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Whatever We Do, We Need Respect

This is a Mongolian Yurt placed downtown Toronto, at St. James Park, next to the St James Cathedral.

This is a Mongolian Yurt placed downtown Toronto, at St. James Park, next to the St James Cathedral.

A few weeks ago, I was in the subway. It was on a Sunday evening, around eight o’clock. The subway was relatively empty. There were people sitting down, but not all the seats were occupied. I was the only person standing. I was leaning with my back against a set of doors, and scanning around as I usually do.

What I observed not long into my ride were a boy and a girl who were playing around across from me and a little to the left. They were pretty young, maybe around four, or five years old. Their mother was sitting next to them, legs crossed and an arm resting on her leg, with her hand supporting her head. Her eyes were closed. She looked tired, or maybe “sick and tired”. The kids continued to goof around when a man to my left, who was sitting down across from them, suddenly told the kids to stop. At that point, the kids sat down on their seats and quieted down.

I took a guess that he was their father, since he called the boy out by his name. As I continued to glance at the man, who could not see my face unless he would have turned right and looked a little back and up, I saw he held a tall can of alcoholic apple cider in his right hand. It was an odd thing to see because here in Toronto, it is not legally allowed to drink alcohol if You are not in a private establishment. People do not walk around with beers in their hands down the street, as they do in Europe.

I did not catch what triggered the man but after a couple of minutes, out of nowhere he said quite loud: “I love Chinese people. They have the best culture!”

That threw me off guard a little. He was not talking to anyone in specific, nor was anyone talking to him. On top of which, he was a Caucasian man, in his mid-fifties. It wasn’t like some Chinese man was showing gratitude towards his fellow Chinese brothers and sisters, or the culture.

The man beside me continued with: “They really do have the best culture. They’re taking over everything. They’re winning.”

That is when I understood that I was standing beside a bigot; a racist and a hypocrite. His tone of voice had a clear sign of sarcasm when lauding “Chinese culture”. I for one was not going to have any of that but for me that was a great social experiment because the cart was not empty. There were people around who could hear him. I was waiting to see if anyone would stop his spewing of hatred.

I was not fully disappointed when after him saying over and over how he loves “Chinese culture” and how they are “everywhere”, a younger Asian guy, perhaps in his early twenties, who was sitting a little further down to the man’s left, did say that: “Actually Chinese culture is very beautiful.” Even though the man ignored what the younger Asian guy said and continued to robotically repeat how “Chinese culture wins over any other culture”, I was glad someone at least got themselves together to say anything at all. With that observation in the past, I decided enough was enough and it was time to end the nonsense.

I took a step forward, to enter his peripheral vision and turned a little towards him, looking at him. He looked back at me, with red, glossy eyes. I’m sure I didn’t look particularly happy (although I was happy to stand-up to a bully – I’ll do it anytime) and with a dry voice I told him to put-down the alcohol and stop insulting people because “insulting strangers never helped anyone”.

“I’m not insulting anyone” he said laughing. “Chinese culture is great! Look they’re everywhere”, waving his left arm towards two Asian girls sitting next to his wife and children.

I was so not going to have any of his sarcasm, denials, racism, or anything else at that point so, I told him I wasn’t born yesterday and that the alcohol is not helping him judge and/or make decisions.

“You should watch it,” I said while pointing at the can of cider in his hand.

“You should watch it” came a quick, direct and a little threatening response from him. The tone had definitely changed.

“I do watch it. I do not drink alcohol” I said again in a very dry and forcing tone. It was time to shut him up for good. I did not give him a chance to say anything else. I allowed anger to race through my veins, to heat up my body. I felt the hairs on my arms rise-up and I went-off on him:

“You’re upset that Chinese people are here in Canada?! So, it was okay for your family to come here decades upon decades ago but it isn’t okay for Chinese people to come here now?! You’re white. Where are You from?

“I’m Irish”, he responded a little more settled.

Burning him with my eyes I pointed at the ground or, the floor of the subway to be more precise and told him in the same forceful tone:

“This is Native Land! Your people are not from here. This is Native Land and You have no right to be upset about Chinese people coming here! Or, You can leave and go back to Ireland.”

By now he was looking at me worryingly, as I was fuming and almost quietly, he said:

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“Yes, You’re right. Native people have been here long before. You got the math right… They’ve been here for many thousands of years.”

