Social Media and Online Bullying
30,532 Likes as of this writing and still climbing… and I’m not referring to a celebrity’s fan page but to a common Filipino citizen by the name of Christopher Lao. Why? If you watched the news that faithful day of August 3 about a guy who drove through waist deep flood waters along Mother Ignacia street in Quezon City you would know what I am talking about.
Honestly when I watched the news that night I really felt bad for the guy. People on Facebook (yes someone created a Fan Page for him) and Twitter (where his name was even part of the trending topic worldwide) have been bashing away saying that he’s so “BOBO” (Stupid) and that he shouldn’t put the blame on the government particularly MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) for his unfortunate situation.
First, he has a point when he said that there was no warning sign or the road was not blocked when it is already considered unsafe due to the rising flood. This should be a wake-up call to the people who are responsible with the safety of our motorist to at least listen to what this man was saying. Yes I laugh when I saw it but isn’t it also true that MMDA should be on top of situations like this? Would it be so hard to put signs or at least have someone there warn motorists? I’m a driver too and I know how hard it is to drive when it’s raining so hard that you can’t even see even what’s in front of you. I tried to put myself in his shoes and I must admit I might even commit the same mistake he did.
I did a bit of research on this guy and aparently he is a Summa cum Laude graduate of BA Philosophy from UP, with an average of 1.169. Apparently he is also taking-up Law at the State University. How’s that for a shocker? Let’s not judge people with just one stupid mistake that he / she did. Can you honestly says that you never made a fool of yourself even once in your life? He’s not so different from anyone of us. It’s just unfortunate that it was captured on cam for everyone to see. By the way from what I know this video clip was already aired in the afternoon. Why air it again in the evening news? And did you see how the reporter reacted? Definitely very unbecoming of someone who promotes equality. The media shouldn’t have aired this knowing that it could ruin someone’s life. Yes we will forget about it after a few days or even tomorrow but will Mr. Lao forget? Those who bashed and said those unkind words to Mr. Lao are you happy now? Do you even know him personally to judge him and ridicule him like that?
Later that day UP Dean, Marvic Leonen, posted this message on his Facebook Wall:
“You may be amused by the mistakes or misfortunes of others. But, this does not entitle you to degrade their entire character or make conclusions about their whole person. Christopher Lao does not deserve the treatment he is getting from others in facebook and twitter. And yes, he is from UP College of Law and we are still proud of him.”
Howie Severino, editor-in-chief of GMA News Online, issued this statement:
“Mr. Lao was already victimized by the flood and a lack of warnings. He shouldn’t be victimized again. Many of us could have been in his situation. We are urging the public to stop the insults, as this has become a case of cyber bullying. We regret that our video, which was meant to provide a lesson for all motorists, was used in any way to make fun of another person.”