Who judges the rules of this game?
Some time ago we were wondering when to judge success. Today I’m thinking about judgement itself, and the rules by which we play our game of life.
As Arno mentioned in the last post, when we got here to the Philippines, one of the best advises we got from an old-school expat was not to try to enforce our western morals and ethics here, as it would just drive us crazy.
I’m slowly starting to understand what that exactly means. We have never lived outside the ‘west’ before. Sure, we have lived in other countries and continents, but always in a western world. The differences between countries were evident, but compared to where we are now it was more like a case of tometo-tomato.
Who decides what is right?
We are challenged to view life differently now. So many things we would previously judge harshly are just a part of normal life here. It forces you to look at life from a different angle. And especially to think by whose rules do we play when we judge something to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?
Take cock fighting for an example. A seemingly rough and cruel sport, but also highly popular here in the Philippines. My friends in the west are expressing their disgust towards this sport, as was I, when I was still only a tourist here.
We judge without knowing, we judge without thinking. It comes so easy. While sitting on our leather chairs, eating meat, we watch in horror how the rest of world is treating their animals. And who can blame us?
We seem to forget that those neatly, vacuum-sealed packages of meat we buy from the local , well lit, clean and spacious supermarket were once animals. Animals being force-fed in the span of 6 months to a year to be quadrupled in size and weight for our carnal pleasure. They’re crammed with 10-15 fellow victims into tiny little cages or boxes, stressed out of their wits, a good number of them stressed –literally- to death.
But that’s ok, because we don’t actually SEE that, or we refuse to see it. All we see is that neatly wrapped piece of meat we buy from the shelf in the store. And that makes it ok. That makes us civilized. Nothing to be disgusted about there!
How are we any better?
It occurred to me that we will only truly know how much we have changed when we go back to the place where we started. Still I always love those days when my mind is blown. This week it was blown by realizing I would rather be living a life of a fighting cock in Asia then a caged chick pumped up with hormones in EU waiting to be slaughtered after 8 months of living without daylight.
Why? Cocks are –literally- pampered for about 2-3 years before they participate in a fight. They are fed with the best food, roam around freely on the premises and get all the space to grow and develop. They are sometimes treated better than the owner’s own family, considering the cock can be a very lucrative source of income. One of the staff members here is notorious for giving his cocks better quality food than himself.
Interesting journey down from our high morals
It remains an interesting journey, and I’m delighted how it provokes me, changes me, challenges and opens me. It pokes the seemingly high morals and ethics I share with my fellow westerners, and shows me how subjective and highly selective they are. It teaches me to think twice before judging, because what do we really know?
And no, I will not become a regular at the Sunday’s cock-fight, but I will not boo it or try to stop it from happening either.