Respect? What’s that

7 Sep

This is actually a speech I had to make on the first Flagraising Ceremony. So bear with me, please.


The last day of school is still fresh in our minds, and yet here we are again embracing another brand new school year. Hopefully, the summer has been as productive as it had been relaxing, and everyone is refreshed and ready for another year of diligence!

Perhaps some of us may find ourselves unused to campus life after so long. Back in school surrounded by peers and teachers, we need to respect and understand each other in spite of our differences. This is where we must learn to co-operate with people different from ourselves—people who are from different parts of the world, people who speak different languages, people who hold different beliefs and also people who have different opinions. This is what sets us International schools apart from the localized ones: we are surrounded by all sorts of people who have all sorts of backgrounds. What we can learn from this opportunity is how to be with people who may not always share our views.

We must strive to understand each other by putting ourselves in their shoes and appreciating the way and the reason for which they think and behave. The word “understand” is made of the terms “under” and “stand”, and in this context it refers to the inner values that they stand by. But before we can do this, we must first appreciate and acknowledge one another’s differences by respecting them.

As some of you may have already guessed, my topic today is about respect. This subject does come up very often indeed, but perhaps we don’t really understand it as much as we think we do. Respect, unfortunately, is nowadays easily confused with deference because of its context, and although they are similar in a way, they are entirely different things. For the majority of us, the word “respect” is most often associated with guardians, teachers, and the like. While its meaning may overlap some with that of the word ‘deference’, it is much simpler and easier done. In short, being respectful does not necessarily mean being deferential. To be respectful is to be attentive, to allow dignity, or to hold a positive feeling of esteem for someone or something. It means being appreciative of other people’s differences and being civil. And this is the very least that we should do to one another. As we all know, basic signs of respecting someone include listening when they speak, taking their opinions seriously, not insulting them or their beliefs, and not being violent.

We also need to be aware of the fact that showing respect is more of a statement about ourselves rather than about those whom we show it to. By keeping in mind the rather overused yet undoubtedly wise statement, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, we can together create and uphold a harmonious, friendly environment to study and grow up in.

Thank you for your attention.


I was asked to give a speech on the first Flagraising Ceremony of the semester, about Respect and Understanding. This is such an overdone topic that I’m pretty sure that only 1-2% actually listened to my speech, but to my credit I did try to make it less tedious and less…traditional, I guess. I dislike the kind of motivational speech that is made up of little more than empty words.

So instead, I tried to explore what “respect” really meant, literally, as well as our misinterpretations of it. Perhaps I am wrong. And it’s more than likely that my arguments are horrifyingly underdeveloped, but this is a start-of-term speech, after all. I risked turning it into an argumentative essay already.

Anyway. I’ve been sleeping for little more than (perhaps even less than) 6 hours each night for three days now, and now I sort of can’t think properly. Thank god there hasn’t been much homework lately. 

Every time I try to type “homework”, I end up tying “Homestuck” instead. Bluh bluh bluh.

Alright, Imma retire to bed. Hey look, it’s only midnight. Guess I’m early today.


4 Responses to “Respect? What’s that”

  1. Alaska September 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Oh man. Is it actually me chatting with you on MSN that’s making you stay so late?

    (Hamsteak hamsteak hamsteak)

    • AwesomeAim September 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      Not only that…I surprise even myself with my timewasting abilities.

  2. thalassalynanne September 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    I listened to your speech! Well… kind of. Felt so bad for you when the collective sigh went around the whole school before your speech, not your fault haha

    • AwesomeAim September 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

      That is only to be expected. In fact, the only good things about going up there to speak are: 1) practice, 2) no boredom because of anticipation, 3) you don’t really have to worry about messing up because nobody’s going to be listening anyway. So no, I don’t mind. H3h3h3 😛

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