The Rules Do Not Apply


Some of the fans who had been queuing all night to buy Lady Gaga tickets

I think these Little Monsters might be feeling some serious disappoinment right now

Hopefully the FPI will help to coordinate refunds on the tickets..they can use their strong arm tactics of crowd control and keep the profits for no-doubt an honest cause

Some weeks feel great in this city and fly by in a haze of friendly waves and scarey ojek rides, good food and funny days at work. Other times, the hidden undercurrents of the city seep into my daily existence and I realize that I feel happy and free here mostly because I do not belong here and am thus not constrained by the rules of the city. I suppose that the sense of freedom comes from not having to follow the rules from home; there is no risk of a seat-belt fine, or being in trouble for jaywalking or not wearing a bike helmet. Obviously the longer I live here, I see that there are so many written and unwritten rules that govern the lives of Indonesians, that in comparison, having to pay $600 for not wearing my seat-belt in Melbourne is like getting off scot-free. No one here tells me the rules that I should be following, as an outsider, we are often considered so far away from the norm, that it seems the rules do not apply to us.

I have been reminded of this constantly. If I was an Indonesian I would have been shunned from my community for living “in sin” with my boyfriend. If I expressed my religious beliefs, or lack thereof, I may be thrown in jail. As a woman, I would not always be able to be free to make my own decisions about my life, and my parents or husband would have the right to dictate what is and is not possible. I listen to my female friends and colleagues telling me how they have to resign from their dream jobs because their husband doesn’t allow them to come home after 6, or cheat on them because the women apparently didn’t accompany them enough when they went out, and I bite my tongue as there is no point to have a conversation like I would have with my friends at home, like, “He said WHAT to you? What a prick!”. I inwardly cringe knowing that there is no feminist movement coming to Indonesia. If anything, sometimes it feels that the opposite is coming.

Ignorance blinded me to the fact that the state philosophy of Pancasila means it is illegal to be Indonesian and not have a religion. The jailing of an Indonesian who wrote on his Facebook page “there is no god”, his possible life sentence and his disownment from his community woke me up to that one. The cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert because she may corrupt morals and the raiding of the discussion of the Muslim feminist Irshad Manji at Salihara, all woke me up to the rules and the rule makers of this country. Discussions about these issues are kept to a minimum as ideas are set in place about what it means to be a good Muslim, with the Islamic Defenders Front seeming to be concreting their position as the keepers of morality. It doesn’t matter if they use violence to uphold their version of morality, or accept bribes to surpass their moral code, they have the police and politicians running scared. Even if people know they are a bunch of crazies.

Of course this city is full of corruption, it’s a clear fact like Jakarta has a lot of traffic. It is accepted and understood and little is done about it as they both go hand in hand. At some points in this blog I have said that I wish that I could learn the patience of an Indonesian person and people have commented that it is not patience, but blind acceptance, the thought that you can’t change anything so why bother? It feels uncomfortable for me to accept this as truth. But while the majority of Indonesians follow a religion that allows no questions to be asked, it makes me wonder. How can a society move forward when you are taught to not ask questions? Even stupid ones? I have plenty of them.

22 Responses to “The Rules Do Not Apply”

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  1. kate says:

    “while the majority of Indonesians follow a religion that allows no questions to be asked”

    uh… since when is it the *religion* that allows no questions to be asked?

    • welovejakarta says:

      Hi Kate. I am sorry if I have offended you. From stories I hear and those I read I get the idea that people are not allowed to question their religion. To be an apostate – one who decides they no longer want to follow the religion – is very dangerous, as we know from the young man jailed for saying there is no god. Muslim friends who have questioned the recent decisions about Lady Gaga, about the discussion of Irshad Manji, have been labelled infidels by their family and friends for this questioning. The punks in Aceh who have had their heads shaved. A friend who got in great trouble for asking questions about her scientific studies of evolution. Perhaps these are isolated events, I am certainly no expert on religion. I had it once, and I don’t have it anymore. I respect people of all religions, and because I love an argument, I respect their views when they argue with me about my views. It is the exchange that is important, and the willingness to have an exchange about it. I don’t mean to incite hatred about religious views, but I do mean to have a conversation.

