Saturday, 7 July 2012

Common Courtesy vs Equal Rights

Many years have passed and women have fought to have equal rights from Overseas to Fiji. From allowing women to also vote for their political party to getting educated and even be political figures.

Watching movies and documentaries of the past one would safely assume that common courtesy was a definite must back in the past.

Today when one comes in buses, especially in the Vatuwaqa bus, men hardly stand to give their seat to a lady who is standing. I have witness this many times. It tends to be the younger women that stand for the older women. Only a couple of times men have stood for a woman. I never used to understand this, until one time i was standing in line to buy a serve a BBQ in Suva. A lady had been behind a guy and had asked if she could just get a serve before him since she was parked illegally. He turned his head to wards her and said " equal rights". Just that simple statement. I t made me realize over the years that men also take all these to heart.

Then again one would ask,"What about common courtesy? Does that play a role in our society anymore? or has it gone with the wind when equal rights became effective in our country?

I came from Jasper Williams High School, an all girls school in the Western side of Viti Levu and there was always classes to teach everyone manners, and common courtesy. When walking on corridors, and an older person is walking from the other side, you stand aside and let her walk before you can resume with your journey. In buses, if it is full and you see someone whose older than you standing, you have to offer up your seat as well as addressing teachers, there was a certain way to it. Those were just some of the examples of  common courtesy acts that was a must.

Today i am so surprised when I see men never stand for women in a bus. When there is a crowd all waiting to get in the bus, all men and women push and shove each other to get inside. There was a certain time back i remember precisely that a blind man had come into a full bus where people were already standing.. I was sitting right in the back. While he was walking in with his walker (stick used to guide him), nobody bothered to stand for him. There were a few men sitting right in the front and they did not even look like they were the least bothered. Finally a woman in the fourth seat, stood up and led the blind man to sit in her seat.

Are we not teaching our kids right? Are schools still being taught the importance of common courtesy? Do we really want to have a country that have no gentlemen or if there are any, will they be rare? I say let us not confuse the issue of equal rights with common courtesy. For everyone's' sake including the future leaders of tomorrow.
Vinaka and you all have a beautiful day.
Faranisese Ratu

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