Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Of Goops and the Silent Mode Bill

A humorist named Gelette Burgess created a book series called “Goops” that  circulated in the US for around 50 years. Since the publication of the first ever Goops book in 1900, it became well-known for it taught children the importance of polite behavior and good manners. In short, it was a comic book on etiquette targeting children as its readers. There are also bunch of political Goops in our  broadcast industry here in Occidental Mindoro but since you are sick of that reality already, I’ll fasten momentarily my lips on the topic.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the one who has the nosiest mouth in the Senate (and in every given venue and forum), filed Senate Bill 3384 otherwise known as (please don’t laugh and say “You First” to the lady solon!) “Silent Mode Act”.  Said bill seeks to penalize cellular phone users, among other  electronic devices, in cinemas, concert halls and other venues of public performances. Santiago by way of justifying his proposed bill said, “Jurisprudence has consistently upheld the government's right to impose restraints which regulate the time, place and manner of expression in public places." In its explanatory note she added: "It is time to establish a law with corresponding penalties to marshal rude gadget users and allow other patrons to fully appreciate and enjoy the performance”.

Under the bill, theater owners and employees will be responsible for reminding the audience to keep their phones silent, and to escort violators out of the venue. People who can't help but answer calls must, "leave the theater and move to an area where they cannot be heard," the bill states. Not only that. Violators are going to fine P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second, and P3,000 for the third.

I keep my old MyPhone B88+ Plus Duo inside my pocket always set in silent mode while the vibrator is turned on. This way, nobody is distracted while I and my co-workers are in the middle of something. I am also puzzled why many people consider sitting off-line for just a couple of hours as a matter of life and death nowadays. Aside from entertainment venues, some people are emotionally or concentration-wise attached to their CPs even inside Churches in the middle of the Holy Mass. For them, incessantly cyber surfing, texting, and networking seem to be more urgent than basic public etiquette, if not more important than the sanctity of said central act of worship among us Catholics.

But the core of the problem is this: We, the modern man, have different ideas of what is tasteful, acceptable and "normal". To add, human beings have many different ideas of what is right and wrong. Thus civil or public etiquette serves as general rules or guidelines so that we could get along and peacefully co-exist in this rumbled (or scrambled) realm of mixed “nuts” and ideas. Perhaps that's why people like Emily Post came into existence.

Yahoo! Contributor e.s. Jones wrote in an article I just stumbled upon, “The rule here is, when in public, try to behave in ways that most would construe as empathetic towards the feelings of others.” The writer added, “Pretty simple really, but quite often ignored”. Let us all be reminded, “When in public, try to keep in mind that others might not be as enthusiastic as you are with the noise you're generating. This includes yelling or speaking loudly, arguing, laughing over exuberantly, talking on your cell phone and playing music. While it's true we do all have the right to do these things, it doesn't really mean that you should ignore the peace of others. Anything that disturbs the ambience of a particular public place would generally be considered outside what is the right thing to do”. So, to cut this discussion short, I support Santiago’s “Silent Mode Act”. Let me add too that attending to your CP or any other gadgets when people are very much aware of your presence is a grave sign of disrespect. Something that I myself, is always guilty of. If enacted into law, Santiago's bill would best serve as a reminder for all of us how to use our CPs and gadgets civilly. 

By the way, in Gelette Burgess’ “Goops and How to Be Them”, wrote something like this:

“If you gentle when you play,
You would be glad of it someday!”

This reminds me of an old goop named Johnny when he and Miriam had unpleasant and childish exchanges over cash gifts and biscuits last Christmas season…

(Photo: Todosabongga)

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