of Frisbee and Freedom of Speech

About a week prior to the Bersih 2.0, over breakfast, one of my colleagues asked me something in the line of:

“so in U.S they surely don’t have any demonstration rite?”

I wanted to say yes, but then give his question a thought for a moment.

“Well…actually no. You can say it happen every fortnight”

“About what?”

“Well…actually about almost everything under the sun.”

Back in the town where I study, there is a square located in between the university and the state administration building. It is basically a lawn with a fountain where people play frisbee and read story book during the summer. There is also a small stage for anyone to talk, to preach, and to say whatever they want. It’s like an outlet for them to apply their freedom of speech. [By stage I meant a very small square fit for 1-2 persons with 3 steps].

At first it was a very peculiar view to me. How someone had such a confidence to stand there and talk. But after a while living in U.S and realizing how American culture is, I find it is actually a normal view to see people demo and practice at that square. Some common and repeating themes are minimum wage, abortion, (someone even asked me whether I’m pro- life or pro-choice and I’m like… “errr…..” hehehe…), sweat shop (okay I was so ignorant I didn’t know what this meant at that time), domestic violence, and homosexual rights. Well, like I said, they talked about everything under the planet.

I find such environment is much contradicted to my home place, where people are more quiet and reserve. I guess the education system does play a role in it. Here, majority of the students generally just keep quiet with their heads down at the end of the lecture when the professor asks “Anyone have any question?”

Meanwhile in U.S, I saw students raised their hands to ask questions even at the beginning of the class. In some classes, students can’t stop giving opinions until the end of the class…[I experienced this in my Ethic 341 Contemporary Moral Issues]. So I guess there is nothing peculiar about standing in the middle of that square if you want to be heard as long as you do it in peace.

So when the next day the newspaper reported about suggestion from the government for the Bersih 2.0 demo to be held at a stadium, I thought oh wow…looks like they are talking something like the ‘square’ idea I mentioned earlier over breakfast.

Anyway, this story is out-dated. You guys know how it ends;).

By the way, now that I’m a mummy, how do you think we should change our education system so that students speak out more?

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