It's been a while since I wrote my last article length post. I've just been either busy or just plain lazy. Well, today I have some time and am not so lazy so i think I'll talk about a topic which has been creeping up in recent events happening around me which has got me thinking about this. Respect I think plays a very important role in life and though I think that respect has to be afforded to everyone even in the very little most amount but real respect is earned by the actions we do and the examples we set.

  Respect in Chinese.... i think...

This is how Wikipedia defines respect:

Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., "I have great respect for her judgment"). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, whereas actions that honor somebody or something indicate respect.

Specific ethics of respect are of fundamental importance to various cultures. Respect for tradition and legitimate authority is identified by Jonathan Haidt as one of five fundamental moral values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals.

 Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn't necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is not incompatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect.

There are many examples of respect in action in our everyday lives but I will talk about it from my point of view as to hopefully not offend anyone. I guess we all learn to respect others first from our family. I think the person I learnt to respect the most, similar to most children - young boys particularly is our fathers. As a young boy I wanted to be like my dad. He inspired me. He whet my inquisitive mind, challenged me and opened up the world to me. I think that is a very important trait of being a father and to a simmilar extent a husband. Gaining the respect of your family is key to being a good husband and father - the head of the family. When a man loses the respect of his children one will get problematic children that look elsewhere for role models, guidance and re-assurance whereas a wife that has lost the respect of the husband will at best lead to continuous fighting and at worse may even end up in divorce - nauzubillah...
Cute huh these two kids bowing to each other...

By association in Malay, Asian and Islamic culture a high degree of respect is afforded to elders. This is due to the greater wisdom garnered by the extra years of experience the have gone through. As the line in Anastasia's song "Who's gonna stop the rain" goes "There is no laughter without tears, no wisdom without years". This is evident in the customs and way of conduct in front of elders that we are taught at a very young age. However, as much as i respect my elders and older people generally I do not agree in using age as a means to shut younger people up or segregate between the age groups. One good example is children are often "banned" from joining in the conversations of elders, usually with the common phrase "Jangan menyampuk orang tua bercakap". Also at the mosque, in Malaysia we have a seperate row at the back for children. I think all this quite unhealthy practice as it stunts the mental development of these kids. I believe that the more a child is exposed to the thinking and ways of the elders, the faster they mature and the bigger their worldview. The learn responsibility and other mature values faster and in turn the respect for elders increases. The only thing is that the elders have to make sure their actions are worth or respect in front of the children. As quickly as children learn to respect their elders, they can lose respect of their elders just as quickly. So friends (and me too), you have ben reminded.

 The Buddhist way of showing respect

Another group of people who a high degree of respect is afforded to are teachers/mentors/coaches. These people are respected because of their knowledge/skills possessed and the readiness to impart the knowledge on us. In Islam there are specific rules of conduct when interacting with teachers and other people of knowledge and skill. Please refer to proper text on the matter. I will not elaborate here.
Friends and other people also need to be respected, and I don't mean just people from your race or religion only! Everyone is entitled to some respect. Even if the do shameless behaviour that makes you lose respect for them, I'm sure you can find some good in them for you to try to respect them. 

Last but not on any accord the least, one must have respect for oneself! No respect for oneself leads to low self esteem and we all know that is not good. Learning to appreciate what you have and what you can do, no matter how trivial they look to you is the basis for healthy self respect. Beware though, over doing it may lead to riak & takabur, or boastful/pompous behaviour which is not only disliked by most people but is also forbidden in Islam. [insert hadith here =P]

hehehe, ok... so I'm getting sleepy now and would like to summarise everything now. Que the Che Det blog style.
1) Afford other people respect however disrespectful their actions may be.

2) Be humble as humble people gain respect of other easier than pompous people.

3) Try to see the good in people, however little it is. Seeing the good in people makes respecting them easier.

4) Respect is earned. Sometimes a simple act of not doing shameful or disrespectful acts can earn one's respect. By extension, one should never do shameful/disrespectful acts because of this among other reasons.

5) Learn to respect yourself before respecting others. Being comfortable with yourself is one of the keys to happyness (deliberate spelling error in reference to the Will Smith movie "The pursuit of happyness" - if u haven't watched it, go watch it!)

6) Do not choose and pick who you respect based on any affiliation, religion, race or what ever. Selective respect will actually make you lose respect of others.

7) Respect others and others will respect you.

8) Repeat steps 1-7.

Oklah.. I'm starting to talk gibberish now. Remember, if there was one most important rule about respect, it is also the most simple rule, rule number 7 - Respect others and others will respect you. May we all live respectable lives and be respected by others. Ameen. Good night my friends.