Monday, February 13, 2012

The "patamaan" complex

When Facebook became popular in the Philippines, it changes the lives not most of Filipino youngsters, but also of the adults. Why not? It's a social networking site. Since man is a social being, even the shiest person can't get enough. In fact, there are some shy people I know who speaks out loud via this site. Friends, relatives, siblings that never saw each other for years were reunited. Thanks to Facebook.

Now, since this is a social networking site, it creates a community. Since it creates a community, it normally follows that societies are formed. However, with growing community comes conflict. Since you can't punch, slap here, the best thing a person can do is to write conflict escalating words. However, in order to avoid charges, a person will just write conflict escalating words that will hit a person. In Tagalog, it's "nagpaparinig" or in the Cavite, "nanghahamit". This phenomena also happens in Christians. Normally, this "patamaan" is common among teenagers, working single professionals, and newly married people.

Now, let me just give the rationale why is this phenomena happen. Facebook is a virtual community. Normally, with community, it follows that society is being made here, or societies. Having said that, it is normal in a society to have conflict (most, if not all, sociology books for beginners have "conflict" as one of the topics). The problem with this kind of community is that you can't grab the person doing the wrong deed due to variables like multiple accounts, account using false names, account is abroad. In other words, Facebook also created people who are cowards and don't have a sense of accountability (I encountered a few like that here). "Patamaan", "parinigan" are two conflict escalating tools.

This was not written to justify these conflict escalating tools, especially if Christians are doing that. In fact, I am totally against it. I find it irresponsible to certain extent to escalate conflict in this site, which you'll deny later on. After all, why avoid the blame when you escalated the conflict in the first place? Instead, the concern is because of this "patama" complex, serious writing and self expression are also suspected as "patama". Every decent blogger/writer wanted to be politically correct. Because of this, the bar for political correctness, in my opinion, is raised significantly to the point that you will not write anymore plainly because you might be accused of making "patama", especially if you're a Christian. Because of this, you are deemed as the argumentative type, or in Tagalog, "palaaway". Now, because of this, the "happy thoughts" and "no negative energy" mantra is injected. It is like we're warped back during the hippie days, only this time the LSD is the "happy thoughts" and "no negative energy". I'm not against happy thoughts and no negative energy by the way. However, to throw away serious writing and opinion writing by putting "happy thoughts" is plain bullish, sarcastic, or just plain bullying. After all, it is never wrong to be a serious, satirical writer, just like it is not wrong to put those "happy thoughts" and "no negative energy" write ups.

Here are just some basic guidelines for every Christians to live when writing:

1. When writing someone's name, make sure you're praising him (Proverbs 3:27)

2. If you have anything against a fellow Christian, don't put it on Facebook. (Matthew 18:15-18)

3. Respect the style of a Christian writer. It may be condescending and tactless at some point, but as long as he or she is not violating any netiquette, and as long as it is the deed not the doer, IT IS NOT CONSIDERED "NANGAAWAY". It is merely his or her writing style. No more, no less.

4. If the statement doesn't mention names (your name in particular) and yet the approach is somewhat "patama", don't feel guilty. If the person is really doing it (the "patama"), let that person rot in hatred or anger. After all, the person doing the deed didn't tell it straight to the point. So, the problem that was supposed to be imputed on his "target person" will become his.

5. If the statement is making "patama", don't be affected if you're not like that.

6. If the statement is conflict escalating, the best tool in this aspect is avoidance. You 'll end up a villain if you become confrontational. Exception to this though is when he already crossed the line between self expression and libel.

7. Avoid being a part of the troop doing or receiving the patama (if it is proven). If a person says that this person is this and that, sympathize, but never join the pack. Troop gathering and being part of the troop will make conflict escalate higher.

8. Written words will mostly hit. The Bible is a perfect example. In Tagalog, "may tatamaan talaga, sadya man o hindi". Hence, when it hit someone, just be responsible and accountable enough to explain or apologize (if needed).

Thank you very much for reading. :)

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