Labeling People

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2011

I passed by a flea market on the way to the Red Dot Museum.

One of the stalls caught my attention.

Besides selling interesting tinklets, the owner was giving away free booklets.

“Here, take one. I wrote these articles. I hope you will enjoy reading them.”

The lady who spoke to me was young and pretty. She was dressed simply – looking laid back – and she had a twinkle in her eyes, especially when she saw that I was interested in her publications.

I turned to her and said, “Oh, you’re a writer. I am an active blogger myself.”

I was taken aback by her reply,

“A blogger is not a writer. A writer can be a blogger. I’m both a writer and a blogger.”

I’m glad she confirmed what I have always believed. I am not a writer – at least not a professional one.

Without trying to be modest, I know I have a lot to improve in my writing skills. I have also come across much better writers.

To make matters worse, in the words of my daughters, “Daddy, your English sucks!”

I’m glad I do not have to carry the burden of the label, ‘Writer.’

Otherwise, I will have to be ‘inspired’ before writing.

I don’t have to worry about what people think of my writing. And I don’t have to do many other things to live up to the label.

That experience kept me thinking about how we label people.

Why do we need labels? To help us understand and make sense of people?

Yet, when we label people, our perception of them actually becomes biased and it defeats the purpose of labeling.

Label does not explain anything of the complete truth about a person. You are not better off by sticking a label to anybody.

For example, I am a member of a feminist organization. There will be people who will label me as a feminist and think that I must be ‘Anti-male.’

This is a gross misconception.

If you really have to label me: I’m a Feminist not because I am against my gender, but because I want to help remove all the obstacles so that women can rise to their maximum potential.

I want to remove any issues that demean women’s worth and value. I want to help women serve their highest calling.

Soren Kirkegaard, the Danish Philosopher puts it beautifully, ‘Once you label me, you negate me.’

There are many dangers when we label a person. It can lead to extreme love or hatred.

For example, if you label me as a ‘Businessman,’ there will be people who love businesses that will have positive regards for me. However, if you believe that businessmen are always up to no good to earn a profit, then you will not think well of me.

Labels can also be used for manipulative purposes. When I was much younger, there are friends who told me if you don’t smoke, you are not ‘cool.’

Teenagers like to be accepted and to be ‘cool’ so they joined the ‘cool’ gang to burn up their lungs.

Did you notice I have used some strong labels to persuade you not to be a smoker?

I do not want to put a label on people, nor make any assumption of them.

I want to give them all my five senses so that I can fully understand them.

Even then, I will not stick a label on them. I have positive expectancy that people want to be the best they can be.

I want to expect the best from them.

If you have to put a label on me, just label me as ‘Your Royal Highness.’

Seriously, I don’t need labels – I am Patrick Liew.

Is my name a label?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Question: How can we remove our biasness and prejudice for people?


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