Friends are chosen, but neighbors come with the house!

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  • Khin Maung Oo
  • Each and every one of us have inborn rights to do, to have and to choose what we want to, in many cases. We name these rights “human rights,” today. But claiming “human rights, human rights,” many happen to exercise the rights excessively so much so that their deeds are likely to become public nuisances. Ethics control us in exercising our human rights. Dictionaries define “ethics” as moral principles that control or influence a person’s behavior. Civil ethics, medical ethics, media ethic, professional ethics, business ethics, code of conduct are being heard in our environment almost every day. The word, “civil ethics” is simple but it is meaningful, and it is very useful if we employ it rightfully.
    In schools, work places, work-sites and social communities and societies we have to work with others and have to associate with people. People vary in nature and they differ from each other in attitude, character, vision, skill and qualification. There is a saying that birds of a feather flock together. So, we select friends of the same type, hobby or interest to associate. Among them, some become alter egos for us. Although we do not find it difficult to associate with those with different likes, they will not become close enough for us to want to confide our secrets with them. The most important thing is for us to be able to co-exist peacefully, without any problems. Here, I dare say only ethics or code of conduct can bring about peaceful co-existence. No matter how much we love each other, our friendship will be destroyed if one party breaches the code of conduct or ethics.
    People living in the immediate vicinity are our neighbors. They may include salary earners, workers, teachers, doctors, drunkards and drug-addicts. Some may be kind, some cruel, some proud, some with good will, some honest and some cunning. As time goes past, we will come to know their different characters, habits and nature. Being neighbors living in the same street or ward, we cannot avoid them and or turn our face to the other side. They will become our neighbors forever.
    In other word, we can choose friends, but neighbours cannot be chosen. However, if we move to another place, we must meet new neighbours in the new environment—maybe the kind of neighbours we want or just the opposite. We have no alternative but to decide to live with them peacefully. Here, having a code of conduct will help us in our effort to live in peace and harmony.
    In the same way our neighbouring countries are very important for us. We need to have good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours to make sure that conflicts do not appear unnecessarily. We need to be reminded all times that ethics and code of conduct are very important for the maintenance of good relations with our neighbours. Both sides must abide by the code of conduct. Failing that, unnecessary things can spark a conflict or some ugly confrontation between the two neighbouring communities. Ethics should not be a rarity for all. It can bring about peace as well as friendship. To sum it up, we must build up mutual trust between neighbours by exercising respective ethics so that we have a peaceful and pleasant co-existence.
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