Thursday, August 4, 2011

Christopher Lao: A Case of Schadenfreude and Cyberbullying

I would have to admit that I had a laugh when I first watched Christopher Lao’s video on Facebook. A lot of people actually find others’ misfortunes amusing. As a matter of fact, I went on a bashing spree with some of my officemates this morning because, really, you just don’t drive your car into flood like that and blame it on others. After giving it much thought, however, I had a sudden change of heart.

While I admit that Christopher Lao needs a lesson on humility (and foresight), the rest of us need to understand that each of us will have a moment of weakness when we will not be able to think straight before words come tumbling out of our mouths. He had a moment of weakness, and it was very unfortunate that it was caught on video and a news channel lost its sense of social responsibility and aired a video, which doesn’t really have a purpose other than humiliating someone.

We can’t judge a person based on a moment of weakness because that doesn’t define a person. Christopher Lao is not stupid. There had been information that he graduated as Summa cum Laude with a Philosophy degree from UP, and he is taking up Law. He is someone who committed a mistake, just like the rest of us. And just because we aren’t the ones who committed the mistake means that we can insult him.

But really, why do we find pleasure in putting people down? What’s pleasurable in posting a video of someone’s most embarrassing moment and adding insult to injury by calling him names? It doesn’t make us better than Christopher Lao. As a matter of fact, the name-calling is saying more about us than Christopher Lao himself. It’s showing the world we’re lacking moral fiber because we chose to kick someone who’s already down. If we want to look smarter and cooler, or if we want to be famous among our circle of friends by having more ‘Likes’ and comments, we shouldn’t get it on someone else’s expense.

The next time we put someone’s error for the world to see, let’s all remind ourselves that we can easily be that person. And when that happens, would we want everyone to judge our whole being just because we committed a mistake that didn’t even last for more than a minute?

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