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MALAYSIA is a unique country and being a parent here comes with its own unique challenges. It’s all due to the different cultures, races and religions living together.

Most of the time, we blend very well together with mutual understanding, tolerance and respect.

Recently, there was a fracas in Johor Baru where a motorist was attacked by a mob after he honked incessantly during a Friday prayer session at a nearby mosque. Apparently, his car was blocked by other cars parked near the mosque area.

This is a perfect example of when common sense, tolerance and understanding are much needed.

First and foremost, we must understand that when we block other road users, they’ll get mad. It’s also not fair to those who get caught in the traffic jam. It’s good practice to always allow motorists some space to manoeuvre if you intend to double park.

Meanwhile, incessant honking will undoubtedly annoy people. The driver should have been more considerate, seeing there was a prayer in session. His actions reflected intolerance. He should have anticipated the event, unless this was the first time he was experiencing a Friday prayer event in that neighbourhood.

Almost similar scenarios can be seen around other religious sites and processions but we don’t see road users being liberal with their honking.

The same goes when one has to manoeuvre one’s way out during school peak hours. As Malaysians, we should be sensitive to these situations and act accordingly to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Having said that, attacking another person, animals or even property is definitely wrong, no matter what the justification.

Yes, blaming and pointing fingers may feel good for the time being but it’ll just create animosity in the long term. Let’s understand each other and make life better.

Let’s do something about these situations that are within our control. For example, try avoiding mosque areas on a Friday or be patient if you are caught in a jam near other religious establishments.

Fortunately, the JB case had a positive outcome when the mosque’s committee met up with the residents’ association. Misunderstandings were quickly resolved and harmony restored.

This proves that we do have it inside all of us to be nice to each other. Life’s too short to waste time on trivialities like these.

As parents, we have an opportunity to educate our children on these matters too. Talk to them about cultural, racial and religious issues and see what their responses are.

If they show a high level of understanding, then congratulate yourself for having been a positive parent. Otherwise, you may have a long way to go. But don’t give up. Continue to spread love instead of negativity. Let’s stop the cycle from becoming more vicious.

**The article above was brought to you by AmMetLife Insurance Bhd

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