Saturday, October 6, 2007

What is Honour?

No, I'm not a serious academician who will go into great lengths with eloquent words waxing the most famous wise bard of all times, William Sheakspeare's literary lines. Neither am I a philosopher, and a deep thinking one least of all, to write here what I ask: what is honour?

In the old days, without taxing your patience with details, it was a virtue worth dying for and could be seen in different forms. The knights and even cowboys in the West fought to defend it with swords, lancers and colts: duels were fought throughout history. In the East, in certain societies women who have embarrassed or shamed their families were murdered in so-called 'honour killings' and the killers did not fear the arms of the law. Ah yes, the keris, kwang tau, spears and parangs were the weapons to defend this virtue.

The Japanese, with what little of their pride left intact, after the humiliating WWII defeat, display their courageous strict code of honour by resigning from public office, admitting their shortcomings or guilt publicly; others committed suicide by various methods like the drastic ultimate act of 'hari-kiri'-suicide by self-disembowelment. Remember that what's his name famous nationalist Japanese writer in the '70s who did this shocking act?

So to cut out all the big talk and get into the facts here's what Webster says about honour:
1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honour. 2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honour to one's family. 3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in high honour. 4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honour of the dead.... blah...blah... blah the description goes on, most fascinatingly.

Without going further, let me leave these words on honour in the ill-fated corrupted love between that famous romantic French knight in shinning armour, Lancelot and King Arthur's wife, Geneivere. The famous poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson penned, "his honour rooted in dishonour stood/And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true. Hmmmnnnnnnn my German part of the brain is wondering why these verses spring to mind...

The hour is late so I'll return to check what I write off my head and see everything is correct, correct, correct.

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