We bet you’re expecting this article to be a history lesson. We’d hate to burst your bubble but we’re heading down a completely different direction – our national harmony, or what’s left of it.
What We Know
We know that our hard-fought peace has come at huge costs, how our ancestors put aside their differences for a greater cause – a united Malaysian society. It’s been stated in nearly every Malaysian history textbook ever published – we’re a harmonious multicultural country filled with a great diversity of people from different races and religions. Or, are we?
What Has Changed?
We’re amid the age of a social media-centric society, and with it extends our freedom of speech. With every post that gets put out on the Internet, comes implications that we, as a society, were not taught to handle in our school years. Cyberbullying, hate speech, scams and many other vile digital crimes have surfaced as a result of the World Wide Web. A determinist would be quick to argue that all this was inevitable, but the question that’s gotten under our skin is this:
How bad is the problem if it is a problem at all?
Poking The Bear
The younger generation are often stereotyped as too sensitive and with it, our harmony are on shaky grounds. A recent revelation has shed more light on whether our long-standing peace is treading on thin ice. In August 2019, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) opened its hotlines to the public to report race, religion and royalty (3R) issues. These reports ranged from complaints about insensitive posts to content that stood to disrupt national unity in Malaysia. Within 6 weeks, almost 22,000 reports came flooding in through MCMC hotlines and this speaks volumes.
Snowflake is a slang term used to refer to overly-emotional and easily offended individuals. Coined in the 2010s, this derogatory term has often been associated with millennials today, which in turn spells bad news for our fragile harmony. It’s not an easy task to set out to put an end to those who so bravely abuse racial and religious issues to spread disharmony and provoke conflict.
Still, we’re not all helpless in this chaos. We can do our part by refusing subscriptions to racial stereotyping, practice moderation in what we post online and reject the extremism that undermines our patriotism. Reporting content that exploits ethnic sentiments and propagates hate crime, racism or ideals that stir the pot are among the actions we can take to crack down on the crisis at hand.
Read our guide below the next time you’re in a digital dilemma and you find yourself asking, “Should I share this?”
1) Speech Filtering
Chances are you’ve heard someone tell you to think before you speak. Something our education system currently lacks is equipping our society with the capacity to filter our speech. Before materializing our thoughts, we should make an effort to ask ourselves whether what we are about to say is true, necessary, and kind. It’s a classical practice that’s been neglected by our modern digital era which merits a comeback.
2) Is it true?
Have you fact-checked it? Are the sources legitimate? No one likes being on the receiving end of misinformation. More often than not, verifying details with someone goes a long way in making sure we don’t spread false information to others.
3) Is it necessary?
Think about the rationale behind your words. Is it for you or is it for them? If it’s for the other party, move forward by considering whether it’s your place to say so. However, if it’s not for them, it merits finding other ways to express your feelings on your end, either within the confines of a journal or in your calmer solitude.
4) Is it kind?
Kindness is arguably subjective, what may appear to be kindness to you can be easily misinterpreted by others. It boils down to one thing – how will what you say make others feel? Language evolved for our species to take effective actions and if what you plan to say doesn’t add value to the situation, then perhaps consider keeping it to yourself!
Digital Age Accountability in a Nutshell
Sure, it seems like small scale habits to cultivate, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor was the peace we indulge in today. It’s not to say that we should walk on eggshells, but it does help to review what you’ve typed before you hit that blue arrow icon.
It’s almost 2020 and there’s more to life than hate. Culture for example, has always been the link that connects the dots, bringing Siva closer to Iskandar, bringing Vivian closer to Dayang, and bringing Malaysians closer to their fellow countrymen.