• Elton Cilliers

Just don’t be an asshole

Updated: Dec 13, 2019


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I’m not sure if my intolerance for assholes of late is due to getting older or my interest in spirituality and recently, Buddhism. Or indeed an amalgamation of everything. But one thing is certain, pretty much on a daily basis, I either think or say the words, “Just don’t be an asshole” to someone or something I’ve seen.


I hope to god I’m not becoming a ‘grumpy old man’ but I find my tolerance for irritation is greatly lacking these days.


If I spend more than 10 minutes on FaceBook, my mood goes from upbeat to wanting to smack several people upside the head and scream, “just don’t be an asshole!”. People sharing the hell out of fake news. Or news posts from 5+ years ago.


Why? What good to the world can you possibly be doing by regurgitating old or fake news?


Is it just to stir ill-will against someone or a group of people? Does that make you cool and feel warm and fuzzy inside?


MMR jab

One example being MMR jabs.


Interesting fact as of 2018, measles remains the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in the world.


Another interesting fact from World Health Organisation. “15 APRIL 2019, GENEVA – Measles cases have continued to climb into 2019. Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years.”


As a parent myself, it is my duty to ensure my kids have every opportunity in life. How can I responsibly make the decision to not vaccinate them knowing what I know about measles and it’s fatality rate if not vaccinated? That’s like playing Russian Roulette with my child’s life. I don’t know how I would be able to cope if I decide not to vaccinate my child and he/she subsequently dies from measles.


However, it is YOUR child and YOUR choice, but ffs why do you feel you need to try to encourage me to play chance with my child’s life?


I’ve had this debate a few times in my life, and not one of these advocates for not getting the vaccination can show me tangible, peer-reviewed evidence that the MMR jab subjects my child to more risk than the risk of not giving them the vaccination.


I have been accused of being very black and white, that I don’t allow for a grey area. I dispute this. There are certainly times where a grey area is needed. However, in most instances, I believe the evidence.


If you support not giving children the MMR jab that is, of course, your right. And I’m sure you have your reasons for advocating that. All I ask is that you present fact! Also be sure that in the unfortunate scenario where you convince someone not to vaccinate, and that child dies after contracting measles, that you can live with that on your conscious.


Brexiteers vs Remoaners

Brexit Battle

OMFG I cannot express how bored to tears I am with this fiasco now.


My FB wall is covered with posts from either side trying to convince me which I should be supporting. I didn’t vote in the referendum simply because I personally felt I didn’t know enough to make an educated vote. I didn’t understand the consequences of leaving without a deal. Wasn’t completely sure I understood the issues being in the EU in the first place. And just like I don’t sign a contract I don’t fully understand, I won’t make an important decision like leaving the EU based purely on promises and lies by voting.


If I were asked to vote tomorrow, I’d vote remain, and probably for none of the reasons most people on social media tear each other apart over. I have a sincere concern and dislike of segregation. Bear in mind from whence I come (South Africa for those first-time readers). I left South Africa because I struggled with segregation, prejudice and racism. So the idea of the UK, in essence, isolating themselves from their neighbours just sits uncomfortably with me. So no amount of posts thrown in my face on FB is going to change that personal opinion. From both the remainers or the brexiteers. I have made the mistake of commenting on a Brexit post once or twice. I only comment when very obvious fake news is being cited by either side. But wow. People certainly are touchy about this Brexit business. If you’re not careful you can be drawn into rather nasty online discussions sucking hours of your lifetime out of you. Time you will never get back btw.


This past weekend, I spent the majority of it with 2 couples at a Southern African festival (a separate post will come for that!). Couple number one consisted of a South African male with an English wife. Couple number two consisted of a Polish man and his Spanish girlfriend. It has been a loooooong time since I laughed so hard and so much with what were pretty much, strangers. In my opinion, the UK is such a cool place BECAUSE of the various nationalities that reside here.


Racism and prejudice

Fragile Mind

This is something, that I have found especially in the last 4 – 5 years is something that REALLY chews my ass.


Someone see’s someone that’s ‘different’ and immediately there’s a need to criticise them. To label them. Don’t be an asshole.


At another Southern African camping festival I went to a few weeks back (see here for post) I met so many new people. Some of them I’d really love to party with again! Black folk. Mixed race folk. And even white folk


As a white person from South Africa, I have lived, experienced and seen South Africa through the eyes of a white man. It is interesting as F… to hear the story from a black person or a mixed-race person.


Each with a VERY different story to tell. When you listen, you learn. You empathise with someone else’s story because some parts aren’t too different from your own. You realise that those things that bothered you enough about South Africa to leave, other black, mixed-race and Indian South Africans experience also!


When I realise that I am dealing with someone who is a racist or bears prejudice towards a person or group of people, then I tend to distance myself from them. I don’t judge them for their beliefs because I don’t know their backstory. They are simply just not people I’d want to spend my time with.



Live and let live

A woman meditates

My mantra for some time now. Unless someone directly impacts my life negatively, I will not have preconceptions about them. Regardless of colour, sexual orientation, nationality etc. If I don’t agree with their views, and they are the type who feel compelled to try to persuade you of their views, then I move on. Typically thinking or saying, “don’t be an asshole”


You do you, I’ll do me.


I have met some genuinely interesting people in my life, many of whom who have made me a better person for having interacted with them. The idea of disliking an entire group of people based on skin colour is simply something my brain doesn’t compute.


Conclusion


This post isn’t about telling you what to think, believe or say. But simply to stop before you share that post on FaceBook and ask yourself, “Am I being an asshole?”


So what if that person is a Brexiteer and you’re a Remainer? Is it really important enough in your life to spend hours of your life arguing online with someone you don’t know? Is it really important to you that your FaceBook friends agree with your outlook on Brexit?

So what if someone is a different colour to you? We were ALL African and black at some point in History. Your skin colour is merely down to migration and evolution. If more Homo sapiens accepted we are ONE species perhaps we’d have more tolerance for one another. Here’s hoping!


Everyone, including you, is entitled to an opinion. Some people simply debate opinions better than most on social media. A debate consists of presenting facts and views. Social media discussions generally consist of fake news, name-calling and profanity. Very mature behaviour indeed.

Why is it so important to some people that others view the world as they do? Are you really going to end a ‘friendship’ over differences of who you support in the soap opera that is Brexit? Really? Is someone really an asshole because they do or don’t want to give their child the MMR vaccine?


Just stop it.


Take a breath.


Live and let live, and please, just don’t be an asshole.

A man prays

Nameste



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