I wish I was…

I was born Catholic. Sometimes I feel that is my blessing, sometimes, usually on Sundays, I feel that’s just a damn inconvenience other times well, I just feel normal as in it doesn’t make a difference anyway. The following story is the story of 10 minutes that I wish I was… well… not at a particular place at that particular time.

My lil sis and me went to the city the other day by train. The trip was unmemorable, just like any other train trip on a weekday at 11 am. That means the train was full of either old people going to shopping centres to enjoy the air con or young people going shopping. It was unmemorable until we reached Clifton Hill station. Two guys got on the train. That wasn’t very unusual until one guy came sit next to us and open a book full of Chinese characters and began to read. That wouldn’t be unusual if the guy was asian looking. However, this was a full Caucasian guy. A Chinese reading an English book is normal, the other way around is just weird. So that guy got my attention for about 2 seconds and then I went back to listening to my iPod.
When the train reached Spencer Street station the guy turned to us with his Chinese book. I just thought that he got stuck on some words and tried to ask us about it, since that happened to me before. I think I should say that I’m not Chinese, I’m Vietnamese. People usually think that I’m anything but Vietnamese. Once a Vietnamese guy asked us if we were Chinese. Another time there’s this Chinese man who asked us if we were Japanese! And then there’s the other time when an old woman talked to me entirely in Chinese in the middle of a shopping centre, I think she was asking for direction and she couldn’t speak English. Tough! I don’t know any Chinese except for saying “I don’t know” in Chinese. It was funny the first few times when people mistook us for Chinese, now it’s just damn annoying. Why do people assume that every asian is Chinese? True that China has the greatest population in the world and true that China is the biggest country in Asia. Why can’t people just consider some alternatives before deciding that someone is Chinese? I really appreciate, even though I’m annoyed at the same time, that people ask me if I’m Chinese in English. At least I can answer them back. I didn’t have any chance to answer back when that woman asked me in Chinese.
Anyway, back to my story. That guy turned to us and I was thinking “here we go again, not another “Chinese” conversation”. And I was right. He asked us if we were Chinese, in English thankfully! When we answered “no” I thought that was the end of the conversation. However, he found out that we’re Vietnamese and he introduce himself as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of the latter-day saints.
Now, I find all these religions very funny. They are basically the same as Catholic, only slightly different so they form a totally different religion. Once there was this lady from Jehovah’s witnesses, I think, who just appeared in front of our house for no reason and argued with my Mum that Jesus didn’t die on a cross, he died on a pole! And then there’s another branch of Catholic which argued that the Virgin Mary isn’t a virgin since she had a son. I think that’s quite reasonable … um… reason to branch off into another religion. I find all these religions funny because they’re all very similar so why can’t they just be one universal religion? After all, they all teach us not to kill people and to love our neighbours and do all the good things so that when we die we wouldn’t be condemned to eternal damnation in hell. I’m not a very devoted Catholic so it doesn’t really bother me much about all these religions, as long as they, the missionaries, don’t stop me anywhere to talk about how great their church is and start comparing my religion to theirs. I think that’s not the way to convert someone. It’s too similar to all these credit cards people stopping you when you’re running for a train to advertise for the new “great” offer they have.
Back to the missionary guy. After he found out that we are Vietnamese, he called his friend, who was at the other end of the carriage, over. Apparently, the other guy could speak Vietnamese! He said something to us in Vietnamese which after about 2 seconds I was able to deciphered to “hello” in Viet. So I answer back in English because his Vietnamese was hurting us (from not able to make out what the heck he was talking about) and him (from speaking a foreign tongue after only 3 months of learning it) as well. All the time we were, or at least I was, praying that we would get to Flinders Street soon so that we could stop this conversation.
I thought that when we said that we are Catholic these guys would leave us alone. Unfortunately, no. When they knew, they started talking about some Mormon book. I think I already said that I’m not very devoted. All I know about my religion is when’s Easter and Christmas (which everybody knows because these are holidays here) and a few prayers (“a few” as in you can count them with the fingers of only one hand). Quite pathetic really. So when these guys talked about a Mormon book I was just nodding like I knew what they were talking about. That was when we got to Flinders.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t just walked off. They said that they wanted to have a talk to us about their church right then or we could give them our home number and someone from their church could come and talk to us! (yippee yay! just what I want for Christmas) After some clever maneuvers I was able to change that to them giving us their number so when we want to talk we can call them. (phew)
I have nothing against those guys or their church, it’s just that I’m not very interested in religion, any religion. Maybe I’ll change my views about religion when I get older but now, I don’t think I want to bother myself with learning the differences between the branches of Christianity and convert from one to another not that my parents will let me do that in the first place. Apparently, according to my grandmother, converting from one religion to another is a good ground for eternal damnation in hell xD.
Last year there was this show on SBS which was called “John Safran vs God” or something. I saw only one episode and it was very funny. You know about those people who knock on your front door and start talking about their religion? John Safran did that. Only when people answered their door he said “you know what, there’s no God” and he got chased off the property. That wasn’t very fair I think. Why can people put up with people from other religions talking about their religions and not with a guy talking about his belief?

Ok, back to the first paragraph, if the last sentence of that paragraph didn’t really go with the previous sentences, this is the reason. I was gonna say that I wish I wasn’t a catholic but then those guys would talk to me if I wasn’t catholic and then I was gonna change it to I wish I wasn’t Asian (since the missionaries from that church seem to like to convert Asians more than say Middle Eastern. They all learn Asian languages like Chinese and Vietnamese) but there might be a chance that they’d try to convert Caucasian. So I was left with the only choice left, I wish I was somewhere else.

The other day my other sis asked me: “can you trust in something written in the newspaper yesterday? so how can you trust in something written by somebody two thousand years ago?”. That got me thinking seriously about religion. How can we be sure that the way we interpret the bible now is the way we supposed to be interpreting? And then how can we trust in the bible? I suppose the latter question has a lot to do with that “you-are-blessed-if-you-believe-without-seeing-the-proofs”. But isn’t that gullible?


2 Responses to “I wish I was…”

  1. Nhan Says:

    hey dude!
    i read somewhere that you shouldn’t interpret the bible literally you know? you should interpret it so that it’s applicable to life right now 🙂

  2. dainbramage Says:

    Just like the horoscopes or one size fit all clothes. You just have to adjust a bit and ta da the bible is still relevant today!

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