It's the end of month and my end of month routine is going to the house of the landlord, Mr. Nemaley Kulansingam, paying the rent. As always, it has never been a touchNgo; pay & return. There are always issues to discuss, most of the time political issues (actually every single time ) and hey, politics never get drained, isn't it? Plus, it's Malaysia, the Boleh-land where anything can happen.
But this week is not as ever before, politics was uncharactheristically put aside and the moment I sat on the couch, the first thing he asked me was about my future planning. What am I gonna be? My career prospect, when am I gonna get married? I guest it's a sign that we are getting closer as friends and i kind of like it. Since he started with personal questuons, i followed the same pattern, I asked him "If I may ask you (he's 79, of course I must show some respect, right?), you are Buddhis, right?" "No, I'm Hindu", he replied. Then began the exciting part of our conversation that evening.
I told him I'm doing some research on Buddhism, "Hinduism will be next" I made an immediate plan when he said he is an hindu not buddhis as I thought, haha. He got excited "Good!" He replied. "We must stay firm with our religion and at the same time broaden our knowledge of other religions." He continued. "For me, in multi-cultural & multi-religious country like Malaysia, we must learn to respect each other and we can never respect them if we don't understand them; their culture, their relegion" I added.
"Yes but some muslims are too afraid of other religions, they are afraid that it might influence the muslims. But by not knowing others, you will start being intolerant and suspicious" Mr. Kula elaborated, being frank.
"Fear of the unknown" I added, "Honestly, Mr. Kula, I become more convinced of my religion by learning other religions. Seriously, people will fear something they don't know"
"Some people have dichotomous mindset; if i am right, then you are wrong" Mr. Kula said.
"They live in a world of black and white," I smiled then asked for his permission to go back as I listened to azhan of maghrib prayer from nearby masjid.
As I'm leaving, he said, "This has been a very good conversation, we must have more of this"
"Why not, this is just an introduction," I smiled and left.
On the way home, i was thinking about a novel i've just read 'Tuesday with Morrie' by Mitch Albom then it crossed my mind that I could write my own version of the novel, Saturday with Mr. Kula.
That is a pretty interesting idea, isn't it?