What If Everything You Believe in Is Wrong?

There’s this story people believe in. It’s about my life and how I fit into this country. People have no doubt this story is true. It goes like this:

Story 1

Who’s Really Rich

I’m rich. I belong to the richest race that controls the economy.

Members of my race give me unfair privileges in business. We’re greedy people who charge other people a lot and exploit them.

I live in a privileged world; isolated from the common people who are struggling.

The Role of Religion

I’m lost because I follow the wrong religion. Even worse, I question the role of religion in our systems.

I shouldn’t question, because there’s nothing more important. God is always in charge — look at all the historical victories of kingdoms who were following Him.

Incorporating religion into national policies is good, because that’s God’s will. Even though I’m from a different faith, I shouldn’t worry because it will not mess with my rights.

How to Win at Work

I’m doing well in my career, but that’s expected.

Everyone knows the workplace in this country is biased. People of the wrong color don’t get good, well-paying jobs. This is proven by research, but if you talk to enough common people you won’t even need to look at the research.

When one race controls the economy, this is what happens. They’ll only take care of their own people. The government needs to fix this unfairness.

Justice Must Be Practical

I’m naive.

I want strong institutions that strictly enforce the rule of law. I want people who do bad things to get punished, regardless of race, religion or political party. This should be black and white.

But the world doesn’t work that way.

Compromises must be made. The system is not perfect, but at least it kinda works. Sometimes people — especially leaders — have to bend the rules to achieve the greater good.

If a leader takes good care of his people but sometimes makes mistakes here and there, we can close one eye. Nobody’s perfect.

Besides, I complain a lot about corrupt leaders, but nobody’s been found guilty in court yet right?

The Education System vs Racism

I’m unfair when it comes to my stand on education. I’m a hypocrite.

The facts are simple. Some races need more help because they’re statistically poorer. People shouldn’t complain when needy people get more places in government universities.

There’s plenty of options for the rich race. Loans are available to everyone. There’s private scholarships and private universities.

What right do some people have to complain, when they don’t even bother to integrate; when they have their own separate education system in a different language? Most of them can’t even speak the national language properly.

Majority and Minority Rights

I have rights and I should be grateful for them. I should be thankful I can live in peace; that nobody is stealing my property or threatening my kids.

This is proof that minorities are well treated. But people need to remember who this country really belongs to; what our forefathers agreed on when they created this country.

The rightful owners of the land need to be well taken care of. They’ve already been overly kind, accommodating, and forgiving to immigrants. Surely it’s not too much to ask that their rights and privileges are strongly protected?

That’s why leaders focus so much on being defenders of race and religion.

Old vs New

I’ve become too open that I’ve lost my mind. I’ve forgotten traditional values. Because I fill my head with all kinds of dangerous ideas from foreign cultures.

It’s better to learn from ancient wisdom: religious texts and traditional teachings that have withstood the test of time — passed down through respected wise men.

The media likes to portray “new” progressive things as good, but the world is actually getting worse. Look at all the poor people struggling to make a living. Look at the terrible diseases caused by “science.” Even worse, the decline in morality: pre-marital sex, teen pregnancies, and drunk drivers who kill innocent people.

If we don’t defend traditional values, society will continue its downward spiral.

Freedom of Speech

I’m free to speak up and share my opinions.

But I need to do it in a respectful manner. There are certain things I shouldn’t question publicly. It’s good there are laws around this — to protect the peace and harmony in the country.

Story 2

There’s a different story that I believe in. It’s about my life and how I fit into this country. I have no doubt this story is true. And it goes like this:

Who’s Really Rich

I’m doing OK with money. Statistically, the country would consider me a high-income earner, but I don’t consider myself rich. I live what I think is a middle-class life. I have my struggles.

Most of the richest men in the country are members of my own race. Of course, that’s in declared wealth. Rumors say there’s lots of other super-rich people who don’t declare their wealth.

They don’t because it’s not legit money.

The Role of Religion

I believe religion is a private matter between you and God. You can do whatever you want in your religion, but it must not disturb others.

People who ride on religion for selfish purposes make me sick.

I can understand why some people laugh at “needless” religious things. It’s a matter of priorities. I’m more interested in human advancement in this world. But I know some people worry more about the afterlife.

