Wed, 24 Jul 1996

On criticizing others

A lot of letters are published as "Name and address known to the editor". It is said that praise should be behind the back and criticism in front of the person. The reason for this could be that if you praise someone behind the back, it would definitely reach the person in a reduced or exaggerated tone. Either way the praised is happy that someone has a good opinion of him/her and that a number of people are aware of it.

In the case of criticism, if it is done behind the back the same may reach the person in an exaggerated manner. Furthermore, criticism behind the back does not allow the criticized to answer his critic. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but the critic should give the criticized an opportunity to explain his view point.

People should be allowed to express their views and at the same time have the courage to face objections. In my opinion that should be the aim of the "Your Letters" column.

An anonymous author either makes it known to the readers that he himself is not convinced that the readers will agree with his views or knows fully well that what he is doing is criticism just for the sake of criticism.

The anonymous author of the July 16 letter Tedious, uninspired and tiresome said that certain writers are monopolizing the letter column. He forgets that the writers do not have the right to dictate to the editor to publish whatever is written. They expressed their views on certain matters with a view to share the same with the readers. The editor would not have published them had he felt that the letters were not good enough for publication or if he felt the standard of the paper would be affected by publishing the letters.

How can the "anonymous" writer accuse certain writers of monopolizing certain columns of the paper? If one does not like what is published, one can write to the editor to say that the standards of the paper are deteriorating due to the publication of certain writers. Also, it would be better if anonymous writers specifically mentioned what they do not like in these articles and letters. After all it is not necessary that one agree with all that is written.

I for one feel that anonymity is to be condemned. It is nothing short of cowardice. The one exception is when someone does something good for the community and does not want publicity.


Bekasi, West Java