  2. kate says:

    Oh I’m not offended – although I do disagree – and I’m game for conversation. Being a Muslim in the west (US), I approach the religion from a more theological, textual perspective than a cultural one. I have no doubt that many Muslims are discouraged and prevented from asking questions, but such are the shortcomings of people. People are flawed, and power-seekers will use whatever they can (like religion) to keep their power (often at the expense of others). I don’t doubt that your anecdotes are true, and it’s embarrassing. Just like many Christians, many Muslims don’t know their religion, what it teaches in terms of behavior and manners, and even many of those who know can’t or don’t practice it the way it should be practiced. I love an argument as well, and I’m just trying to make the point that it is Muslim *people* who are behaving badly here and not *Islam*. To me, that is a critical difference.

    • welovejakarta says:

      Yes, you are absolutely right, it is not Islam at all. I get perhaps too annoyed when religious people, of any group, are corrupt, yet use religion as a tool to manipulate and this happens too much in Indonesia (and in the US). Creating violent behaviour in the name of Islam, seems to me to go against the entire point of the religion. Of course this isn’t isolated to Muslims and I noticed today that video of that mad Christian minister saying that all gays and lesbians should be locked up and starved to death. I just don’t believe that a holy book can dictate what is acceptable in modern day life apart from questions on how to live inwardly and how to treat people peacefully. This isn’t always how religion plays itself out – as revealed in the horrible treatment of peaceful Muslims for example, after 9-11. It seems that in Indonesia, in my narrow viewpoint, the education about Islam is very different. People are less educated here and are taught not to question, not just in Islamic school, but everywhere, perhaps this is a hang up from colonialism and the Suharto regime, I am not sure. But when I ask my friends what the prayers mean they tell me that they were taught to read Arabic but not what the words mean, so although they can recite the prayers they do not know what the words mean. This means the words of the Quran are not understood at all by the people practicing the religion. The brand of Sharia law making it’s way from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia seems to lack the peaceful essence of a religion whose name translates as “peace”, unless I am wrong. This is the version where women are locked in the home and unable to work or to leave unaccompanied by a male and can be beaten or killed for being suspected adulterers. This version just breaks my heart. Indonesians haven’t even had a chance to discuss the ways that all humans are equal, whether they are men or women, and now these new laws which are already in Sumatra and attempting to make their ways to Java, are at risk of squashing the few rights that women have here.

      But please, tell me more about where you are from and your beliefs because I know that as an outsider I will never be able to truly understand the religion, though I am willing to learn. It is really, really difficult to learn about or philosophize about it here in Indonesia. When I was in Morocco I fell in love with the religion and had the greatest conversations, but they have come to a halt here in this corrupt country. In Morocco the sound of the call to prayer felt very dreamy and peaceful, but here it does not feel like that.

  3. kate says:

    Sorry it’s taken me awhile to get back to you. I’m struggling with a lot of these issues myself. I’m an American convert to Islam — I converted 12 years ago at age 19. I fell into what people generally call fundamentalist/wahhabi/salafi Islam currently exported from Saudi Arabia. I married young to what was basically a stranger (that’s part of their m.o.). It didn’t go so well and the kids and I have been on our own for the past 5+ years. I’ve been trying to figure out my place in Islam, trying to regain my ability to think for myself, analyze, and stand up for what I think is right, etc. It’s a tricky process, and I don’t have any answers. For me it comes down to the idea that I *know* Islam is wide, and there is room therein for all sorts of opinions and approaches. Unfortunately, for a lot of complex reasons, a very narrow concept of Islam is the ideology with all the money and power behind it’s promulgation. There are many people working hard to balance this out, but I think it is up to Muslims who value human rights and justice and openness to really learn their religion. The hard-line dawah (dakwah in Indonesian I think?) really presents itself as the only true authentic Islam, and it claims a direct lineage from the Islam practiced by the Prophet pbuh. With study though, one finds this is far from the truth. Fifty or even 20 years ago this brand of Islam was far from widespread. But, when you get to know this version of islam as True Islam, it’s really hard to unlearn all that. But, the history of Islam is very encouraging. There is such a wealth of intellectual effort and discourse! You may be interested in reading xcwn’s blog at I don’t know her, but I totally relate to her struggle. I’m also reading a lot of traditional (as opposed to fundamentalist) Islamic literature, which basically translates as Sufi stuff. That is working better for me for now.

    I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile because my family plans to move to Jakarta (Jagakarsa) at the beginning of August. Thank you for the windows into life there. I’m sure it won’t be easy or make too much sense a lot of the time, but we’re excited for the adventure.

