by Brad Bowyer
The wisdom of the crowd and the court of public opinion used to be the main arbiter of Justice in our lives. The authorities were the last place we went to.
We had ethics, we had morals and a society where everyone was aware of their place in a community and respected each other.
And if we did ever go to the authorities, we had a sense they were fair and just and were an example to aspire to.
In short, we had a Kampong Spirit and a functioning society.
What do we have now?
Many negative issues have been brought up by the Monica Baey case but there were some signs that the people are finally waking.
First, Monica had to go to the court of public opinion because the “Authorities” systems had failed her. This will happen more and more when an even application of Justice is no longer available but at least she was bold enough and had the moral courage to take this step and should be lauded for it.
Second, people started to self-correct. There were initial overreactions against the perpetrator but the wisdom of the crowd, in the end, was balanced. Yes, the young man must face justice but its also must not be excessive but fit the crime. We seemed to get there in the end.
These were the more positive elements, however, there were negatives too.
The early overreaction and baying for blood, which we saw in this and other recent public outrage cases, are often fuelled by frustrations and anger and a sense of injustice and so rational reaction gets pushed aside to satisfy raw emotion. As we continue to see the system failing us this will only get worse unless we deal with it.
We also shockingly found out that 26 similar cases had happened in the last 3 years, 26!
What has happened to our young men that they feel it is okay to violate a woman’s privacy and the modesty or worse?
This would never have happened in the Kampong, well at least not more than once before it was made clear to all that this is not acceptable behaviour and there was a high price to be paid.
Why now do many feel they can do what they like? Especially if they belong to a certain group or groups.
Whether its privilege by wealth, privilege by connections, privilege by employment, privilege by education or privilege by institution one belongs too it seems we are generating a segment of society that feels it no longer must respect those around them but places themselves above the rest and can do what it wants.
This is the effect of the elitism of all kinds.
Disassociation from society made worse in a global culture of self and instant gratification and having limited positive role models to emulate. It is becoming every person for themselves.
It is so pervasive that even those without privilege now get infected by its worse elements as a balanced giving society breaks down and a taking selfish one takes over.
It is hard for the younger ones as they never had the Kampong experience to guide them, but it is heartening that they are naturally starting to see our society is getting lost and are prepared to do something about it.
If the older among us with experience and wisdom can share with the younger ones with heart and an innate sense of right and wrong not yet fully suppressed, then maybe we can revive the Kampong spirit and return morality and ethics to our daily and national lives.
This could also be part of why Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) is being driven, to slow the public awakening and sharing in the face of a system that is failing them.
The authorities would rather suppress the hard truths than take the step of accepting failings and putting them right because our broken society sadly still serves those at the top of the heap.
I hope many young people can take Monica’s lead and turn up at Hong Lim Park this Sunday to add their voice and opinion so that all generations can share as we the people start to wake and demand better of our government and not worse.
This was first published on Brad Bowyer’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.