Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Disturbing Event

Facebook comments comes into the limelight yet again.

I posted a 10-word status on Fb and went for a siesta. After reading a news piece from the Malaysian Insider, I had felt the injustice in our country and like a true Gen-Yer, expressed this on Fb.

Little did I know it had sparked so much hate in someone on my Friends list (as at 3pm today). I was only notified of this sentiment when a friend called me, waking me up from my snooze, to tell me about it. Funny - this is the second time that someone has called me up to ask me to check my Fb wall! The first being the time I hid my 'relationship' status - all sorts of spin stories came out in a short span of a few hours. Today, it was 9 nasty comments by this "friend" with a few others from other friends who either supported my status update or were trying to help calm the situation.

By the time I accessed it, the fire was 3 hours old. Basically what I posted had to do with the oppression we have here (with a little play on words to make it seem like a catchy phrase - no, I'm not praising myself, this was my intent and am not sure how catchy it really sounded though LOL). And this "friend" (as at 3pm today) had blasted back with nine (9) comments touching on race, religion, government, political parties, Bumiputra rights, Bersih, alternative media, the Agong, non-Malays, inflation rate and the right to bring "you guys (us)" up (into the line of fire of the govt/media - I suppose that's what he meant). I'm not too sure what he meant by "you guys" - it could be Chinese people, Christians, anti-BN supporters, non-Malays or me being cloned multiple times in the transgender state. I would like to think he was referring to the latter (then it wouldn't be so disturbing as a male me is better than the other options). He tried to redeem himself from sounding racist by explaining that he also had other non-Malay friends who felt the way he does. [Come on la, if there were any non-Malays who supported the Ketuanan Melayu, they'd probably been proselytized and duped into thinking that by being Muslim they can automatically be a Bumiputra - utter nonsense! If you want to change your faith, do it for the right reasons - because of god, not because of the earthly benefits that seemingly comes with the faith]

Let me give a brief history of this "friend" (as at 3pm today) of ours. I had met him in secondary school. We were in the same class from Form 1-5 (if I remember right). Although I would rather not bring this up, but he was a little effeminate. And of course, we girls never mentioned this fact to him although we were suspecting all along that he had homosexual tendencies. After all, who were we to question one's sexual preferences. He was sort of the genius in our class, always coming out tops in class and always comparing marks with his contenders. Since I only fell into the top 20% of the batch (according to the cert la), I never directly experienced this competitiveness of his. He hung out with us girls because many guys had bullied him for being soft, with relentless cruel teasing. When we graduated, he told us he was going to get UNICEF to sponsor his overseas studies in Sweden (or some Scandinavian country, I forget). After that, all of us had lost contact with him until a couple of months back when someone had found him on Fb and we all added him.

This "friend" (as at 3pm today) did not show up much on our Fb activity feed but when he did, his status postings were always bordering on extremism/radicalism, and infused strongly in his praise for the BN government. I had thought that I was the only one who was being over-sensitive and felt that his statuses were inappropriate, until the other day when a whole bunch of other mutual friends complained about him being an extremist. Honestly, he always sounded like he had gone for this hyper version of Biro Tatanegara talks or had undergone al-Qaeda militant training in Pakistan. So it was a shocker to find out he actually studied in Japan after high school. 

Anyway, what is disturbing is that this "friend" (as at 3pm today) has turned 180 degrees (as opposed to the commonly used 360 degrees - which actually means you're back to square one) in the short span of a few years from being an academically-gifted timid lad into this extremist monster. What caused this change? It is really disturbing to accept this truth by direct attack. Somehow, I really feel he needs prayer for the following:
  • to open his mind to the truth of the situation in our country 
  • to know the pros and cons of the political party he so ardently supports and have a rational mind to weigh these facts for himself
  • to actually learn what the Bersih rally is all about as opposed to what the BN government has been brainwashing the rakyat through the BN-owned media outlets
  • to understand that fair and clean elections benefits the rakyat (which he is a part of) and will raise Malaysia's image, which would then translate to more FDIs and eventually lower inflation rates
  • to remember that Malaysia was formed by the combining efforts of all the races - so everyone has an equal right to live freely in this country
  • to remember that there is no real democracy if there are no opposition parties
  • to see that small "kuchi-mais" making noise is not the reason why Malaysia's progress is threatening to become regress. Who is the controlling authority? The responsibility of governing the country well should fall on their shoulders, not on the "kuchi-mais" who are not getting paid to raise accountability issues
  • to realise that there are such things as courtesy, decorum and etiquette, even in social networking 
  • to remember that when others had called him "pondan", we still stuck by him and befriended him
Well, I guess people do change, albeit this case was pretty sad and disturbing. I decided that someone with such radical perceptions would not be happy being my friend, and vice versa. Therefore I replied his comments with the following and subsequently cut ties with him.

Dear XXXXXX, everyone has a right (like you expressed in caps earlier) to an opinion. FYI, there have been many a times that some of us (yes, not only little old me) have thought your status postings were inappropriate/extreme but we have CHOSEN not to hijack it and insult your "opinion". Therefore since you can't handle getting this 10-word status posting in Fb updates, it is best to put you out of your misery of receiving them any further. Peace be with you.
 I do not wish to be associated with someone who does not respect other's opinions and is a racist at the depth of his heart. I always believe, if you disagree with someone's comment and can't find peace but to have a confrontation, there are channels and proper ways to do so. Approaching the offending party with calm and politeness explaining why you disagree, not exploding with hate and fury. This is the problem with many social media commenters - impulsive and brash.

For the record, when it comes to race and religion, this is my stance. I believe that all races have the right to live in Malaysia in equality, this includes foreigners who have chosen to make this country their home and are completely loyal to Malaysia. If they are only Malaysians in name but their heart still lies in their respective home countries, then they are not Malaysians in true sense. I believe that every Malaysian should have the freedom and right to choose which god they want to worship. No one should force another to worship their god (this includes SOME of my Christian brothers and sisters who have unfortunately decided to use the wrong method to spread the Gospel). I believe that religion should be about worshipping god with your heart and soul, not about getting political mileage or holier-than-thou blackmailing. Each individual's relationship with god is a personal one - no mortal being, yes not even your parents, spouse, boss, political leaders or the King, can plead your case on Judgement Day when you face God. As for the Christian faith, we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation as he had laid his life down for the sins of the world (that includes you and I) and that He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for those whom He has called. This is what I BELIEVE, I stress. It may NOT be what you believe, but bear with me, as this is ME SETTING THINGS DOWN FOR THE RECORD.

Yes, this is a long rant. But this is how I truly feel about the situation. I don't feel angry that he lashed out at me in public domain. I feel sad that a friend of mine has obviously been brainwashed somehow, and taking into account his brain capabilities, it is indeed a loss to us in building a better Malaysia.

Apologies for things sounding so formal, this is part of the work hazard - having things in black & white.

Me (the one with one Facebook friend less).

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