Caprice has been campaigning against anti-bullying for the past few years in our country
Imagine this: You’re sipping coffee comfortably at home while scrolling through Facebook and find a post that recently went viral. You click on the comments section and just by reading the first few ones, you've just spat out your drink and made a mess. You look at it with disbelief as you can’t believe how mean and vile the comments are. On the other end, a girl is lying at home, on her bed, feeling restless and depressed. Her photos went viral overnight just because some people did not like the way she looked and dressed. The next day, the news of her suicide went worldwide. Well guess what? It’s no longer a scene in your imagination. It IS happening in real life.
This case was similar to Zoe Johnson who was cyber bullied to death in 2015. She was only 13 years old. One person even had the audacity to leave a comment on her Facebook page saying “good ur gone” after her death.
Celebrities also have their fair share of being cyber bullied. Recently Wentworth Miller spoke out after being cyber bullied about his physical appearance. His Facebook post which has been shared over 300,000 times and has 901,000 likes (at the date of post) garnered positive feedbacks and support for him from all over the world. The Prison Break star opened up about his struggles and depression which he was suffering from since 2010.
In Malaysia, cyber bullying is not something new to us. It is reported that cyber bullying cases were up by 55.6% in 2013 and we might expect some increase in the numbers soon. Some people may not realize it is a big issue in our country or some may even think of it dismissively. You know, the nation’s iconic “takpe lah, takde apa pun” attitude. It’s time to wake up Malaysia; we might not realize this but each day, someone, somewhere in Malaysia gets cyber bullied. One such person is Arlina Banana, a 24 year-old entrepreneur who’s willing to share her experience on cyber bullying.
“I get cyber bullied on a daily basis. There would be about 10 people on average taunting me about my physical appearance every day via Twitter. Some of the things they said to me really went out of line like wanting to splash acid on my face, looking forward to watching (and sharing) a video of me being raped and even creating a WhatsApp group to bash me in hopes I’d delete my social media accounts.”
On dealing with cyber bullies…
“To be honest, I was taken aback when it all first started out. It hurt me a lot and even caused me depression. But now, I just tend to ignore them. I will only take some measures if it is life-threatening. It still hurts sometimes but it gets better. Time really heals somehow.”
Her thoughts on keyboard warriors…
"You are given one chance to live. So why are you devoting your time to hate and bring down others? If you constantly feel like you need to hurt others, please see a psychiatrist. You might be a psychopath."
Advice for those who are experiencing cyber bullying…
“Just mute or block that person. If that person is still lurking around after you block them…then it’s no longer your problem. That person is the problem. Always remind yourself that if you’re constantly being bothered by something petty, you are not occupying your mind with something that is far more important. Focus on building your life, not those who are trying to ruin your life.”
Arlina has bravely tackled cyber bullies for the past year by tweeting daily motivational words to her followers. She has also published her debut book, titled Pujuk which is a compilation of motivational words and personal thoughts on various life experiences. Another person that is no stranger to advocating anti-bullying is Ariz Ramli or famously known as Caprice, who has also been actively engaging with his followers to promote his “Bullying Stops Now” campaign via multiple social media platforms.
“Cyber bullying is even more dangerous than physical bullying because anyone could be anybody online. Someone could leave a comment anonymously and the victim may not know how to react because they do not know who are they dealing with which in the end causes the victim some emotional build up that’ll eventually trigger some distress”.
Caprice has been actively campaigning through his talks to schools and colleges all over Malaysia for the past four years since he debuted his song ‘Watlek Watpeace’ which means “buat relax, buat peace”. He uses his music as a platform to spread anti-bullying messages and also to help encourage a healthier environment and culture in schools. He has been called several times to act as a ‘mediator’ in schools or just to lend a listening ear for victims who do not know to whom they should turn to.
“I've been doing this for quite some time so I always get first-hand stories from the victims. Some of the stories are really heart-breaking. That is why we need to tackle this issue, we need to step up on do our part. Are we going to be the person that encourages the bully, the person that acts like a bystander or the person that makes a change by intervening?”
On educating the public…
“Apart from addressing the victims, I'm trying to educate the public on how to stop this nonsense (cyber bullying). To me, cyber bullying is a form of mental illness. This culture of kutuk-kutuk, ejek-ejek and menghina orang is a vicious life cycle. It starts from school, goes on to college and carries on to the working world whereby people write up posts in blogs or make up gossips which is really unhealthy. If you think about it, this culture is against our religion but we tend to take this issue so lightly. As we know, there is a saying that fitnah (slander) is worse than killing someone.
Therefore, it is important to educate the public on the repercussions of their actions.”
“I realize that if I keep helping the victim but not addressing the core issue which is the bullies, then I'm fighting a losing cause. I'm just reacting to the bullies.”
Doing it for passion…
"I do this because I love it; it has no financial benefit to me. I feel like I had to contribute something to the society before I’m gone. I see myself as the UN to the kids."
Cyber bullying is a serious matter that needs to be acknowledged and handled pro actively. As a society, we need to work hand-in-hand to curb this issue. It shouldn't be taken lightly as a lot of victims are suffering in silent as we speak. There may not be a cure for this ‘disease’ but there are various ways on how we can deal with it. If you know someone who is being cyber-bullied or if you are a victim of it, please reach out to someone you trust to confide and seek for help. Alternatively, you could contact Befrienders Malaysia at 03-79568144/03-79568145 or The Mind Faculty at 03 62030359/03 62030733. It’s time we make a change and speak up for those who have been victimized from this growing cancer in our virtual society.