Mock

Have you heard of smart-shaming? This Holy Tuesday, let us reflect on how we treat others.

“Ikaw na magaling!” and “Edi wow!” was a popular catch phrase among young people.

These are just some of the common Filipino responses when someone gives too much information specially in casual conversations.

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Do you have a friend who respond with “Ang lalim oh!” to people who give deep insights on on-going conversation?

Or respond with a “Dami nitong alam!” to people who give interesting information while getting engaged in a conversation?

What supposed to be just a casual exchange of ideas suddenly turns into one party getting shamed because of providing insights, opinions, beliefs and interesting facts.

A fellow blogger Cynthia Ap shared why should someone be stigmatized for thinking differently? Or for being more perceptive or well-informed? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t stupidity, ignorance and stubborn rejection of new ideas be frowned upon instead?

She added that Filipinos live in a world encompassed by love for ignorance. We celebrate mediocrity and lack of insight like they are grand things to be proud of. I have often told my non-Filipino friends, “Filipinos are genuinely warm and friendly but most are not very bright.”

Some of you might take offense but take a look around you. What does the common Filipino watch on TV?

What does the common Filipino post on social media?

What does he talk about in social gatherings?

What does the common Filipino read?

How many of us even read?

Take time to reflect on those questions.

Now, when someone navigates from these ordinariness, we look at his deviation in a negative light. That instead of encouraging him to continue his pursuit of knowledge and his sharing of new ideas on social media or in real conversations, we shame him with responses like, “Eh di wow. Ikaw na ang matalino.”, “Wow! Talino! Sorry ha, bobo lang kasi ako.”

Faced with such comebacks, one can no longer continue with the conversation. What else was one supposed to say? It is the same when a religious person tells you, “Because God said so” which can be translated to, “I don’t want to think anymore.” What else can be said?

Why? Why must we have this mentality?

Is it because we equate being smart with arrogance? Do we find their intelligence offensive in some way, especially when they show it?

She emphasised that what most Filipinos do is, since they are too lazy to widen their knowledge either in theory or in practice, they’ll discredit those who do.

Instead of being curious, they will attack those who are. This is sad and embarrassing at the same time.

Smart-shaming is an effect of anti-intellectualism where people mistrust intellects and intellectual pursuits.

Isaac Asimov once said: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

People who present a different way of thinking, and are perceived as a danger to normality are considered as outsiders with a little empathy to the rest of the population.

Hence, the birth of the idea that people who have a contradicting point of view are considered as elitists, arrogant, matapobre (anti-poor), and aloof.

One of the countries who values high-quality education among its people is the Philippines but ironically has an alarming increase rate of “smart-shaming.”

Why is this so? Filipino are not aware that smart-shaming is actually happening around us.

Smart-shaming continuously increase and happens every day due to lack of awareness among the public.

Sadly, the act of mocking smarter people than us is becoming a norm.

Whatever rationale or personal reasons people have behind it, smart-shaming has to be stopped.

Smart-shaming stops a person from pursuing intellectual growth fearing they might be mocked because of it. Knowledge and intelligence is power and people should not be teased because of the knowledge they have gained and learned.

Acknowledging their achievements will encourage not only the person to quench his/her thirst for knowledge but also would encourage others to be smarter.

Nowadays, information is readily available by just clicking on buttons in your computer screen. I personally cannot see why people stop learning when we have all the means to gather information. Life is, after all, a continuous process of learning.

As much as it stops intellectual growth, it also hinders people to express themselves freely.

Because of the fear that people will mock someone when their views and opinions opposes the other party, people tend to “just not talk”.

This causes a lot of great ideas and interesting opinions to be kept and slowly be forgotten.

The fear of being dubbed as a know-it-all hunt everyone.

But bear in mind it is better to be a know-it-all than to know nothing at all.

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