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To respect or not to respect,

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Originally part of The Ultimate Traveller
that is the question.
9 years ago, February 25th 2010 No: 1 Msg: #105046  

inexcusable errors when entering temples(borobudur and prambanan) with hardly any close on.


I often feel confused about those temples. They are often so blatently insulting and sexist towards women. Some of them even have signs saying women are not allowed in at all. I never know whether to just follow these rules or to avoid the temples altogether. I generally mull it over and then decide I dont like how the temples make me feel so dont visit them at all. But, at the same time I think that by avoiding the temples I am not supporting the fact, that spirituality is without prejudice against anyone.

Sometimes I get to the door of churches or temples, and even if they dont have any blatenly offensive rules about 'ladies' posted outside, I peek in the door and think, I simply cant go in there, because it would disturb the peace inside.

I wonder how the doccumentry would portray this attitude.
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9 years ago, February 28th 2010 No: 2 Msg: #105303  
Only watched 1 and a half episodes of it so far. They seem to bitch a lot about each other. Anyone we ever met and traveled with, we got along with and never argued. I'd be embarrassed to argue with someone I didn't know. As the show is a game they are forgetting about the amazing experience they are involved in. I know the show can be and will be edited for TV, but I dont think it's a true reflection of travel and travelers. The English/American guy is the most annoying person alive and it's beyond me how he would have a single friend at home! Mairi Claire should win I think. As Sophie and Dale said, it seemed like a fantastic idea for a show but they have really messed it up. First thing you should always learn when in a new country is how to say please and thank you. Its a pity they didn't pick 6 people who might never be able to afford to travel and give them the opportunity to do it. People who would cherish every minute. Maybe I'm just jealous as it will be a while before I get to go again 😞

Mel, I understand what you are saying about the temples but it is just respect of other peoples cultures and it is blatantly ignored by some travelers. Reply to this

9 years ago, February 28th 2010 No: 3 Msg: #105311  

Mel, I understand what you are saying about the temples but it is just respect of other peoples cultures and it is blatantly ignored by some travelers.


It is about time all cultures and religions started treating women as equal to men, instead of continuing to demand that we respect what doesnt respect us.

Travellers saying that we should unquestioningly respect everything is becomming a thoughtless cliche these days.
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9 years ago, February 28th 2010 No: 4 Msg: #105323  
I think in places of religious importance it is important for both men and women to dress and act appropriately and in accordance with the local customs. I dont think this is thoughtless. It's just being respectful and this applies to both men and women.

Spitting for example is common in public places in some countries but if people did it openly in public here in Ireland they would be told that they are not respecting local customs. That is my point. Nothing to do with equal rights for women. Luckily I have plenty women in my life (Mother, Girlfriend, Sister, Friends & Co-Workers) who will gladly give me a clip around the ear if I was to be disrespectful to women! 😱

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9 years ago, February 28th 2010 No: 5 Msg: #105327  

I dont think this is thoughtless. It's just being respectful and this applies to both men and women.


Well, that is how it is from your point of view.

... if I was to disrespectful to women!


Well, yeah of course you wouldnt be deliberately disrespectful to women, as many others wouldnt. A lot of disrespect has been part of society for so long, that it is just registered by most as a custom or part of a culture.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 6 Msg: #105360  
PS. A couple of times, I made the mistake of asking some locals what the purpose of these signs outside temples about women menstruating, women not allowed to go to the alter, women not being allowed in the temple... are for. I was told that it is because women are dirty. I didnt think these people seemed sophisticed enough to discuss it further, so I didnt bother. But, it is about time that people stop using the occasional foreign women wearing hotpants as a reason to say we should all put up with this. What does it matter what people are wearing, compared with this kind of hate against half of the worlds population.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 7 Msg: #105370  
Sorry Mell but I think that dressing appropriately is important when entering places of religious importance. It shows respect for the people who ask you to do this. Again this goes for both Women and Men. They are not forcing you to enter the temple. They simply ask if you enter please follow our dress code. Same applies to nightclubs all over the world but no-one says that is disrespectful.

Now, on the other hand if a place wouldn't allow women enter or go near the alter, I myself wouldn't go in.

ps I'm not a religious person but I also believe in respect of other peoples cultures regardless of how things are done in my own country.

We'll have to agree to disagree! I use another site for heavy topics and I like that this site is for travel only! 😱 Reply to this

9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 8 Msg: #105383  

Now, on the other hand if a place wouldn't allow women enter or go near the alter, I myself wouldn't go in.


At least some people are starting to do this. I think consistent non-violent protest against all incidents of oppression is vital for world peace.

So often, people believe that avoiding disturbing the status quo is the same as keeping the peace. It in fact has the opposite affect. If oppression is ignored it at some stage comes to a breaking point. In the worst cases it can errupt in a world war. In lesser but also very harmful ways it can cause outbreaks of fatal violence such as the race riots in the US of 1993(I think), the outbreak of rage after the elections in Iran last year etc. Granted, the womens movement has little/no history of violent unrest but it is still important to support them in a non violent way.

They simply ask if you enter please follow our dress code.


