Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Life has a funny way of causing me to question motives and re-think actions and attitudes. I've been reflecting a lot on the issue of deceipt and dishonesty.
I am confronted on a daily basis with the choice to trust or not to trust the people around me. I have commented to others that my faith in the decency and purity of people has plummeted. I now have a very difficult time trusting anyone because I have been lied to and cheated so many times since I've been in Asia.
In fact, when I did a fun quiz with of a group of my pre-intermediate students on how honest they were (as an introduction to teaching the 2nd conditional, unreal/unlikely future), only 3 students out of about 20 actually scored in the range of being honest people. The majority scored in the OK or dishonest category.
In fact, one student shocked me so much by completing the sentence, "If someone lied to me, I would. . ." and he completed it with ". . . be happy." I actually stopped class and clarified what he said because I was so shocked that he was so casual about it.
What I have been coming to realize is that lying, cheating and stealing are considered necessary and prized virtues by most Cambodians nowadays. It happens so often and is so rampant that there is an attitude: "you can't fight 'em so join 'em."
My heart is so incredibly sad to come to this realization because I know that it is a stumbing block to true freedom. And as an American (along with other western foreigners) it is not in my spirit to want to accept this. I want to believe that people are good and honest. Unfortunately, reality paints a different picture which flies in the face of everything that I have learned and been taught.