Regular readers of this blog may have spotted a couple of less than pleasant comments during the past few days that have since been deleted. An anonymous poster, hiding behind a nom de plume, decided that s/he would like to make some gratuitous comments about KYUEM and me, personally. This blog is not the forum for doing so, and if the anonymous poster is reading this, I welcome the opportunity of talking with him/her directly. You can contact me any time at the college and I will be more than happy to engage with you.
The subject of my post today concerns the responsibility we should all feel if we want our views heard and treated with respect. I am sometimes shocked to read the hostile posts on newspaper websites (the identities of all such contributors hidden behind a false name or avatar). It is a hopeless task to think you can persuade everyone to agree with you, or even like you. Teachers, particularly, are aware that they can't be loved by every member of every class they teach. I can remember saying to one young man in a class I taught many years ago that I could handle not being liked - he had every right to do so and I would just have to live with it. What I couldn't appreciate was that he was also assuming I was a fool.
At KYUEM we are preparing young Malaysians for the adult world. True maturity, it has always seemed to me, is being willing and able to take responsibility for your actions. In many ways, the anonymity of the Internet has allowed some of that responsibility to become abrogated. Please don't misunderstand me: I am a huge supporter of the Internet in all its forms and I deplore it when governments or individuals try and suppress freedom of speech. My concern is solely to do with hiding your identity so that you can gratuitously insult, wound or even harm someone else. Let us not forget that so-called cyber-bullying in several countries around the world has, in extreme cases, led to the victim being driven to suicide.
My identity on this blog is known to everyone who does me the honour of reading it. To all the parents who email me, or make comments beneath various postings, I offer my sincere and humble thanks. To my anonymous critic of the past few days, I simply say this: you know who I am - I have no need to hide my identity when I wish to say something I believe, or that means a lot to me. If you do me the courtesy of telling me who you are, too, I will be more than happy to enter into a dialogue with you. While you continue to post anonymously and make sarcastic comments or unfounded accusations, expect your contributions to be removed. There is no room on the KYUEM blog for subterfuge or cowardice.
On a happier note, I wish everyone reading this a pleasant weekend ahead.