve got a second round interview on Friday. This time apparently there will be three interviewers with the addition of another big-wig to the two people I met last time. I have no idea what they’re going to ask me, though. There’s nothing else I can tell them about me and we went through all of the classic interview questions last time:
What do you like and dislike about your current job?
Give us an example of a problem you’ve run up against in your work and how you handled it.
What do you think are the challenges with dealing with Japanese clients?
Give us an outline of your typical work day and what you do. (I was pulling stuff out of my ass for this one…)
How are your Japanese skills?
Maybe I should offer lap-dances and juggle? That’s all I’ve got left up my sleeve.