    • welovejakarta says:

      Wow, that was a big step to convert to Islam at 19, though it seems you have learned far more about the religion that any of its practitioners. I feel nervous at the thought of the arguments and rhetoric that revolve around the idea of whose form of a certain religion is the most pure? Millions of people have died over this argument and will continue to do so. Religion doesn’t speak to me at all, I have to admit, the idea of seeking purity in from a strange book written thousands of years ago always confused me, especially with my Catholic upbringing which I ran from (though it has scarred me a little), and I believe there are other ways to learn to live a good and moral life in the modern world, but I guess I have always been really tolerant of all religions that don’t try and impose on my life, so that is why I have become a little edgy living in Jakarta. Wow, that was a long non-sensical sentence.

      Let me know when you come to Jakarta if you want to meet up! I promise that I won’t chew your ear off with religious arguments.

  4. Saras says:

    I think the whole thing speaks louder about Indonesia and it people than Islam or Muslims. I’ve spent most of my adolesence (spell check?) outside so I’d probably get flamed for saying this. I think Indonesia is in a horrible time warp. I don’t mean in tech sense or the likes, but in their thinking. I found Indonesians don’t aspire into anything. The girls especially, their lives are defined by their men. Did you know if two employees from the same company are getting married, one of them have to resign? Most of the time, it’s the women who sacrifice their career. Like seriously? We spent all that money and enegry in college then competing in the job market just so the “right men” can find us? I’d rather be single forever thank you very much. Although, don’t tell my mum I said that hehehe :p

    • welovejakarta says:

      I would agree that Indonesia needs a women’s movement desperately! But I still blame religion because no religion insists that women are equal to men – women are the sinners who tempt men so must be stopped!

      • kate says:

        I would love to meet up once I’m in Jakarta, and I’d be happy to discuss religion – particularly your last sentence above! Or not, of course. 🙂

      • Saras says:

        Yea but I think we Indonesian girls need to learn some self respect first. Contraception is still very much frowned on for some weird reason. I understand on the whole no abortion thing but contraception is by no means abortion. Pregnancy and child bearing are difficult to go through. Wouldn’t you rather wait until you’re ready? The world is overcrowded anyway…

  5. Bima says:

    Contrary to popular believe, Islam poses women on the highest pedestal. Even as far as putting heaven on their feet when they become mother later on. In Islam, a child is obliged to honor their mother MORE than their father. And with a strong reason at that.

    Gender Equality is absurd and oxymoron. Man and woman each has their own specific functions and responsibilities in life. There’s no place to even competing them–it’s….stupid.

    Regarding the presence of a child in the middle of a both-parents-are-working marriage, well, think about it: Who wanted to have children in the first place? And somebody has to take care of them, right? It’s YOUR own child. Do you honestly believe you could wholeheartedly at ease leaving your child solely at the hands of a nanny–a complete stranger, nonetheless, while the mother and the father are absence all day long? Even if the nanny turns out to be good, honest and loving, who do you think would be heard and loved more by the child as s/he grows up? Can you blame him/her?

    Something’s gotta give, right? It’s not about you, or equality or whatever bullcrap excuse blabla–it’s about YOUR CHILD. Either the mother or the father must make the sacrifice and stay at home to take care of the child–at the very least to watch the nanny. Ideally it’s the mother who should stay, for no other reason than being a mother. But as the thing goes as it is now, fine, gambreng away or talk it over. Decide.

    That’s what I think.

    • Saras says:

      Yea yea, heard it before. Women have special privilege in Islam, even with assets. If I’m not mistaken, we can keep whatever we earn and inherit to ourselves in a marriage instead of having to half them with our husbands. However, the fine prints are kinda dodgy isn’t it? We can work if our husband allow it. I mean come on! Your loyalty is (rationally) in question: you might have your own agenda or you want to take up another wife. If we don’t work and earn, what are we to do when you leave us with the children? I’m not saying it’s always happen but it does happen to a lot of women.

      Also, what’s up with the whole thing about never to refuse your husband in bed. Did you know even a female baboon can refuse the alpha male to mate? We’re talking about ALPHA male here! If a goddamn baboon can do that why can’t I? How different are we from these baboons if our roles in society is defined by our biological function of female and male?