It was done. I turned my back to him facing the set of doors through which I had to exit the subway at the following stop. I did watch him in the reflection from the window on the subway doors, as I had my back at him. I missed the moment when he dropped his can of apple cider but I did hear the "thump" and as I looked in the reflection of the window, I saw his can spilling and rolling on the floor. He shrugged at his kids and put his index finger to his lips, as in telling the children to be quiet.

Haha!! I think I’m sweating just from writing this. I was ready to tear that man to pieces. Such disrespect straight-out in public, I had not seen in a long time and I do wish people would not allow this type of behavior to take place. Stand up. Say something. You can lose your life but You cannot lose your honor. Honor You only lose when You give it up.

And why is it so hard to be respectful? We need to have respect in our relationships to one another. Societies cannot function otherwise. Anyone could be a disrespectful prick all they want if they live alone in the mountains, or in the desert. Not in communities though. Not when so many of us live together and we have to interact with one another.

For me it goes unsaid that we have to try to be helpful, be kind, be loving, be thoughtful, be accepting, be understanding, be truthful, be compassionate. We have to communicate well with others and make sure we only judge at an individual level and only judge people by their actions. We cannot judge people based on their religion, colour, culture, etc. Lastly, we have to have the strength to apologize for our mistakes and work at not repeating them. We cannot apologize today and do the same thing tomorrow.

It’s enough. Rudeness, disrespect, hatred and the like have no place in my world. So, I will not put-up with any of those. Not around me and not if I can help it. The world I wish to create is different and it has no room for people like the man in the subway. That type of attitude is no longer acceptable.

All the best to everyone!

Anti-Semitic chants at Charlottesville


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 06, 2020:

Hello Mr. Guzman,

I too see how "open racism" as You mentioned is making a come-back but not in my proximity. I just can't. I can't do it. I can't sit idle.

You know, Snakes and Lattes sounded familiar but I had to look it up just now. I've passed by but never went in, that's why. I don't even know why I never went in. I actually enjoy board games.

Anyway, thank You kindly for the visit and all the best for 2020!

Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on January 06, 2020:

Way to speak up Mr. Happy. Sadly Trump has made open racism okay again. I didn't know Toronto had a subway. I would love to visit one day. Hopefully marijuana costs less up there. Happy New Year. I always wanted to visit Snakes and Lattes.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on October 18, 2018:

Thank You for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mr. Manatita.

"Let us continue to serve … to play or role for inner and outer justice." - For me it's not even so much about justice, as the intended end-goal is peace. We cannot have peace if we do not accept others and otherness. Respect here is one of the critical components.


manatita44 from london on October 17, 2018:

What can I say? You end with an attitude like Bill's, the very man who brought you to me and why I came here to reciprocate your kindness.

Those situations happen, alas! A lack of education or experience, but mostly a too active mind. We are looking for 'kicks', to appease are unsettledness, but yes, this does not excuse it. You are very brave and show insight. Each has to respond in a way that nature allows at any given moment.

Perhaps it affected the man. Let us continue to serve … to play or role for inner and outer justice. God speed!

Mr. Happy on October 05, 2018:

Thank You for stopping by Mrs. Primic. I appreciate your comment and I do think we can create a more harmonious world. We just have to work at it. The more people join-in, the better.

All the very best!

Devika Primic on October 04, 2018:

I agree with you. Being respectful to others is important. To have good communication with love and care should be part of our daily lives.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 16, 2018:

Greetings Mr. Brad,

I agree with You that people should not "pick on ethnicity". We are all the same specie and it doesn't matter much if You like potatoes and I like rice, or if You like pasta and I like beans. Our culture, preferences and the like are not significant. What is important is how we treat each other.

I did not understand what You meant by "pigeon holed race, sex and ethnicity" - Not sure what "pigeon holed" means lol

Thank You for your visit, for taking the time to read and leave a comment as well. All the best!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 16, 2018:

Hello Mr. Bill,

Sorry for the delay in my response. My yesterday was a bit of a run-around.

