Wednesday, 11 September 2019

lost for words ii

"Guru kelas xx...sila sediakan fail pelajar xx utk urusan pemindahan sekolah"

This message flashed across the screen of my phone. It is a message from my school's clerk, prompting me to prepare the necessary documents required for a particular student from my class, whom is transferring school. And it is the girl from this case.

Scribbled this last night as I can't quite put what I'm feeling into words.

I feel...心酸啊 (direct translation = my heart is sour. It is an expression to express sadness...the kind of sadness where you feel rather sour on the inside. No, not the jealousy kind of sour. But the heart wrenching kind...not sure if you can get me).


Posting something on social media is like getting a tattoo - it is permanent. You might not be able to remove it for the rest of your life.

I remember watching an impactful Ted Talk that is now imprinted at the back of my head a few years back then. I can't find the video nor article, but let me share the gist of it:

Say you suddenly passed away today. (Hypothetical situation...don't freak out) And your social media accounts' (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) latest posting will be your Eulogy. What is on your Eulogy?

I remember scrolling around my feed and I was aghast. Nope, no way I want these to be read during my funeral. That was when I decided to change the settings of all my personal social media account to private, and did a bit of spring cleaning. I changed a lot of my old posts' sharing setting on Facebook to "Only Me" (After all, the Facebook frenzy started off when I was around 12/ of course there were plenty of silly postings that I'd rather keep to myself, and perhaps one day look back and laugh at it)

(and yes, I am aware that I am writing a blog, accessible by the public from all over the world)

An excerpt of a internet safety lesson I did early last month..
Technology is rapidly changing the way we live. 

Sometimes I wonder, how will my own kids judge me if they stumbled upon this blog, or my social media accounts, which contains my musings when I was much younger. It is pretty much like uncovering our parents' diaries or home videos! But thanks to the advent of technology, it is easier to dig up one's past. Evidences are harder to destroy too. You may be able to burn books to wipe off evidences, but once something goes online, it is close to impossible to clean the record.

Anyway, back to this case.

My girl, she is only 14 years old. And to be publicly humiliated at this tender age, where one's self esteem might already be low, must be tough. Being an adolescence is hard. There is the huge struggle of finding one's identity, trying to fit in to wherever, whenever. To be accepted by people. It is made even harder with the advent of social media, where news spread faster than wildfire. We are constantly being fed by "ideal" images of how one should be. I don't think I know how to be a teenager at this age. I don't think I will be able to fully understand what my girl is feeling now.

I remember hating myself a lot when I was 14. I was struggling with body image. The peer pressure was real. I don't have much photos of myself at that age because I simply hated the way I looked. I was shy. I was socially awkward. I didn't want to be part of gossips. So I concealed myself in my own imaginary shell when I was at that age, as it seems like the "fool-proof" way to steer my life away from dramas and gossips.

I really don't know how my girl is feeling now.


I did some probing with some other students and I found out that the picture was being shared and forwarded in Whatsapp and Telegram. Telegram is a shared cloud storage, ie it can be accessed, downloaded, reshared etc. etc. etc. easily by anyone who received it.

Honestly, there is not much I can do now. The tattoo has been imprinted all over.

I talked to the girl's mother yesterday, and she told me that the girl was "feeling ok".

One thing about feelings and emotions is we can never fully understand what one is feeling. I really don't know if she is really "feeling ok" or is going through a turmoil of emotions. 

But then again, what can I do now to make the situation better. I really don't know.

Transferring school might help her move on and get a fresh start. But then again, as much as I hope this will not happen, there's possibility that the news might spread to her new school, which is about 30km away. 

And this might even resurface several years down the road, when one is unsuspecting.


I really do hope the best for this girl. To be able to conjure the strength and move on. 


Anyway, to everyone who is reading this. Please don't play the blame card. What is done is done and we can't undo it.

But please, if you feel that something is amiss, or if you stumbled upon an inappropriate internet post, please do not share it. Always think thrice before you share something. Always.

Ask yourself if you're okay if it will be shared to someone else you don't know at all. Are you okay with it? No? Yes? Maybe? 

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