No, they dont simply ask people to do that.

Same applies to nightclubs all over the world but no-one says that is disrespectful.


This is because clothing and nightclubs has not taken on a political side.

When something is used to oppress, it over time(or sometimes immediately) aquires a politcal side, because it becomes abrasive to a growing section of society. Womens clothing in connection with religions and certain cultures are one of these things.

One of the most well known incidents of something acquiring a political side is the swastica. It has been a symbol of hope for thousands of years. Yet, because of the political aspect, nobody would display a swastica in Europe, whether it is a symbol of hope for thousands of years or not.

While your points have some validity, I dont think the political side of this issue of women and religion should be dismissed.

We'll have to agree to disagree!


Why? I think it is important to discuss topics is more than the blandest way, but of course this discussion is optional for everybody.

I use another site for heavy topics and I like that this site is for travel only!


This is obviously not the case. Anyone giving opinions about religion, culture and the other heavy topics on TravelBlog is entering a discussion about those topics. But, I do understand that many find these discussions bring up uncomfortable feelings, and we should all in consideration of this maybe be a bit more patient and understanding than we would, in other discussions types.

In reality, I think comments such as the last 2 I quoted are attempts to avoid uncomfortable feelings, by stopping the discussion. What about trying something else instead. Consider why it is making you feel uneasy, and then try to summarise it and post it here. That is the method I use for discussing heavy topic.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 9 Msg: #105388  
A question for those who believe that we should dress appropriately, in the name of respecting religions: How do you reconcile this opinion with the disrespect you are showing to these religions, by treating their spiritual shrines and temples as tourist attractions? Do you really have a 'respect everybody philosophy' or is this yet just another excuse to place sexist restrictions on women?

Do some travellers get self rightous, when it comes to issues concerning respect?

Also i was finding it increasingly embarssing as an English man that they then would automatically presume that everybody in Indonesia talked English and made no effort to even say thank you in the native tounge.


Has anyone ever actually said that they feel disrespected, because a visitor to their country of citizenship has not said anything in the native language of the country? I personally dont feel disrespected, when a tourist to Germany where I live does not speak with me in German. Nor have I ever heard anyone here in Germany say they felt disrespected.

I have often heard travellers say they feel guilty because of poverty they see while travelling, because of their countries colonialist past, because of their countries politics.... Would these respect rules that so many travellers try to push on other travellers, with seemingly little regard to what actually is respectful to human beings worldwide be a reaction to this guilt? Reply to this

9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 10 Msg: #105399  
1 posts moved to this topic: The Ultimate Traveller Reply to this

9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 11 Msg: #105403  


In this case I would say that we should do respect others cultures... We never know what are the reasons we are stand up for our cultures... In every culture there are differences and we should respect it!!! There are different levels in every nations...
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 12 Msg: #105406  

In this case I would say that we should do respect others cultures...



What if cultures do things that make them less worthy or unworthy of respect? Should we respect everything about other cultures, regardless of whether they respect human rights or not?

Shouldnt we put a little more thought into what we say and do? Reply to this

9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 13 Msg: #105407  
I really honestly believe that we should respect other countries customs and beliefs. If we cannot do that we should not go there. Simple as. Rules apply to both men and women when entering temples and holy places. Keep the knees and shoulders covered. If people cannot do this simple request they shouldn't go. What is wrong with dressing appropriately?

I visit these places of interest because they're always works of great architecture and have huge historical importance. They amaze the mind and leave us wondering what life was like before.

why it is making you feel uneasy, and then try to summarise it and post it here?



I feel uncomfortable talking about these issues because I like this site, I like you Mel (even though I've never met you!) and I like that this is one of the few forums on the internet where you get good quality information without smart ass comments or arguments. Thorn Tree for example. There are a lot of key board warriors out there!. Also, Womens rights are a touchy subject and one I'm not really qualified to discuss. Maybe it would be better if we could hear from some Women in countries like Indonesia(where ultimate traveler is held) and see what they think.

A question for those who believe that we should dress appropriately, in the name of respecting religions: How do you reconcile this opinion with the disrespect you are showing to these religions, by treating their spiritual shrines and temples as tourist attractions? Do you really have a 'respect everybody philosophy' or is this yet just another excuse to place sexist restrictions on women?



This isn't just about women as you are making it out. It is about men and women showing respect and dressing appropriately. It just so happens that a lot of girls wear string vests and shorts more than men. Guys cannot enter with their shoulders bare and knees showing either. No one here is trying to justify the bad treatment of women in some societies at all.

Also, it is not necessary to speak another countries language but it certainly shows a level of respect to say hello, please and thank you. Some people might be shy or embarrassed to speak another language and that is totally fine. The point made above is that some people expect others to be able to communicate in English. Maybe my values are too traditional but it certainly helps me get along. It also helps the vast majority of travelers too.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 14 Msg: #105409  
In my side I try to ignore every argument with guys who are trying to put me into this kind of discussions... Doesn't worth it... We can't do anything to change their minds.
I always look back for the backgrounds of the culture - those days there was a reason they build this temples. And still there were people who were against it... For me it's whirled also to see these temples but nobody tells me that I must see them...
Time has changed as people do changed as well. Enjoy the history of it. (or ignore it)
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 15 Msg: #105411  

I really honestly believe that we should respect other countries customs and beliefs. If we cannot do that we should not go there. Simple as. Rules apply to both men and women when entering temples and holy places. Keep the knees and shoulders covered. If people cannot do this simple request they shouldn't go. What is wrong with dressing appropriately?


