Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Happened to Respect?

Funny thing this social media is. And what it's capable in doing to us as a society in just under a decade. Asian are generally polite and respectful. And I am sure other cultures teaches good values too, respecting the elders and respect among human being being amongst others. Sadly, the past decade or so has seen a major decline of what we have been brought up to believe and practice.

For instance, in real life, a friend of your mom says something that you don't entirely agree with, you will usually just keep quite or at most politely begs to differ and state your points. But most of the time you just keep quiet.

Out of respect. Because we were brought up to be respectful of the elders, and everyone else, regardless of his social standing, age or wealth. 

Another scenario, an elder in the family gently tell you that what you are doing is not right, that you are following the mass, quoting wrong facts. You quickly apologize and say you won't repeat it again (pretending, if you think you are in the right). No matter how your heart rebels to be saucy, but that mental image of the repercussion from your mom or dad or heaven forbids your grandmother flashing in your head will stop you.

However, had it been on Facebook, you will tell her off rudely, your friends will jump in the attack, you bombard your answer with unverified and often ridiculous copy & paste 'facts', dragging religion if needs be. And finally using the default favorite, this is my wall, I can pretty much do what I want. 

We don't go around attacking strangers, do we? Neither do we personal attack people we barely just met. Or sucker punch that friend of a friend of a friend, for being different than us. If we don't do this in real life, why do we do all this and far worse things on the internet?

In real life we take the trouble to hide our secret vices, we know what's right, and what's wrong. We are usually ashamed to flaunt the worst of ourselves. So what happened to us on social media? Did agreeing to the terms and conditions to the sites give us license to be downright rude? To throw away all the good values we are brought up with?

What happened to the values you are brought with? You are the embodiment of the good ones, I have met you, and I know how some of you are brought up. Is social media where people go to let their hair down and be the ugliest of themselves? Is this just predominant in Gen-Y and after? Or it's the whole freedom of not being physically face to face that let us think we can get away with anything. If this is the behavior of the adults and young adults these days, what's of the children of tomorrow? 

I am always saying what children see children do. If before this, you just let your hair down and be crude or rude or racist only among your trusted peer, you are now doing it where everyone can see it, not just a one off thing, but forever. And children are watching, yours included. And they will copy. And then some.

I too believe in freedom. Of speech, politics and ideals. But I also believe in being respectful, polite and being tact. After all, this is an eternal world platform. It will always be here, long after you and I are all gone.
Shall we resolve to promote respect and politeness in the coming new year? And accountability too? And all the good values we were brought up with. Plus all the great ones that we've picked up along the way.

1 comment:

Anwardi said...

I sometimes think the Malays have done their best over the years, showing and giving respect. Would it be too much for others to maybe give us some back?