Although my father died 42 years ago, his wise reminders and advices will always be glued hard in my mind and heart. In our family he was a disciplinarian and a man of wisdom. He would engulf our dinner time with serious conversations about current politics or education. He would also enjoy casual discussions about entertainments, movies, arts, and other finer things in life. He has that every bit of spice in his conversations with us. I gained a lot of knowledge when conversing with him. I missed our sitting together so much.

I would never forget a piece of his wise advice. I was still so young at that time. It started when he was telling us about protocols in royal gatherings. He went on by saying that we should learn from the royal protocols and practice those in our daily lives. These royal protocols were managed to keep healthy relationship between the heads of states. I carried this advice in my heart and practised it until now. I save a lot of relationships with human beings for practicing it.

His advice was:

When you are socializing among families, friends, or strangers –

  • Do not discuss or enquire anything about any religion because it is a very sensitive issue. Everybody has their own religious beliefs which requires respect from others. Nobody has the right to say what is wrong or what is right about other people’s beliefs.
  • Do not discuss or enquire anything about politics because everyone of us has his own choice of political party and ideology. Discussing it may cause tension and stress. The string might break.
  • Do not discuss or enquire about personal, private, and confidential details. This also includes bragging. Please do not brag about your money, power, or achievement. You just do not know the situation and hardship of the people we socialize.

These three issues might lead to lose respect and comfort, conversation will dim its light, hearts would be sunken to a deep abyss, relationship turns sour and bitter and friendship melts like ice.

By avoiding these I managed to keep good relationship with my friends and family and prevented me from losing them. By avoiding these I managed to prevent myself from being a racist and an insult and annoyance to others.

By avoiding these I managed to build new healthy friendships with strangers.

Most importantly, I pray that day by day I will always be a better person for others and for myself.

Author: Fatimah Aini, Malaysia, 23 December 2022