Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Religious Conversion

I asked a workmate if he was a religious person. He has been very helpful to me over many years in getting an understanding of the 'American' war in South East Asia from a Cambodian perspective. It is to be expected, and he is fiercely anti communist, so I refrain from calling him Comrade. I am sensitive at times. I never ask a Cambodian about their parents and where are they after the first time I did. Oh no!

I assumed he was a Buddhist and a bit religious in the ever so tolerant way of Buddhists.

No, he is a Catholic as is his wife. (in times past I may have added here that being a Catholic is almost worse than being a Muslim, but in my new phase of acceptance and tolerance, I shan't say that. In fact I don't even think it and I will not recite childhood insults about religions, maggots and frogs, no matter how much it is ingrained into me)

Why are you Catholic? His reply was that he and his wife converted from being a Buddhist so that their children could go to a local Catholic school where discipline was of a high order.

This conversation happened perhaps twenty years ago but even so I was surprised to hear that the school girl's dresses were still checked for length by them kneeling on the ground and a measurement taken with a ruler.

We spoke again of his daughter some years later and she was then an on call doctor and if she was called out from home in the middle of the night, he always drove her himself and waited if she was not going to be too long.

Now she is a surgeon with her own family and precious little time for dear old Dad who moved heaven and earth to come to Australia for his children's sake, who denied his own religion for his children, who worked a humble job to bring up his children when he was meant for better things, who went without sleep to ensure his grown child's safety on the road. This came from a close third party who knows the family.

When he was younger, my workmate had a good sense of humour and I could always have a laugh with him. Now he is a tired and sad old man. We still exchange greetings when we see each other but it is clear that he is not interested in much conversation. I cannot recall the last time I saw him smile or laugh.

Love your children, do lots for them, but don't go overboard and don't expect a lot of gratitude, or you may be disappointed.


  1. What an interesting post, food for thought me thinks.
    Saw you over at cazzies and being terribly nosey came over for a peek, glad I did enjoyed the issues you discuss.

  2. Tis a funny thing Queenie. I took notice of you too at Cazzie's blog, perhaps because of your name or your avatar. Thanks anyway. I will read some of your blog tomorrow.

  3. Oh, and since Pants, (linked blogger) has declined to answer my email because she hates me, or does not check her gmail, or is too busy moving from the UK, can you tell how chavs is pronounced? We have our own word, bogan. Chavs as in have, or chavs as in calves? I need to know this before I visit UK next year and go on a drunken rampage and call all my partner's nieces chavs.I would hate to mispronounce it and look foolish.

    Queenie, as you can see, I can be a dangerous person to connect with on the net.

  4. Haha, well, Now you have some more readers Andrew:)
    Sadly, I see this on too many occasions. Sometimes I am the only person there to sit with someone in their final hours. I always wonder what their life was like. Who their freinds were, if they had children, if their children ever many things..most of all, I always think, this person was someone's baby at sometime..and I would hope they had a good happy childhood, and a happy life too.
    Your friend did a great thing, I wish his daughter realised what it was that her dad actually did for her.

  5. Andrew, it's a chav like have. Ch sound like in 'cheese', definitely not 'shav'.

    Not to like, totally ignore the rest of your post, but this is the only part I actually have some kind of knowledgeable input on!

  6. Yes, everyone has so much history Cazzie.

    Thanks Non Blondie. As I thought. Wonder why I have never heard it in Shameless.

  7. That's the way our skirts were measured when I went to high school.

    I will try to be more grateful to my mother after reading this sad tale.

  8. I am sure they don't do the measure thing now Daisy Jo, or do they?

  9. It is sad when kids expect their parents to keep making sacrifices,even of themselves, long after the kids are classed as adults.

    Judging by the hem lengths in the school opposite us,the measurements are now decreed by Britney Spears.

  10. Sure is Jayne. But there can be two sides to things when fathers can be overly possessive.

    Lol at Brit.