      • kate says:

        Saras – I hear you about the inability to refuse your husband. A friend of mine rightfully calls this the theology of bullies. I haven’t worked it all out for myself, but I’m working on it. Azizatu Nafsiha wrote an article on marital rape that really puts it all out there:

      • Bima says:

        Ideally, if the husband has got enough means to feed the wife AND the children, then the wife’s loyalty MUST go to her children first, then her husband, just as well as the husband must remains loyal to his wife and children for good. It’s only natural. If the husband is incapable of feeding the family as normally, the roles are switched. Simple as that.

        There’s no such thing as injustice marriage in Islam. A couple may even get a divorce is there’s truly no other solution. But the children remains the ONLY thing that matters. Consequently, since it literally takes eternal sincerity and sacrifices from the parents, insubordination from the child to his/her parents will end in extreme punishment in here and hereafter, which only their parents can beg for it to be lifted.

        The bed affair is not at all like that in Islam. I can’t pinpoint where exactly–what verse(s), I mean, but it says that a wife is indeed has an obligation to sexually please her husband (and vice versa)–as part of the points anybody should ever get married in the first place–to control sex life, but ONLY willingly. Which means that both parties have got no right to force one’s will upon the other. Consenting adult, lah. Talk it over like adults, if nothing else, so the commitment goes both way.

        Believe me, what many people heard about whatever woman injustice in marriage, it’s all CULTURE, not Islam. Islam is about using your head as well as your heart. Logic and compassion. Justice and wisdom.

        So, your baboon comparison is absolutely out of place, irrelevant and…naive.

      • Bima says:

        I’m sorry, but I would like to add a bit. My point is: if both the husband and the wife still want to life “freely”–in terms of the wish to retain freedom in working and everything on their own, then do so as you please while there’s no kid in the picture.

        But once a child’s present, new rules MUST apply. They don’t ask to be born. They born because we wanted to have them. But they’re not like a thing on a window display of a marriage just for the sake of completeness. They’re not toys. Not a thing of prestige, and most notably not the nanny’s children. They’re our responsibility. For good.

        In an ideal world they need a mother to stay home to care, rear and love them, and a father to feed, support and become the precedent in the family. So they’d grow into whatever good, independent, respectful, compassionate, smart and just person, as you wish them to be.

        Simple and natural, isn’t it? Ego’s got no place in a family when it comes to children. Not for the husband, nor the wife. It’s all about communication, commitment and compromise. Especially the first 10 years.

  6. Saras says:

    Dude, now you are contradicting yourself. you said, and I quote “Gender Equality is absurd and oxymoron. Man and woman each has their own specific functions and responsibilities in life. There’s no place to even competing them–it’s….stupid.” But then you said both adult most consent to the deed. Isn’t that a sort of equality? Both female and male have to equally want to do it.

    Look, we’re not the only social primate. Our cousins like chimps and baboons live in societies too. They have social contracts and rituals which are heavily influenced by their gender. If you don’t believe me, you can look up works by Jane Goodall or just watch something by David Attenborough. So what makes us different from them if our own social contract mirror theirs?

    What makes you think we can willy nilly go in and out of the job market. Do you know how many people get laid off in recent years? How much chances is there for a single mother to find a good job to bring up her children if she hasn’t been working in 10 years? Her skill would have been outdated. No employer would be confident that she would be able to adapt to work environment. Not to mentioned the abandonment issue the kids have to go through. Daddy left then mommy is not gonna be around much.

    • welovejakarta says:

      If I can intrude on this little argument which I am really enjoying – actually I just love to argue but I don’t want to add any flame to the fire. I do agree that we are a kind of animal of course – the theory of evolution rings very true with me, though this veers very far from a religious person who cannot fathom that we were once monkeys – Muslim children at my school crack themselves up laughing at the thought of evolution and say to me “So you are saying your grandma was a monkey?” and I know there is no getting through my point of view or any scientific research on the point as their religion cannot allow an acceptance of this theory.

      As for the equal rights of men and women – men and women are indeed very different with different things driving each – instincts or whatever it is added to socially constructed ways of living – in the west women fight hard for equal rights and believe that they have as much right as any man to make their own choices about their lives – whether they are students, mothers, in the work force, or a combination – in a relationship we strive to make things work so that each is doing what they want with some form of compromise. In Indonesia it seems very old school to me, I am sure that there are many cases where a couple consider themselves equal and will compromise to work out ways to live together. But I do not believe that women are seen as equal to men, and I do believe a lot of this comes from religious ways of thought. In Christianity as well as in Islam, women are not considered to be equal in rights – the man can often decide how the woman will live. At the extreme is somewhere like Saudi Arabia where woman cannot be educated or go outside without a man, or even drive a car. This is not equality – shutting away half of the population inside the home – really it is shameful to take away all of that talent and put it behind a big wall. When I see a woman covered from head to toe in black with only her eyes peeping out while she walks along a hot Jakarta street I think “prisoner”. I have read many accounts from Muslim women who think women in the west are more imprisoned or manipulated as they walk around in skimpy clothes and women often make the choice themselves to fully cover up – but this choice is made through a socialisation process where women are judged according to their choices, so in many ways it would be easier to cover up.

