Knowing when to hold back


A LITTLE over a week ago, two incidents took place – one globally and one locally, that questioned the levels of people’s sanity and mental health.

One would think that with every bad move we make and with the existence of social media that places us under an unpleasant light because of those indiscretions, people would really reconsider flying off their rockers in a fit of rage.

Think about it.

Who wants to be “cancelled” by society and have their reputation dragged through the mud?

Or is it just that these people had a momentary lapse in judgement without any forethought of the dire consequences as a result of their actions?

You would have surely heard about the kerfuffle at the 94th Academy Awards (Oscars 2022), where US actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock, who was also the host of the award show, on stage.

What possessed Smith to commit such an unbecoming and brash move?

Based on just what the global audience saw, Rock had poked fun at Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett’s shaved head by saying that she should play the next GI Jane character.

Pinkett is apparently suffering from alopecia, resulting in her hair loss.

Seconds after Rock made that comment, the camera switched to the Hollywood power couple and the audience saw Pinkett rolling her eyes indignantly while Smith was laughing at the joke.

But about 10 seconds later, Smith strode on stage and slapped Rock on his face, sauntered back to his seat and shouted a warning with some expletives to Rock – twice.

As one of the most successful and endeared Hollywood actors, people were baffled as to why Smith lost his marbles and did what he did.

Less than an hour later, Smith went on stage to accept the Oscar for Best Actor for the movie King Richard, and – in his acceptance speech – apologised to the academy (but not to Rock) for his behaviour.

As expected, social media was wrought with opinions and backlash about who was the lesser of two evils, while many long-time Smith fans decided they didn’t want to be his fan anymore.

A couple of days later, Smith issued an apology to Rock and proceeded to resign from the Oscars Academy.

Back in Malaysia, social media went awry in the same week when a video of a local university professor in Shah Alam berating an underprivileged student for not having a laptop went viral.

The lecturer, during the online class, was seen shouting at the student and demanded that he ask his sister to pawn her gold bracelet to buy him a laptop. The lecturer went on to also chide the B40 community in general.

It was revealed later that this happened a year ago, and that the student had already graduated.

Obviously the recording had been leaked, putting the lecturer in hot water over her behaviour.

Days later, the university announced that the lecturer had been suspended and was told to go on leave pending investigations into the incident.

There was also talk on social media that the lecturer had provided a laptop to the said student.

On one hand, we have an international superstar who chose to physically assault someone, probably as a way to defend his wife but we don’t know for sure.

And on the other hand, we have an educator who verbally attacked a student because of his underprivileged background, and this spawned into more negativity when some netizens chided the student for not managing his finances so he could buy a laptop.

Suffice to say, humanity took a serious hit, and we need to realise that we just cannot justify people’s bad behaviour based on their circumstances, and that is why we have laws.

There is no need for someone who holds a certain amount of power in society to betray that trust and act in an uncivilised manner.

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power , society , social media , mental health

   

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