Fri, 12 May 2000

Fighting sex on TV

I'm referring to Harry Rachmad's letter Sex on TV bad for nation's youth in The Jakarta Post on May 7, 2000. I heard a saying years ago that people who are school teachers never really left school. There must be some relevance in this, because in reading his letter I see a man that is somewhat ignorant to the ways of today's society, not wanting or willing to understand it, as he should; being a teacher and part of the education system. We cannot complain and shield our eyes from what is reality, so we should try to understand it and use it as a sample in our teachings. To the younger generation, what is seen on TV these days is far from avoidable, unless it is really damning to our society, enough to create a tidal wave among its people before change can be met.

Mr. Rachmad claims to be a teacher and I presume a reasonably good one having advertised that, then why doesn't he use his expertise to his advantage and use what he sees on TV as a tool for his teachings? Because in this day and age the realities of life and our society can't always be hidden, instead we can protect by our ways of teaching and attitude. Maybe make a comparison between a good program and a bad program, analyze it. Frowning upon various topics on TV and trying to hide them only entices the students to see it; it is better to understand it and evaluate it.

In my eyes, the reality of seeing a weird-looking student on a TV program embracing another student wearing her uniform tidily gives me a good example of nondiscrimination. As God sees all people as equal and individual. As the saying goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Perhaps Mr. Rachmad does not see it the same as I, but it certainly beats the system by using the television programs as a source for workshop exercises in class. Denying the reality of life as it really is around us is denying the students a true education. Whether we like it or not, what we try to hide only becomes a controversial matter for them to want to uncover and understand by themselves, so it is better we don't hide from them, but guide them to see and understand.

When I was a child, my mother stopped me from watching certain movies at night and gave me restrictions in life in general, with explanations that made me rebellious rather than seeing. She was trying to protect me and make me a better person. My comment is, if we are to create a strategy for the younger generation that leads them on the right path in life, we must let them see life as it is and present them with evaluations, reasons, beliefs and anything else in an environment where the students and teachers can discuss openly. Like a workshop study situation. But to cover and hide all the flaws in life (or what we see as flaws) is not giving them an education and not helping them to grow.

Why doesn't Mr. Rachmad try to create a program at his school that uses what he sees as "sex on TV", promiscuity or the like as his software for a classroom workshop study? Looking reality in the eye, programs with their blaze and openness will get worse before it gets better. This is where Mr. Rachmad can put his talent as a teacher into practice and beat the system. Why don't you try, Sir?

Please accept my apologies if by chance I have offended Mr. Rachmad, that was not intended.