On the early morning of 1st January of 2012, Malaysians were awakened with the news of UPSI students demonstrating on the eve of the new year. Pictures of “brutality” that were rapidly circulating on the internet has once again provoked the public’s perception towards the Malaysian police force and the government.
Looking at this scenario, I believe that the trend of public protests or public gatherings that bear a common objective is here to stay. If we reflect on the occurrences all over the world in 2011, massive gatherings have become a global social phenomenon. The most highlighted by the Western media is the uprising in the Arab countries such as Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Jordan. However, public protests did not only take place in the Middle East but also in the Americas, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.
The protests were embroiled with sentiments of dissatisfaction. People have been mobilized to the streets in angst towards the government on matters of perpetual oppression, economic survival, demand for better governance and human rights. Civilians believe that public rallies are the only way to make themselves heard by their government and the world. However, most rallies come with unwanted collateral damage. Hence, the police and army were deployed by the government to do what they have pledged to do which is to maintain public order and security. Whenever any protester gets hurt, the government and their deployed agents are likely to bear public condemnation.
These colossal public rallies, gatherings or riots are possible because of technological communication mediums. Decades ago, the printing press, radio and television were significant agents of propaganda to spark the spirit of nationalism. Today, the instant spread of information through the internet social networks such as Facebook and Twitter lead to a downfall of a veteran dictator.
The question is that will this trend threaten the world order? Will it vindicate Hobbes’ assumption of the true nature of man?
It is feared that this pattern of social phenomenon will exacerbate the global economy. Any attempt by the government to improve the people’s state of living will only remain futile if social and political order is not kept in tact.
Even though the internet has become a revolutionary platform of interconnectivity, it has also become a great danger to mankind itself. Just like a drug, it is addictive and a source of delirium but being hooked to it would be suicidal. The cyberspace ultimately needs a set of laws of its own in order to control and manage the way people are using the internet. It does not only need the formulation of laws but also requires effective enforcement upon its users. Currently the internet is like a maturing beast unleashed from its period of hibernation. Society has grown accustomed to its existence and have become more creative on knowing what it can really do; It yields them POWER.
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