EASY TO GRAB ATTENTION: Their exhibitionism underscores the extent of moral decay among youth
EXHIBITIONISM, according to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, is characterised by a compulsion to display one's private parts to strangers.
This is presumably what the two young people in the news the past few weeks is afflicted with. But not everyone thinks so, least of all the two protagonists -- Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee -- who recently put up a joint blog featuring explicit photographs of their sexual exploits.
Their misplaced bravado definitely caught public attention, and not just within the country, too. It sparked a maelstrom of controversy, exactly what Tan and Lee had hoped for, and catapulted them to heights of infamy surpassing even that previously enjoyed by striptease queen Rose Chan.
Tan and Lee, both Malaysians, have since continued to be bizarrely nonchalant, even strangely proud of what they did. They will do it again, they proclaim. It's as if they were talking about baking a batch of muffins, not airing their own.
Curiously, however, some have stepped forward in cyberspace to defend the duo. They claim it is their right to do what they want. Those who object, they point out, are closeted katak di bawah tempurung, conservative and narrow-minded.
"I do not mind because they are not spamming others to view their explicit pictures and videos. It is one's free will to view them," said one.
"It's just the way kids are these days," "It seems those two are happy with what they're doing. So, let them," tweeted others. And: "Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, hats off!"
So yes, they should just be allowed to make their private bits public, according to these commentators at least. Freedom of expression and association, and all that.
The advent of blogs, Facebook, YouTube and other Internet sharing sites, too, has made it possible and easier for exhibitionists and narcissists to grab attention in their quest for global domination.
All they need to do to gain instant fame is to do something outrageous, gallop around astride an imaginary horse, or flash some flesh. No longer do we have to achieve something monumental and significant, or risk our lives leaping off a capsule from the edge of space.
But while technology may have made all things previously impossible possible, it certainly does not make what's unacceptable acceptable.
What constitutes right and wrong may be subjective, but what Tan and Lee did cannot plausibly be construed as appropriate. What would differentiate humans from the pygmy chimpanzees of Central Africa then?
What's more disgraceful about what they did was that they subjected their families to humiliation and ridicule.
We are not short of cases involving thoughtless, selfish children these days. The many young Malaysian girls who run away from home to be with their boyfriends, or elope to Lombok to marry Indonesian men are among them.
Another recent case involved a former medical student who left his parents in the lurch when he married someone of the same gender abroad when on the run from a study sponsor.
Adult children such as Tan and Lee, and all the aforementioned, may shrug off what they did as no big deal, but it's never okay to subject our loved ones to public derision.
What gives with the youth of today? Asian and indeed Malaysian youngsters are fast catching up with their Western counterparts and getting involved in all manner of social ills. Experts have pored over the cases and forwarded their theories and research findings. Some say it is due to:
EARLY exposure to computers and television. Children are exposed to sexually explicit music videos and lyrics, and all manner of unsuitable programmes, and inappropriate language from the very day they were thrust in front of a television or computer screen. Even teen idols can no longer be counted on to provide age-appropriate entertainment; and
SOCIAL media platforms -- they are tools that promote anti-social behaviour, including narcissism, which is defined as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance".
Or perhaps the extent of moral decay we are seeing now is a sign of the Armageddon, as the Mayans have predicted all those centuries ago. There's just 48 days to Dec 12, after all.