About that Yurt, I really like them. The one in the photo was actually quite spacious and considering I stayed in it even in November, I must admit that it was very nice and warm. The not so nice part about it, in my opinion is the lack of windows but that's about it. Otherwise, I love them! They are easy to put together, You can move them around if You want. They're great! Not terribly expensive eiter. I think the one in the photo was roughly six thousand dollars (that's Canadian dollars so, less for You lol).

Thank You for the visit and for leaving a comment. Keep fighting for what is right - cheers! : )

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 15, 2018:

Thank You for the kind words, Mr. Xavier. And thank You for the taking the time to read and leave a comment. I appreciate it. All the best!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 15, 2018:

Mr. Diogenes, it is so very nice to "hear" from You - I wish You're doing well! : )

Your comment about "as if his pseudo dominant position in the ward scared him" is very interesting. I believe that certain things need to happen and so, they happen for many reasons. Maybe some people can learn from "happenings". Maybe ...

I fully agree with You about the impact that we as humans have when we keep killing our animal cousins, when we keep encroaching on their territories and building our towns/cities. And it is very true that in some countries l;ike Canada, or the United States, the UK and so on, we can protest, we can block roads, have banners, etc. In China, or Russia, or any dictatorship, we can;t even say anything, or we might vanish for good. That's a problem with all dictatorships.

I appreciate your comment and thank You kindly for the visit. Cheers!

Brad on September 15, 2018:

Mr Happy

I don't see the point here to bring in the Chinese, especially based on your account of a single event. If you want the world to be happy than don't pick on ethnicity. The government over the course of the last one hundred years has pigeon holed race, sex and ethnicity. Why?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 15, 2018:

My wife and I are looking into buying a yurt and moving into it out at the farm. I love them and I'm so tired of the upkeep on this house we live in.

As for respect, this is one of the basic things all humans should expect...and takes zero effort to show basic respect towards someone....and I have been known to stand up for respect, as you did. I just simply cannot tolerate disrespect. I've earned respect, you've earned respect, and on and on and on....such a simple thing.

Peace my friend!

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on September 15, 2018:

Strength and honour my friend. You live the speak and that is what I have always loved about you.

diogenes from UK and Mexico on September 15, 2018:

ps. Re the Chinese. My chief objection is the way that nation is driving so many of our beautiful and irreplaceable horned animal, etc., into extinction, along with the poor Africans supplying them, who can be forgiven to a great extent.

But there's probably only a few thousand idiots who think homeopathic remedies like powdered rhino horn effect their tiny libidos. Most Chinese, like all nationalities, are decent people...

diogenes from UK and Mexico on September 15, 2018:

This was interesting as I had a similar experience recently telling abully to shut up who was bothering a Japanese nurse in hospital. He was a loud and offensive type but he shut up and I had the feeling he wanted to be told off as if his pseudo dominant position in the ward scared him as much as many of the older patients. She was the best nurse in the ward, too, so it was a win-win situation apparently.


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 14, 2018:

Greetings Mr. Wesman,

Thank You for the visit and I do agree with You, there is no Chinese take-over that I am concerned about. Biggoted people I am concerned about though.

I myself am an immigrant. I can't put-up a double standard: it's okay for me to be here but other people cannot come here. I try not to be a hypocrite.

I'd say You're right about that bubble bursting. There has been a bullish market since the last economic meltdown in 2008. Not if but when this thing crashes, it will hurt. I should probably move to the country side and buy some goats.

I guess for now, I'll just go with that Romanian poet's saying: "We'll die and we'll see." ("Om muri si-om vedea" - Mircea Dinescu)

Thank You for the visit and for leaving a comment. Cheers!

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on September 14, 2018:

Eh, the Chinese are not taking over. They are certainly in a nice and long upwards arch, but they aren't taking over anything in North America. What they are doing a bit of taking over of is Africa. Well, the Africans will really get a learning experience from all of that.

The long Chinese bull run isn't sustainable. If we should be worried about anything out of China, it is what is going to happen when the bubble bursts, and the Chinese economy has to reconcile the fact that it can't just continually go upwards at the rates it had been doing, indefinitely.

Right now, China is like someone who just took a huge hit off of a crack pipe. They're going to come down, and it is going to be worrisome. Maybe more so for them than for anyone else.

Guess your street drinker isn't the most astute international economics guy. I'm not either, by the way, but I at least like to think I'm ...ahem, kinda rational, maybe? :)

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