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The problem with generalization

Something happened today. I went on a Facebook purge. I deleted all the people whom I haven’t spoken to in more than 5 years, as well as all those that added me because we were acquaintances in high school or college.

You might say that I’m exaggerating the problem, but honestly, I’m only doing what’s best for me. Having all that negative energy coming at me every single time I open my social media had a toll on me, especially after the recent incident.

I don’t know if any of you have heard about it before, but it all started when an acquaintance of mine posted a link regarding the petition of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival. You might have heard about it, you might have not, but to keep it short, its a festival that involves thousands of dog killings in the most inhumane possible – by pouring hot water onto living dogs. I’ve seen posts like these on my Facebook all the time, but what I couldn’t accept was the generalization that she was making.

Her caption to the post was: “FUCKING CHINA SHOULD GO TO HELL. CHINA PEOPLE DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE. ”

Wow.

Do you feel what I felt? What I saw in that post?

I don’t usually comment on Facebook, unless it’s for someone that I’m really close to or for those who know me really well. But I just couldn’t help myself. I have friends from China. Those people have family. There are Chinese people who refuse to allow this kind of mindless killing was well.

How is it that you could generalize an act of a small population in china to all the citizens of China? That’s the same as thinking that all Muslims are terrorists just because ISIS is muslim, and that all Malaysians are terrorists because we’re a Muslim country.

Also, in what position are we in to criticize other people when we consume meat the same way as they do? Just because you’re ignorant about how our meat is being prepared, doesn’t mean that you’re not part of this terrible and cruel act as well.

So I commented: “to be fair, i don’t think you should generalize this to all the people of china. It only happens in small provinces and many Chinese citizens didn’t have any idea about this until recently. Also, I don’t think it is in our position to judge them from doing what they do. I understand that the way they are doing it is terrible, and that we have a strong bond with mammals – especially dogs, but the meat that we eat are prepared the same way. It’s just that we don’t see it because we keep it all hush hush where these people here are super obvious in what they are doing. Yes, its inhumane. Yes, its absolutely heart-wreaking, but what position are we in to say anything about this when we consume meat, use leather products, depriving animals from their natural habitat (palm oil plantations, rubber plantations, increasing road connections), contributing to global warming, etc. I think if anything, we ourselves have to change first before saying anything about other people.”

Personally, I thought it was fairly moderate – it was just me stating my opinion, but the backlash I got from it was just beyond what I expected. I had hate messages being sent to me, death threats, a really rude response telling me that I should fuck off because its her Facebook profile as well as other people who criticized me for thinking ‘I’m all that’ etc.

Maybe it didn’t get over to them with the meaning I intended it to have. Maybe it’s really offensive for some people. Maybe I’m just really rude and should just keep my opinions to myself. There were so many ways it could’ve gone, and there’s really no going back so what’s next?

I realized that in some way, our education system in Malaysia has really been successful. Our government has successfully dumbed down our people into ones who have no rational thinking, into people who refuse to give space and accept differing opinions, into narrow-minded individuals who just think on a one way street.

Is it because of the way I was brought up? Is it because of the exposure that I’ve been so lucky to have been exposed to? Is it because I’ve been taught to take everything on social media with a grain of salt? Is it because my family has taught me to look at everything from varying perspectives? Is it because I study biology?

I don’t know. But something that I know is that I refuse to have these people affect my state of mind and also that its time to have all these acquaintances whom I’ve never really spoke to gone from my networking sites. Rather than have people sending me death threats because I have a differing opinion, I’d rather be sane and alive doing what I believe in and am advocating for.

So what are your inputs? I know that perhaps my comment wasn’t the best way of delivering the message, but drop me a message or a comment if you had any similar experiences and let me know what you think should be done, be it in the individual level or higher in governmental levels. Do you agree with the generalization that my acquaintance did – ALL CHINESE PEOPLE SHOULD DIE?

One Comment

  1. being honest is cool, keep writing, its always nice to read genuine articles. and not many people has the balls to write what they think

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