Well yeah, you already said this... Do you have anything to say about the political side of this? But, maybe you have not encountered enough of the dark side of religion, to be able to answer this? Some temples and churches have been touristed to the extent that they are just money spinners, and little of the reality of the religion is visible to the tourists.

...without smart ass comments or arguments.


And you think discussing certain topics will change that? In my opinion, I dont think it is the actual heavy topics that cause the unrest on sites. Generally when people engage in these discussions they feel a variety of negative emotions and make the mistake of dumping these on others in a defensive or offensive way. Then others react to this and do some dumping back on the dumper.

TravelBlog is one of those special sites, because we have managed to keep it good, without resorting to apathy.

Also, Womens rights are a touchy subject and one I'm not really qualified to discuss. Maybe it would be better if we could hear from some Women in countries like Indonesia(where ultimate traveler is held) and see what they think.


Everybody can participate in this discussion.


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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 16 Msg: #105412  

I always look back for the backgrounds of the culture - those days there was a reason they build this temples. And still there were people who were against it...


The more elaborate the temple, the more murder, rape and pillaging that went into its financing. Not really something to be respected.

Maybe the respectful thing to do would be turn the temples into memorials for those whose lives were plundered. Maybe this would remind the human race, that gold and silver is not what will open the gates of heaven and that human beings are worth more than it.

Enjoy the history of it. (or ignore it)


What about we respect it, by knowing more about it.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 17 Msg: #105413  

I try to ignore every argument with guys who are trying to put me into this kind of discussions...


I can see for a fact that this is not true. You have already made 2 posts contributing to the argument/discussion.
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 18 Msg: #105416  
If I would argue I would send a post on that forum post... what I was planning to, but after you wrote I thought It does not worth it to discuss it.... If you don't like these kind of places don't go to see them - ignore it... simple... as I do... This conversation now it's not about the reality it's about excepting things... I do except and respect cultures in a way even if I don't agree with it... We can't change them... Reply to this

9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 19 Msg: #105417  
Having "respect" for a countries customs and regulations is not the same thing as supporting those cultural norms, no matter how offensive to an individuals particular sensibilities they may be. It is quite possible to respect a crusader castle without in any way glorifying in the reasons for its construction, even as a Christian. Just as a visit to any mosque, monastery, synagogue, temple or church is not a visit in support of whatever (most likely) draconian regime supported its construction. If this were to be the case it would be very hard to visit most countries, let alone the buildings within.

As a westerner it is all too easy, even for experienced, intelligent and moral travellers, to view other cultures through a variety of western made and maintained, yet often prejudicial filters. These work just fine at home yet tend to colour that which is foreign a very strange hue indeed. It is our responsibility as a traveller to maintain our own moral and ethical beliefs, be they personally or culturally derived, whilst showing a healthy level of respect to those of the places and peoples we encounter.

What to see and do when away is a personal choice, some of us are happy to breeze through some very politically and culturally complicated places without giving too much thought to the "problems" found there; equally others are exceptionally sensitive to the minefield of ethical difficulties inherent in some regions, and choose to tread very carefully there, as if on stepping stones. It is hard to know which the best approach is, if either, but is one that I believe is entirely of personal choice. Does a trip to Myanmar support the oppression of the monks or the controlling military junta?

When I travel I often want to see a countries buildings of worship, government buildings, memorials, traditional villages and tribes (after all, this is why we travel right?) when I am there, even, as mentioned before, if their cultural norms don't tally and mesh with mine. To show my dislike of a particular places differences by disrespecting any cultural, or building specific regulations or courtesies would be unthinkable; after all it will often be the local population who will be insulted by your ethical effrontery, and not the regime you "protest" against. I would no more wish to offend the key-holder of a remote and small Ladakhi monastery by wearing shorts and a vest, than I would wear flipflops to work. We can do as we please, or please as we do.

Scott
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9 years ago, March 1st 2010 No: 20 Msg: #105423  

We can't change them...


What we can contribute to change is limited, and change takes time, but at least in the meantime we can talk as much as we want about it.

It is quite possible to respect a crusader castle without in any way glorifying in the reasons for its construction, even as a Christian.


What if there were still crusaders these days and they were still repressing people, would how much you are willing to respect rules they impose be different?

It is our responsibility as a traveller to maintain our own moral and ethical beliefs, be they personally or culturally derived, ...


Are there any morals that are universal and apply to all human beings everywhere?

Does a trip to Myanmar support the oppression of the monks or the controlling military junta?


Well, it doesnt actively support the oppression of the monks and other Burmese people, but it is a refusal to take part in a peacful demonstration for democracy. Because people think such a demonstration is pointless maybe, or because they dont care?

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