ROTARY OF PERTH PRESIDENT ELECT’S UPDATE - 19TH SEPTEMBER 2017

I'm thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where I'm free to express an opinion and live. Despite that level of safety, I believe it is still against the nature of most who value privacy to speak out in public. Perhaps this is due simply to a self-belief in their lack of eloquence on a public stage or maybe it's the fear of embarrassment that is ever present.

ROTARY OF PERTH PRESIDENT ELECT’S UPDATE - 19TH SEPTEMBER 2017

I'm thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where I'm free to express an opinion and live. Despite that level of safety, I believe it is still against the nature of most who value privacy to speak out in public. Perhaps this is due simply to a self-belief in their lack of eloquence on a public stage or maybe it's the fear of embarrassment that is ever present.

Of late, this has become even more of an issue when people witness the public "lashing" (don't take this too literally) of others who speak their minds. We have a tendency to celebrate and promote freedom of speech, but only for as long as the views of the speaker does not upset us. You may say what you like, as long as it's pleasing to my ears. Perhaps last Friday, I was one of those who should have stood up to be counted, but I didn't (which side for now is an irrelevant distraction for this blog). Apart from reasons previously stated, it could have been because I was taught to let someone else finish before I start. So my excuse often is "I ran out of time". Perhaps, also because I was taught from a young age to let others have their say even if I don't agree. I could then politely move on to focus my energy where I can make a difference without a single word that creates animosity, i.e. I can simply choose to ignore.

When we speak out, what are we trying to achieve? Is it to silence the opposition? Is it to coerce dissenters to conform? Should people even be allowed to state their beliefs? What if we don't agree? Are we justified in attacking another other person for their opinion/beliefs? How are we different from the people we criticise? Are we any better?

I'm thankful to still live in a country where I'm able to speak my mind without fear of "official" persecution, where public lashings are only verbal. Should I ever become the persecutor, please call me out.

Yours in Rotary, Wesley Sim - President- Elect- Rotary of Perth 2017/2018

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