Friendship Or Duty

In a situation where you are friends with someone, but you are also working in a position that involves your friend, what should be the ground rules? Or should two worlds, duty and friendship, even coexist?

My Wifey is not Finnish, so she sometimes attends to the gatherings set up by her native embassy. Or, rather, did attend. Recently the invitations to these events have mysteriously gone missing, and she only sees the events from Facebook after they have happened as some people post pictures and videos from them. And the person responsible for upkeeping the invitation email lists and such is a friend.

This got me thinking – is it truly friendship, if the official duties get into way in such matters as sending invitations of official gatherings? And if it is as this friend claims, fault in the email program and mailing lists, is it more because they are incapable of upkeeping those email lists? Should it be delegated to someone else, in case there are many people from their country who miss invitations? And, even worse, if the email lists work for every other person, and it only excludes my wifey, and other LGBTQ people who are open about themselves.

Or is it because there is a question of duty vs. friendship?

My Wifey comes from a country where the LGBTQ rights are practically non-existent and at times it is so bad that people of LGBTQ minority could apply for asylum based on the fact that the law doesn’t protect them in their own country. And if this has an effect to the invitations to the embassy events here, in a Western country, is it fair. And more so, is it even legal?

I know that embassies are under the governance of the home country, but at the same time they have to adhere to the laws, rules, and regulations of the country they are situated in. I can just imagine what kinds of clashes this can cause, especially in questions of LGBTQ nature. But if this is the case, why not say it out loud?

In one of my earlier posts I was pondering over dirty coffee cups in an AirBnB flat, and this seems to have same elements as the coffeecup-gate. Confronting people privately only works if they are willing to deal with the truth and admit that they are, or have to, prioritize duty over friendship. But if they admit to that, it can open up a completely new can of worms, mainly about the reasons why someone higher in the pecking order has denied a person an invitation, for instance.

But, if there would be this kind of hidden agenda, that would be about the exact moment when the little gay activist in me jumps up and urges me to write this blog. Because if this is a case of pure discrimination, then it needs to be highlighted through public discussion – the same way that the 2014 case of Malaysian embassy employee using physical punishment on their children in Sweden. That case ended with the employee being jailed as this kind of behaviour goes against Swedish legislation. They were later released, but did they learn anything from it? I don’t think so, at least based on this article.

Can I prove that my wifey not-receiving invitations is discrimination? No.

That’s why I don’t want to point fingers, but instead I want to present this as a possibility, knowing the current LGBTQ situation in Malaysia. It can, and most likely will, trickle down to the embassies. And let’s be frank, it would definitely be the worst case scenario.

But I am afraid that this is something personal against my wifey, even if it saddens me. Because if it is personal, it means that the person we thought as our friend, is more like an acquaintance. Of course we all have our own close circle of friends, and then the outer rim of friends, but even so – shouldn’t there be some sort of loyality to your friends? And if this kind of missing invitations -gate goes on and on, it really makes me wonder.

Whatever is the case, it made me think about how we deal with people in our everyday lives. We may have duties that prevent us from being overly friendly during the working hours, but it never hurts to be cordial and flash a bit of smile. Many times in different situations these little things can alleviate the tension and uplift feelings. So maybe we all should reflect on our own behaviour and think how we could be better people towards each other, instead of trying our best to be envious and vicious.

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