It is rare in Australia that we are asked to put some personal details forward on official forms – at least not on the occasions where we are not asking for government charity. Even the intrusive census forms leave us a couple of pathways to avoid contentious issues.
Most times we are not asked our sexual preferences, or religious beliefs, or our political persuasion. Applying for a licence to own a dog is pretty well focused on the dog and not us. And we throughly approve of this approach.
Other places in the world are different. I should recoil from the sorts of enquiry that might be directed at me in Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, or Russia. Or at Los Angeles Airport, for that matter. It is not that I would be afraid of giving the wrong answer – I do that all the time. It is because I am loath to give ANY answer – or to even consider the question. Certainly not to consider the question as legitimate or moral.
What sort of questions? Religion. Sex. Politics. Finances…the subjects that were once placed beyond the pale at a dinner party. The sort of questions that polarise conversation and lead to someone being treated badly. Yet there are always going to be these sorts of questions asked – as there are always going to be people who just don’t realise that they are doing the wrong thing in asking them. So what answer can be given – what answer should be given?
I have pondered it for a long time and finally I have to come back to the teachings of the Dalai Lama – a gentleman who has had to cope with a great deal of pressure. I think I shall adopt his classic answer when people ask me about religion, sex interests, or money matters…
” None of your G-d damned business, eh? “*
This seems to cover all areas under consideration. I shall look forward to the next enquiry.
* Fred Dalai Lama. Runs a tyre warehouse in Okotoks.