Historically, allowing national and religious policies to mix has led to disaster — consider the religious wars in Europe in the 1500s.

How to Win at Work

I’ve enjoyed a good career so far. I recognize the privileges I have, but I’ve also worked hard for my success. I read and write only two languages fluently: the national language and English — but it hasn’t slowed down my career.

One recent study said there’s discrimination in our country’s hiring practices. I brushed the results off, because the research company had links to a right-wing political party.

Sometimes I feel complaining about “unfair” things is a loser’s mentality. Either you get better at the game, or you find a new game to play. Stop whining at the referee.

Justice Must Be Impartial

I believe in the rule of law. It’s absolutely necessary for a country to prosper.

Everything needs check and balance. Even the highest authority in the country needs to be audited by someone. A ruling prime minister should be able to be charged in court.

The justice system should be completely independent of any political interference. Today, I don’t believe it is.

The Education System vs Racism

I had a good education. I went to a good school and university on a private scholarship. But many among my race feel the system is unfair. I can empathize.

I keep reading about top students who weren’t able to get a course they wanted, because of quotas in the system.

The system isn’t 100% equal because it’s positively-biased towards certain communities. When you’re positively-biased towards some, that means you’re negatively-biased towards others. No point beating around the bush.

It’s something I can accept, because those communities need more help anyway. But surely there’s room for improvement. Surely we can do more to help poor kids from all races — while encouraging unity and combating racism.

Majority and Minority Rights

I have rights. I am content, even though I’m a minority.

But I find it funny how some members of the majority — with the most privileges — always seem to think their rights are in danger. When you control the country, why would you think that? Maybe it’s because people are being manipulated by politicians who play race politics.

Meanwhile, while Race X and Y continue to squabble, Race Z, A, B and many others continue to do worse in money, career and education.

New vs Old

I believe the world is getting better. Research shows it unquestionably is — in things like life expectancy, education and wealth.

Change is uncomfortable, but traditional things need to be challenged so we can evolve to something greater. The new must disrupt the old.

I learn these new ideas from reading books and exploring the Internet. Exposing myself to knowledge from all over the world is good — it allows me to improve my life and help others.

Freedom of Speech

I have my opinions, but many times I don’t speak up. I don’t really enjoy confrontation and I don’t wanna offend people. Also, I have too much to lose so I don’t wanna risk jail time.

It’s so hard to have an open, honest discussion these days without people taking it the wrong way.

– – –

Which story is true?

Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. But I’m damn sure it’s much nearer to my truth than other people’s truth.

Of course, you must think so too.

– – –

Pics from Pexels: Wallace Chuck & Mauricio Mascaro

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  • Hi Aaron,

    Not your typical post but you must’ve pondered a lot on all the things you have wrote. It is annoying when both set of views have hint of truth so you can’t really tell what is right and what is wrong lol.

    Not here to pretend to try to give answers, just here to let you know that like you, I am, and I am sure many others, like us, are confused too.

    • Hi Azlan,

      Thanks for dropping by and the note of support. I think a mature, democratic society starts by us having empathy with “the other side” and finding a way everyone can live in harmony together. If my article can spark provoke some thoughts (peacefully), very happy to say it has achieved its objective. 😀

  • There is one prevailing narrative in the world which is about selfish genes and survival of fittest. Those who believe in this story will want to protect their own and emphasize strongly on differences to create a clear boundary.

    The other narrative is about cooperative genes and law of abundance. Those who believe in this story will want to help other because they recognise whatever affects one affects all.

    Choosing a narrative is a falsehood, because nobody knows what kind of human being they are; are they selfish? are they selfless? Nobody can tell you with absolute 100% certainty even with access to all your genetic info and big data.

    Is there a law of survival of fittest? Is there a law of abundance? Both sides can quote circumstances where both is true.

    At the end of the day, it is what we decide we want to be, to create. Be a human being? Be a race/religion/caste/creed? Create a world of separation? A world of harmony? Whatsoever we believe, we create.

  • Dear Aaron,
    Both stories can be true as it depends on the perspective & biases of the person who judges it. As the adage goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” & “You can’t have it both ways”. All of us need to be less judgemental & appreciate each other more.

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