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What is respect?

I have been hearing this word a few times in the past month. In the TV series, The Sopranos, Tony Soprano told his nephew "to earn respect, you have to give respect". Mido, my guide in Egypt, said "you are listening to me but you are not respecting me". The Bomba (fire brigade) chief who was giving a speech in the office the other day said that "To be successful, you only need to remember two things. One obey the laws of God and two respect the rights of another human being". And finally, a friend, commenting on me wearing a T-shirt to a wedding as "not showing respect to the host".

And so, what is respect? Is it something that all of us looked for? I know that I dislike Bonnie because Bonnie doesn't show me respect and yet expected it from me. And if respect is so important, why aren't we taught as a child to show and expect respect from people?

Case in point: we were on our tour. Mido was explaining a relief to us. All of us are listening to him but we are also looking elsewhere and taking picture. He said we are not showing respect. I agree with what he said but I wonder, why aren't we paying attention? Do we think it is ok to listen and take picture at the same time? How come we were never thought to pay attention first and take pictures later?

I observed the same thing in my work place. We may be attending a class or we may be attending a meeting. The presenter are presenting his slides and talking in front of us. YET, many of us are busy typing on our notebooks in the guise of doing work. Are we listening to the presenter? I am sure we are. Are we showing respect? NO. And if respect is so important, how come it was never built deep into us? How come we were never told that to look at the presenter and listen in rapt is respecting him as the presenter? All we were told is that we are not paying attention and not listening. The word respect was never in the vocabulary.

Take this scene many years back.. back to school days. The teacher is teaching in the class. What were we doing? Drawing sketches in the exercise book. Flipping our pencils. Looking dreamily at that girl across the room. What did the teacher said when she caught us? She'll say that we are not listening to her, that we are not paying attention. How come she didn't use the word respect "You are not showing me respect!"?

I am glad that recent events sited in my first paragraphs has provided me exposure to the word respect. It is strange that this word came into my life in a duration of a month. It may be a coincidence or it may be a sign. I don't know. At least, it opened my eyes and perhaps make me into a better person.

Now I will give and expect respect :)


  1. Well, respect is very subjective. Some people demand respect due to pride. But i guess in a gist, regardless we should view respect and give respect to any human being out there regardless of ranking. Just as another human being..... :P


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