That someone liked my comment on someone’s Facebook status was cause for disconcertion.  It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t know the fellow who pressed the like button (he’s a friend of a friend though) as much as my comment was not something to “like”. It wasn’t like a wish for Robert Pattinson to materialise in my classroom. In fact, they were words of comfort to the person whose grandmother and father were gravely ill (his grandmother, sadly, passed away a couple of hours later). I was perplexed at what he found to “like”. I would have understood the reason for the thumbs up if he had written that my comment was well phrased, but he didn’t.

Another Facebook comment had me roiling not only in confusion but annoyance. This time it was by a student who wrote he wanted to die, and two of his daft Facebook friends clicked on the like button. Naturally, I commented by berating the two who pressed the like button, asking them what was to like about someone wishing to die. They pressed unlike after a few minutes.

The third disturbing Facebook status was related to me by a friend. Someone had posted insanely about praying for a tsunami to hit the Visayas island so that all its inhabitants would be eliminated thus lowering the number of, if not eliminating, the “kitsch residents”. And she didn’t stop there despite the numerous comments from Visayans. She kept at it with an equally insane comment, telling the people to pray for the tsunami to come another day. The last I heard was she hadn’t been active in Facebook for some time now.

In this age of Facebook (and Twitter), it’s alarming that the level of comprehension has gone down, if not completely gone out the window. A simple of instruction, for example, to students such as hand in your assignment on a given day is met with a lot of excuses ranging from “I had fever the night I was doing the homework” to “I forgot”. It’s completely infuriating to hear reasons that are not cogent. Doesn’t anyone understand anymore that a deadline is a deadline?

A galling scenario that really gets on my nerves is when, after missing the deadline, they dare to bargain with you, declaring with aplomb that they’d wholeheartedly suffer the consequence of a point-deduction. This situation would send me right through the roof, feeling completely insulted by the temerity of this potential young con artist to suggest such an agreement. To add insult to injury, they’d turn the tables around and make me look like an autocrat if I didn’t concede to the negotiation. I repeat: a deadline is a deadline – comprende?

Whether it’s a one-liner or more that is written on Facebook or Twitter, there is no excuse for comprehension to lapse. Or is there? Freedom of expression is not an excuse to write/shout out gibberish, racial taunts or insensitive comments. Au contraire, it’s a heavy responsibility to practice the freedom of expression because you carry with you your family’s name and honour, intelligence and viewpoint of the world. You need to be consistent with your views and be able to defend them to the end. You can’t be wishy-washy with your scruples, changing them every so often for convenience and expediency or flippant. You must take a stand on issues and not fall back on the lame excuse of miscommunication or fallibility of the humans.

My parents constantly drummed into my sister and I that we must be careful with the things that we say and, of course, with the words that we choose to use. Simply put, we had to know how to speak out, when to speak out and not to speak out. We had to be able to comprehend what was said and what was not said. I abide by my parents’ wisdom to this day because I fully understood what they said. But some people take the art of comprehension too lightly and end up ticking off a miscomprehension as miscommunication or, worse, something laughable.

One, I suppose, can be forgiving towards students who are, after all, being taught the right and wrong ways to comprehend words, situations and actions. But I say that adults are different. They should be able to discern what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and not acceptable. There really is no excuse for an adult to have a Bill Clinton moment, suffering from a momentary lapse of judgment.

Again, what is likable about hearing about people falling ill? Or someone wishing to die? Or wishing a lot of people to perish in a tsunami?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by thejellyfarm on February 19, 2012 at 2:06 am

    I had a similar problem the other day with my students as well, so I had a pep talk with them. For the last 3 weeks of the semester, they failed to hand their assignments on time. So this is what I said “”hey guys, you’re not only wasting your parent’s money, but your time and my time in this class. if you came to me for a job right now, i can safely say none of you would be hired. If you fail this class, you cannot move on to the second year class plus DIGIPEN would kick you out if you fail to maintain at least a 2.8/3 CGPA. and all because you can’t even honour a simple assignment deadline. when i say monday, i MEAN monday. Capiche? Not tuesday, tuesday night or wednesday morning. From now on, anyone who fails to submit their assignments in on time, remember this; ZERO….” LOL! I drew a lot of serious faces last week but yea, let’s see how they do the coming weeks.


    • Posted by rgarcellano on February 19, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Good for you! The students nowadays think they can get away with anything and that they have the right to be given chances. What is the point of being in school if you won’t do the work? Some are deluded in their thinking that they will have skills the moment they get into the real world and with real jobs. They’re in a stage of denial, thinking that the world will stop for them and their “talent”. What talent? What skill? It all begins with attitude, which they don’t have. Oh, am sure others are griping and moaning and bitching but there will be some who would have had an epiphany that you’re not someone to lock horns with. Let’s see. 😉


  2. Posted by ako_si_aoi on February 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    like! 😀


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