      Perhaps I digress. There are many stories and many perspectives and good people and bad both religious and atheist. The Muslim women I work with in Indonesia have loving relationships with their husbands and are very happy though if a husband makes a decision that for example they cannot take a job because they will get home too late, or they cannot go with their friends for the weekend, or any such thing, then the wife will go with the husband’s decision. For me, this is sometimes outrageous and I want to scream, “What do YOU want to do? Why does he get to decide?”. But they are happy to let their husband make these choices. So I bite my tongue again.

  7. Bima says:

    You’re not reading (listening) to me. I always say IDEALLY before I begin. As in ideal terms. But–as I have also said, considering the current situations, where ideal and natural are sometimes forced to be thrown out of the window, the least anyone or any couple can do is TALK IT OVER. Find a compromising solution without sacrificing the children!

    I still say that gender equality is absurd and oxymoron. Absolutely. Simply for the reasons as I’ve said previously: because of the fact that man and woman are physically and psychologically different, and thus commands different sets of roles, functions and responsibilities. Makes sense, no?

    Just because sometimes the husband cannot support the family properly and the wife is then forced to take up the mantle and their roles are switched, doesn’t mean the wife suddenly earn all the abilities a man can do. And vice versa. A mother is still a mother. No man can replace that. And vice versa. Otherwise, it would basically messes up the children’s head–even it it doesn’t immediately apparent.

    If the basic of your argument is fear of being left alone with nothing, then, once again: talk it over with your husband, as adults. Prepare something for such eventuality–a particular saving for you, perhaps. Or take up a course that could be monetized later on.

    And I still don’t like your animal comparative analogy. Why? Simple because we are NOT animal. We adapt. Animals don’t. We find meanings in life. Animals go by instinct every single day. They just exist and perish. Mankind are so much more than that. We could be worse or better than animal, as a matter of fact, but we could always strive to be better, right?

    Kindly please, think about it.

  8. Bima says:

    Regarding the Darwinian evolution: the solidity of the scientific claim about whether or not human actually evolves from monkey is always about the existence of fossils of transition creatures–which, logically, should be very abundant and thus not difficult to find, considering the much weaken state of such creatures compared to the normal ones. And this should not be just for monkey-human transition creatures, but all of biological creatures. The thing is, even until now, there’s no such thing ever been found. Meaning that there’s no factual missing link that actually proves that human evolves from monkey.

    Bearing the aforementioned fact, the next logical conclusion would be that human and monkey actually come from two separate distinct ancestors. And not necessarily with such extreme physical evolution as depicted by sciences, because–again, there’s not a single such fossil ever been found to support the theory.

    As for woman equality cr*p, I have no further words, as I believe I’ve said enough already, and I stand by it.

  9. Bima says:

    And I’m talking about the “real” fossils. Not the fake ones, as have been documented to occur numerous times, as follow:

    Piltdown man: Found in a gravel pit in Sussex England in 1912, this fossil was considered by some sources to be the second most important fossil proving the evolution of man—until it was found to be a complete forgery 41 years later. The skull was found to be of modern age. The fragments had been chemically stained to give the appearance of age, and the teeth had been filed down!

    Nebraska Man from the Illustrated London NewsNebraska man: A single tooth, discovered in Nebraska in 1922 grew an entire evolutionary link between man and monkey, until another identical tooth was found which was protruding from the jawbone of a wild pig.

