Had a pleasant surprise yesterday when the person we were supposed to meet turns out to be a long lost friend from the sea. Small world. Though he did at first mistook me for a chief cook with the same name. Yeah, just because I gained a few kilos and a more rounded middle. We had a good laugh. The good vibes from the short encounter lingers and led my mind to ponder recent events and how it relates to the meaning of friendship for me...
Lets begin with the title of this post. Its extracted from the saying "birds of a feather flock together" in Malay "enggang sama enggang pipit sama pipit". I use to abhor that statement as I have always believed that humans are created equal. Even in the sailing days I resent the fact that the crew and officers were restricted in their daily routines due to their ranks. Each with their own designated place for eating and recreation. Overly familiar relationship will be admonished and looked upon with disdain. Only now, as I approached the final phase of my life did I begin to understand and appreciate what that saying really meant.
It is true that all humans are equal and all have the same rights and obligations. It is only when we inadvertently go to the next level in human relations that the saying will apply. Being close only to those with feathers such as yours is a good way to avoid making relational mistakes and thus avoid getting hurt. Most crisis between humans are caused by misunderstandings and assumptions. This could be greatly be minimised if both parties have the same understanding and values. Therefore, logically since the same feathers have the same understanding and values, chances of a crisis is reduced. Bear in mind that same feathers does not mean race or religion, more to do with educational background, social hierarchy and of course common interest.
Why am I ranting about this ? To be honest, I made a mistake in mistaking a friend who in reality is only a work colleague. We worked together for the past decade. One superior with the other being the opposite from different departments. As opportunities arose both left and worked together in a new set up albeit in the same category with better remunerations. It was only when tragedy strikes that the real colour of the feather shines through. I was a bit thick I suppose as it was only after a few incidents that I realise it was only me assuming that he was a friend when in all probability he was acting only as a colleague.
My mistake was that I took it for granted that others will treat me as I would treat them. I will go all out for my friends as I expected them to do for me except in this case, only now I realise things were done for me not on the basis of friendship but taken as orders. His inability to say no to a superior even if back then the request for help is out of the scope of work. It felt bad as I question the sincerity of our relationship for the past decade. That said, we all need to learn, no matter how long it takes and move on.