Land of the not-so-free after all

This morning, I heard on the radio about a high school teacher being suspended for drawing ‘eerie similarities’ between US President George Bush and Hitler.

BJ Shea, my favourite morning DJ, played the recording a student took during the class on air. Didn’t sound at all unreasonable to me.

Made me realise though that even here, in the purported land of the free, one is not so free after all. You get the government suspending you for asking kids to think. And then there’s the whole privacy issue, where someone actually got arrested for PAYING his credit card bill.

What can I say? At least back home, we aren’t sold the whole concept of freedom (well, no Malaysian would believe for one second we have total freedom of speech), believe we can actually talk out of our asses, to have someone knocking your door and taking away your job the next day.

Would this qualify as false advertising?

As a parent, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what Mr Bennish did. The important thing here is my child learnt enough to come to me with what he/she thought was disturbing, which is credit due to Sean’s parents (the boy who ratted on the teacher). However, if my child came to me with this, I think it’s my job to let her know that being afraid of such issues is normal, rather than going to the school and making a big fuss. This sort of reactiveness isn’t healthy. The president, or our own prime minister in Malaysia, is not infallible. They are human, and make mistakes like the rest of us.

Interesting blog entries on the suspended teacher issue here:

Jay Bennish: Free speech or liberal indoctrination?
A Right ≠ an Ought
Parting Shot
Stop the Right-Wingers’ Lynching of Colorado Teacher

Which is more dangerous: a teacher using names like Hitler and Bush together, or allowing a student’s complaint to blow out of proportion?


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