Freedom of speech, gone fugly

During the last week or so, I’ve become embroiled, albeit only virtually and emotionally, in an atrocity that has been the talk of the blogosphere as well as in some of the local forums.

I’ve not wanted to blog about it here since technically, it had nothing to do with me, so I still will not discuss the intricacies of the case here.

But I will say one thing: It has brought me face to face with the ugliest of humankind, or perhaps just Malaysiankind – I know there is no such word but consider it coined – and whether in our pursuit of supposed truth, justice, profit or simply misplaced loyalties, that we have now badly abused the gift of Internet access.

Perhaps that is the only true abuse here.

When one thinks about it, what does it take to post a comment in a blog or a forum? Time-wise, it would take no more than a couple of minutes. Perhaps even less for those who speak without thinking, or those who ‘don’t need to think’. You read, you feel, you type, you send.

I myself took longer because I like to compose posts with bite. In the beginning, they were much longer, trying to explain my stance on the matter and why. After a while, they became retorts to other posts who disagreed. The more I posted, the more I felt, the less I thought. In the end, I was swept by the current of emotion that everyone else was swirling madly in, unable to see clearly anymore what was important, just wanting to get in and get back.

It was horrible. All the flaming and swearing. Strangers hurling abuses at the victim, the alleged perpetrators, each other. Making threats. Making war. People were just posting with wanton abandonment, letting the ugliest of what they felt manifest in the worst words possible one could use in the English language (and sometimes, others) on a fellow man, secure in the knowledge that they will never be found out.

Freedom of speech without ownership of opinions. The virtual angry mob where everyone is faceless.

And therefore, untouchable.

Well, of course, until some real damage is done. Then we do the tracerts and call TMNet or JARING. Or use my special weapon.

To think this happens everyday in blogs like these. I’d always stayed away. I regret getting involved now.

But I regret regretting even more.

I hope the truth will still have a chance at surfacing, and that justice will be served in a court of law.

But in a web of public opinion?

No fucking way.  

Where is our faith, in our fellow man, and in God? Where has decency gone? Do we not fear retribution for the things we say, when they are to intentionally annoy or hurt? Have we confused the right to be heard, with the right to hurt?

I know one thing for sure: Somebody – besides God – is watching. 

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11 Comments »

  1. worldangel said

    Indeed, this incident has been blown out of proportion. At first I sympathized with Ju-Lee, as she was after all a victim and I even made a post in my blog abt it, but now it seems like she is constantly dragging others into the story…oh well, it is her blog and she is entitled to say what she wants…

    And the people who commented, they are even worse. If you are full with disbelief about her story, I believe that they can just shut up and just stop posting all those criticisms, some of them are just pure insults and are nowhere constructive. Sometimes anonymity is a bad thing because it just makes us feel that we can say anything we want w/o having to suffer any punishment for saying the wrong thing.

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