A Djoa of Tan Canh commune, Kon Tum province, says people often meet and communicate with each other at home, at work in the fields or the forest, or when drinking wine together after work.
It’s impossible to always avoid a quarrel or careless words that unintentionally hurt someone else’s feelings.
When they go home and relax, they may recall actions or words which might have injured a relative or friend, A Djoa said.
“Some days ago, there was a drunken man who scolded another man. The next morning, he came to the other man’s house to beg his pardon. To say ‘I’m sorry’ is very important. If he didn’t say he was sorry, other people wouldn’t think well of him,” A Djoa told us.
Y Ui of Dak Ronga commune explains why Xo Dang people say ‘I’m sorry’ in the morning: “Someone who has made a mistake must say ‘I’m sorry’ before the birds wake up. They will roast a chicken over a charcoal fire and bring it and some alcohol to the other person’s house to make an apology. The mediator is the patriarch who analyzes the mistake, the right and the wrong of it, and determines the remedy. The person who made the mistake must promise not to repeat it.”
A Luo, the patriarch of Kon Wang hamlet, Krong Pach district, says morning is the best time for making an apology because the atmosphere is pure, clean, and quiet.
A man is wiser and admits the truth in his mind. In these conditions, genies will witness an apology and bless both sides with good luck, reducing any potential for escalating the dispute.
A Khao of Ea Mao hamlet said, “The other evening I drove my cows to the stable. Because the gate was broken, one cow went into the corn field of Buo Ngok and damaged several square meters. The next morning I went to apologize to Buo Ngok. I paid him US$8 in compensation, but he refused to accept the money. He knew I didn’t intentionally release the cow, so he forgave me and didn’t claim any damages. Buo Ngok told me to take better care of my cows. I agreed to learn from this lesson and thanked him.”
A Thin of Tea Roxa hamlet, Dak Tram commune, said the custom of making an apology reminds people that no one is perfect and they should repent of their mistakes and resolve to do good things. The aggrieved person should be tolerant and help the other to do good things and maintain a good relationship.
A Thin said, “If we make a mistake, we should apologize to avoid making things worse. It’s everyone’s responsibility. A person doesn’t live alone, but in a community. Grandparents and parents must teach their children that everyone has a responsibility to maintain family bonds and community relations. Each villager must comply with the Constitution and laws and also uphold local customs.”