This topic had been on my mind for quite some time. Recent events in EC prompted me to finally take a deep breath and write this.
EC Members who came to "know" me through chats, blogs and comments will realise that I tried to put things in more light and humourous ways. I tried my best not to take things too seriously in this virtual world.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined a very powerful phrase in his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy, 1839: "The pen is mightier than the sword". Though in EC world; the virtual world, we do not use pen to convey our thoughts and feelings, I believed the phrase still hold. Yes, in our virtual world, our keyboard is mightier than the sword. What ever words that we type can cut deep enough that sometimes some careless words leave a member angry and hurt.
I've lost a few friends in EC through the years because of words uttered in the chat room. I even left EC a few years back when it was no longer conducive to chat. Recently, my previous ESL virtual friend came back to EC. She left a message in our ESL message board group that she had re-joined EC. Most of our ESL friends were surprised to know she and I had re-joined and maybe questioning our sanity. They had left EC for various reasons and see no reasons to come back.
However, various things had been happening in the main room that make me ponder; again. I tried my hardest not to get involve with any arguments, even though I must admitted that once I saw red when a chatter started degrading women in general. When I started to argue, he laughingly said, something like "But Noas, I'm not like this in real life". That made me madder which I knew I should just ignored him, but I can't. What does he meant when he said he was not like that in real life? Does he meant he became a MCP (Male chauvinist pig, I'm sorry for putting this term in here) when ever he sat behind his laptop and chatted with us? Does he meant he became "braver" in putting his thoughts and views when he sat on that chair? Does he adorn another "persona" whenever he sit on that chair and became Dr. Jekyll and Hyde?
We know that subjects about politics and religions seemed to the "favourite" topics to some people. But it seemed most of them cannot talk rationally. They can't exchanged views and ideas without having to resort to name callings and insulting other people's believes and religions. Why can't they understand that EC Chat Room is an international forum with people from all walks of life with different views, cultures, and religions? Why can't they put into their thick heads that they can't force their views, cultures and religions to other people? Why can't they go to their own local chat room then if they can't talk rationally with other people who has different views from them? But, I am sure even if they talk in their own local chat room, they will find faults with others for not agreeing with their views. Don't they realised that when they pointed one finger to others, the other four fingers were pointing back at them?
Recently, my faith was put into question when I said I did not put my real name in Chat Room and it is common that most people did not put their real names in the Chat Room for their own protection. I was shocked when my faith was being question for simply not putting my real name in here. I tried not to take slight on that matter, but there are a few things that I hold dear in my life, and one of them is my faith. And it really hurts when some stranger said that to your face without even know anything about you.
I firmly believed that I learnt a lot from EC and the Chat Room especially from all the English Teachers and native English speakers. No matter how trivial or silly my questions were, they will try their hardest to help me. I believed I made fewer mistakes in English grammar with their help. But nowadays, I prefer to keep silent in the Chat Room and only talk to certain people. Am I being to overly sensitive? Maybe YES. Some of you may say, "Then why don't you leave the Chat Room? Is it worth reading and watching the arguments, insults and name callings? Is it worth to be questioned about your faith just because you choose not to put your name and photo in the Chat Room?"
At the moment, I will bravely and firmly can say, EC Chat Room is worthy for me to face all that. My EC friends and EC esteem English Teachers make me want to come back again and again. Friendships that I make through chats, blogs and forums make the other distractions trivial. But how long this feelings will last? The keyboard/pen is really mightier than a sword. It can cut deep enough that it make me ponder really hard and take stock.