By Ahmad A. Talib | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the last couple of days, I was shown pages taken from someone’s Facebook where the said person commented on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s birthday speech that was shown on television. The comments were clearly rude, to say the least.
If these comments were made by citizens of this country, then these people have clearly expressed their freedom of expression to the extreme. If they are made by non-citizens, then my conclusion is that these people have little respect for this country’s sovereign structure.
The original postings in Facebook have gone viral. Meaning, others have made a screenshot of the posting and sent them to others for them to see, comment and share. By now, the posting has turned into a national issue, stoking yet another round of accusations and counter-accusations.
But there’s one thing about Facebook postings. Some of the people who put up postings are not identified properly. Some carry fictitious names for whatever reasons. One can assume that anyone posting under a fictitious name probably has something to hide.
It’s quite irresponsible actually. If the postings are about trivia, then they wouldn’t create so much of a stir. But for postings such as the one ridiculing our king, this can’t be a small matter. Perhaps, I can share the posting, put up by someone named Melissa.
She asked this question to her Facebook friends: “Anyone listening to the speech? Grrr!” She was referring to the King’s speech made on the eve of His Majesty’s official birthday. The speech was carried live on television.
The posting prompted five comments from Melissa’s friends. There were some exchanges among them, which clearly showed the online conversation was not complimentary to the King at all.
One might say that such statements are harmless and in accordance with one’s freedom of expression. Others do not see it that way. They see them as rude and provocative, besides being political in tone and intention.
Among others, the King told citizens to get on with their lives and accept the outcome of the recent general election. Could this have triggered Melissa’s comments?
Many things are being said in social media. The political stuff seems to continue unabated. One may argue that he or she can say anything he or she likes because that’s in his or her space. That’s correct, of course, but such comments would invite reactions that may not necessary be kind or pleasant.
Many of the things being said in social media are not aimed at national reconciliation. The result of the general election seemed to have divided the people even more. Many have not been able to go back to their pre-GE13 lives.
Neighbours look differently at each other; some verbal exchanges are cold and less friendly. Facebook friends have begun to “unfriend” each other, preferring to confine their “friendship” to real-life friends and acquaintances.
I have yet to comprehend this phenomenon. But one thing I do know — fair comment is fair comment; and good manners are clearly defined, whether they are in real life or in cyberspace.
No matter how deep and wide our differences are, we should all draw a line where respect for king and country are concerned. Ridiculing the King and turning our national flag upside down are not examples of good manners and upbringing. It’s kurang ajar, actually.