    Java man: Initially discovered by Dutchman Eugene Dubois in 1891, all that was found of this claimed originator of humans was a skullcap, three teeth and a femur. The femur was found 50 feet away from the original skullcap a full year later. For almost 30 years Dubois downplayed the Wadjak skulls (two undoubtedly human skulls found very close to his “missing link”). (source: Hank Hanegraaff, The Face That Demonstrates The Farce Of Evolution, [Word Publishing, Nashville, 1998], pp.50-52)

    Orce man: Found in the southern Spanish town of Orce in 1982, and hailed as the oldest fossilized human remains ever found in Europe. One year later officials admitted the skull fragment was not human but probably came from a 4 month old donkey. Scientists had said the skull belonged to a 17 year old man who lived 900,000 to 1.6 million years ago, and even had very detail drawings done to represent what he would have looked like. (source: “Skull fragment may not be human”, Knoxville News-Sentinel, 1983)

    Neanderthal: Still synonymous with brutishness, the first Neanderthal remains were found in France in 1908. Considered to be ignorant, ape-like, stooped and knuckle-dragging, much of the evidence now suggests that Neanderthal was just as human as us, and his stooped appearance was because of arthritis and rickets. Neanderthals are now recognized as skilled hunters, believers in an after-life, and even skilled surgeons, as seen in one skeleton whose withered right arm had been amputated above the elbow. (source: “Upgrading Neanderthal Man”, Time Magazine, May 17, 1971, Vol. 97, No. 20)

    Granted, that similar faking efforts have also been done by the creationists, in retaliation. But even so, it still doesn’t diminish the most ultimate questions: where are the real transition fossils? Why do they so hard to find while logically they should not?

    I think the answer is pretty much obvious.

  10. Saras says:

    I think I wasn’t making myself clear. I was typing on an iPad, tend to loose my focus when typing on my iPad.

    What I’m trying to say is this. What is humanity in its bare bones? Yes we adapt, what makes you think animals don’t? They look the way they do and change their diet as time goes. Bears hibernate in the winter because they adapt to it, because they learn that if they try to live through the winter, they will die. So what makes us human? Our genes? Did you know that chimpanzees has 99% of our genes? Then rules and social contract, animals don’t have those right? Well, they do as I mentioned earlier there are animals that lives in groups and they behave certain ways towards others and towards their community. Isn’t that what rules and social contract do? What about religion then? I’d say religion falls into rules and social contract. That’s what religion does, doesn’t it? It dictates how we interact with each other and the world around us.

    Well, then what is it? I’d argue humanity is about going against all odds and triumph. We break boundaries everyday. There is this lady who was born without limbs and then she was pregnant. Against all odds her son was born healthy with all his limb. He was born normal. She raised him as single mother and he turned out great. He’s more intelligent and more aware of his surrounding than kids his age. Isn’t that wonderful? What about a guy who was an amputee and did a triathlon? So we don’t break boundaries, what are we?

    Yes woman and man are different but it doesn’t mean we can’t compete in the same field. Moreover, last time I check, women are running the world. There are more women in the boardroom than men. Women are holding powerful positions like CEOs and directors.

    So the world out there has broken that gender boundary. That’s why I said Indonesia is in a terrible time warp. When I told my friends I’m taking my masters degree overseas, the first question they ask was “what about your boyfriend?” That question bugs me. Yes, we’ve been together for 5 years so what? I can’t go to school and I have to wait around for him. Isn’t a better question would be “how you gonna pay for school?” or “where are you gonna live?” At least then I’d know that as my friend, you were worried about my well being.

  11. Bima says:

    This discussion stars to bore me.

    Whatever survival methods you described regarding animals, those are merely instincts. They don’t “really” adapt like we do. They don’t change. Those instincts remain the same throughout their life. They don’t find meanings in what they do. They just do. Try ask them if you can. Heh.

    Just because chimps or whatever have 99% gene similarity with us, doesn’t make them human. Because they are NOT. We may learn from animals life, yes, but doesn’t make them equal to human, because they are NOT. And vice versa, that doesn’t make us animals, either. Because we are NOT.

    Essentially, any good religion serves as guidance so that we could live and act like proper human should, and to be come a better person in general. Nothing wrong with that. What always seems to be the issue is the interpretations and implementations of those interpretations. Some are genuine, some are more of politically motivated. But the religion and believe itself remain pure.

    But then again, suit yourself. Right? You are entitled to what you believe. Go ahead and live with it. No skin off my nose. Whatever. As I am to mine.

    There’s nothing wrong with man and woman competing properly in the same field professionally. And if you even further asserted that women nowadays are running the world–become CEO, president, whatever. Well, that’s good, isn’t it? No more reason to fuss about equality any further.

    I’ll stop berating right here and now. I don’t see we’re getting anywhere, anyhow. So, once again, good luck with your life, your plan to study abroad, whatever. My best regards to your boyfriend, and may you find the best solution about the matter.

    Thank you.