Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Have You Missed The First Button?

Those who are bitten by dogs are not necessary thieves.

And those who keep long beard are not necessarily religious leaders.

But those who are prejudiced against others always find ways to criticize and discriminate.


There was a man who used to send his wife to the train station every Friday evening that she might visit her sick mother.

The man would then wait for another 10 minutes for his sister, who would later assist him in the house chores for the weekend.

The reverse would happen every Sunday.

His sister would leave 10 minutes early and he would then wait for his wife to arrive.

One Sunday evening after his sister had left, a station supervisor came to him.

“Sir, I notice you are doing very well with two women. Aren’t you afraid to be caught?”


Many of us are doing the same.

We examine people through our own eyes, and then we make our own conclusions.

We decide whether they are good or bad people, whether they are having an affair, whether they are greedy or crafty or both, whether they are manipulative and self serving, or loving and kind, or patient and prudent, and so forth.

Sometimes we even pour our thoughts into them and lead them astray.


You may have heard the following story.

Two women were having drinks on the same table.

One of them habitually put her umbrella at the edge of the table.

The other woman finished her drink, accidentally took the umbrella and went on her way.

The owner of the umbrella screamed, “Oh you! You are taking my umbrella!”

The woman with the umbrella hesitated, turned around, put back the umbrella, and apologized.

“Oh! I’m sorry. I forgot I didn’t bring umbrella today.”

She then left, ashamed.

But the incident reminded her to buy two umbrellas for her children.

On her way home, she met with the same woman again, this time in a bus.

The other woman stared at her with wide eyes, and said, “Oh, I see you have a good harvest.”


We love to judge people, and we divide people into “good” and “bad”.

If a person impresses us, we will cover for him, and explain his speech and action from a good angle.

But when we have classified someone as bad, everything bad will be his or her fault.

Someone has called this a “halo effect”.

It is just like when we observe the moon, we will take note of its surrounding halo.

So when we have our perception of a person, we will automatically relate his speech and action with our very first impression of him.


How unreasonable our perception of others can be.

There was a story of a young Jew and an old Jew sitting in the same train.

The young Jew asked the old Jew, “Sir, what time is it?”

The old Jew kept silent.

“Sir, Sorry for disturbing. But I need to know what time it’s now. Can you please tell me?”

The old Jew hesitated and then answered, “My son, the next stop is the last stop. And I don’t even know your name. If I answer your question now, according to the Jewish tradition, I have to invite you to my home.”

“You look handsome, and I have a beautiful daughter. You two will surely get along and fall in love with one another. Then you will marry her and bring her away from me. You tell me, why do I need a son-in-law who cannot even afford a cheap watch?


Virtually every minute of our life, and almost in everything that we do, we have the tendency to judge others according to our past knowledge and experience.

For example, we may have heard or insisted that “every businessman is a crook”, “All the lady drivers are that bad”, “Men are unhygienic,” “Jews are stingy,” “Americans are romantic,” and so forth.

And then we develop a number of set rules to judge people.


Here is another story.

A man arrived in America, and took a stroll in a park one day.

He saw some white men sitting on the grass talking softly, smiling and laughing away.

He thought, “The American life is so amazing; these people really know how to enjoy life.”

Then he saw a few black men sitting on the same grass talking, smiling and laughing away.

And he thought “The unemployment among the black is really bad. These people have to live on Social Security.”


Prejudice kills.

We don’t know many people,

And many people don’t know us.

We must not simply judge others,

And we must not simply take to heart people’s judgments on us.

Everyone does miss the first button sometimes.

Isn’t it?

1 comment:

imelda said...

i agree with you o this.sometimes i am guilty of this, too