“Ugliness and Hatred on Line-“

Extracted fully and This is an opinion from Sarawakian Edgar Ong

If you have an account on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you would have noticed that there are far too many postings showing people sharing news, images, videos and personal opinions about subjects verging on the edge of being censored – some due to their opinionated sense of perversion or twisted perspective or insane ideas and views.

Most of the time you find yourself bombarded with ugly, nasty and unpleasant images, news and videos. I am talking about pictures and photographs of abused infants, minors, pets and animals. I am also including those barbaric and savage images and videos of heads and limbs and other bodily parts being chopped off.

Bad news sells. That’s what is basically bringing in the eyeballs into Facebook and Twitter accounts, and some delight in seeing their posts being seen or “Liked” so many times as if they are trying to break their own personal best record!

Why indeed are people sharing so much ugliness and hatred? Is it the shock-value factor that they are after? Is it an inner sense of feeling good about themselves that they are above all this? Or is it some grotesque and twisted sense of satisfaction about showing off to others what they feel is wrong with the world at large?

Perhaps only a psychiatric observation can give us the answer.

Wouldn’t the world be a better and nicer place if we, or at least the majority of us, share good things – the joyful, the beautiful, the caring and the loving news and images that we have seen, read or viewed?

Many friends suggested that we should share more of the good things in life – how to be better parents, better companions; how to live a healthier life; how and what to do with your free time and the list is endless.

We can share about food and drinks, music and reading; travel and cooking – even share news of family and friends and how they are doing and what you’ve been up to. Surely all this is a lot better than being just being a constant voyeur and peeping Tom into other people’s nastiness, ugliness and bad tidings?

Six months ago, I started a Facebook page called “Kuching Flood Feedback” specifically for those who had wanted to share and inform others about the flood situation in and around Kuching. Within a few weeks it had taken off and grown popular and had over 500 members.  When the flood situation improved I thought of closing it down.

Many members implored me to keep the page alive as it proved to be of value and interest to them, so I renamed it Sarawak Public Feedback, and increased the forum’s coverage area to Sarawak, to also include other subjects of public interest.

Today, there are 7,694 members not just from Kuching or indeed Sarawak. The subject matter now also includes public policies and politics.

Sarawak election is hot topic on Sarawak Facebook pages
Sarawak election is hot topic on Sarawak Facebook pages

No prizes for guessing what subject is now the hottest topic on Sarawak Public Feedback. It’s Malaysian politics – with a slant towards Sarawak, of course. Members get all hot and bothered and threads extend into the hundreds when it comes to debating issues from ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ to ‘Najib’s scandals’ to ‘Adenan’s popularity’.

Other non-politically minded members try their best to contribute, from time to time, their posts about local history, culture, food, places to visit and so on, but these posts amount to less than 20 per cent of total postings.

Sadly, social media, instead of sharing the good things in life, has become a platform for people to sound off – and when they do that it’s usually about politics and bad news.

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