Everybody needs good neighbours

‘Top of the morning to you.’ Its going to be a nice day today’. ‘Look’s like the weather’s going to be a bit mild today’. These statements sum up some of daily comments made by my neighbours. These comments appear to be similar in the USA too. During my trips there I tend to hear the friendly phrase, ‘Hey how ya doing’! Often I’m tempted to extend and change my reply from simply ‘Fine’ to ‘How’s it gong with you today’ and wait to see if the momentum appears for a fresh conversation. All of these phrases could be described as humans simply wishing to a gain a consensus of expression or entering a comfort zone. You may now be thinking, why analyse such a trivial set of common / everyday exchanges. I believe the acceptance of such apathy is wrong. For example, On Saturday I took part in a charity cycle ride, walk and jog in Bushy Park (Hampton Court, London). It was organised by a friend that is collecting sponsorship money for an orphanage in Jaipur, India. After the event she kindly invited us to have dinner with the other participants at her house in the evening. At the end of the evening we viewed a video made by the orphanage’s head mistress outlining the school’s circumstances and need for assistance. One of the most profound aspects of the short film was viewing the living accommodation of one of the students. We were shown the inside of the student’s house, comprising of a single room that twinned for sleeping and cooking (for 5 people). We were shocked. In the front of the room a rectangular concrete structure, approx 5ft tall by 2 fit wide was positioned. This is used as a cupboard for precious family items. The small half size 1 foot square door was then opened to reveal the families most precious items, mainly 3 to 4 pieces of crockery wrapped in brown cloth!

In the 21st century life is hard for many people. In certain countries, there has never been a better and widening choice of food. Yet in the same world possession of the smallest kind are held as the most precious.

On Sunday 26th September, The Prince of Wales joined more than 5,000 people in London’s Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the first reading of the Guru Granth Sahib Verses. The Prince also warned of the modern world’s lack of individual responsibility, described as “egocentric aspect of humanity which has grown unchecked”. The Bishop of London spoke of the importance of wisdom on man at this time. Another theme that emerged was the shared interfaith message – that working together to help others eradicates the distractions of personal differences.

Will marching in the streets stop government from acting in what they believe? I believe that sooner or later governments will have to listen to the majority. In an effort to make a change, we have to change ourselves first. We need to reduce and forget our egotistical states of mind. A false sense of cliché based phrases cannot solve the world’s problems – but introducing new ways to create empathy, debate and plan solutions is one approach. Many countries are on their hands and knees – they need their neighbours to help them stand-up and deliver hope. Believe in fair trade, freeing of world debt, target relief effectively and just as important recognise your national and global neighbour as part of your family.

Categories: 2004

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