Let's normalize kindness not violence

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Morality is one of the most important qualities that make humans different from animals. Without morals and ethics, we are no different to wild animals and humanity would rot away in violence and abhorrence. People often argue about how Mongolians are morally improving or regressing. The deal-breaker of the argument can be how people treat each other in everyday life and how people respond to each other’s behavior. 

A few days ago, a special episode of a talk show called “Urban Talk” was posted on the internet, featuring comedians, singers and social media influencers. It went viral as fashion model S.Erdenetsogt, publicly known as Eegii, talked recklessly talked about how he was arrested for a week and the reasons why many people end up in jail. He kept using explicit language while referring to women and children who became victims of violence. 

According to him, he was jailed for a week in accordance with the Infringements Law due to “you know what happened”, referring to the social media scandal that arose after he beat his girlfriend. His girlfriend posted his photo on her Instagram, which depicted him passed out after drinking alcohol and abusing his girlfriend, with the chaotic scenes of broken furnitures. The Instagram post described him as violent, narcissist, alcoholic and drug abuser. Shortly after the post, the couple made a video post, defending S.Erdenetsogt’s actions. The girlfriend, seated next to S.Erdenetsogt, denied her own statement about how he abused her as if a certain amount of verbal and physical violence is a given in a romantic relationship. 

There are many examples of people who tried to intervene and stop domestic violence on the street getting convicted of a crime, accused by both the perpetrator and victim of domestic violence. Because of this kind of cases, people are now afraid to help others, especially women who are attacked on the street by their partners. The case of the fashion model and his girlfriend is a perfect example. The man abused his girlfriend. The public condemned him. But the victim turns around and defends her abuser. Legally, the correct thing to do is to report to the police about the incident, but morally, the violent action must be stopped immediately before one of them gets seriously hurt. 

During the talk show, people besides S.Erdenetsogt, well-known comedians and rappers were supporting his tone, as if violence, crime and moral degradation ought to be tolerated. You can view the talk show itself lightly, as it wasn’t made to be taken seriously. However, the idea behind it -- normalizing violence -- is a serious moral issue in today’s society, not to mention the misogynistic content expressed and perpetuated. 

The good thing is that the public didn’t take it lightly. People even started “canceling” the model along with the comedians who were supporting his talk, the talk show which invited him despite his bad reputation, and the product brands that sponsored the talk show. Punishing everyone remotely associated with a repugnant figure is a somewhat debatable issue. However, setting a good example for other entertainment content makers to consider whose message is to be propagated is important. One might argue that entertainment contents are a form of art and art is not to be filtered, especially on social media. However, if art is not to be filtered, the response to them shouldn’t be filtered either. Media that perpetuate degradation of moral values through influential figures is irresponsible and possibly harmful. Since the domestic violence is a serious issue, it ought not to be treated lightly and perpe- trators should not be given a platform to spread hatred and violence. On the brighter side, we can see that ostracism and cancel culture has taken root in Mongolian society.

Few years ago, actor T.Bilegjargal’s video footage of him assaulting his own mother was leaked and shocked the public. He was sentenced to two years and eight months due to drug abuse and assault. The public spoke, and he was “canceled”. According to recent news, he has less than six months left until release from prison. Experts and film lovers are sure that he won’t be cast in films anymore and it’s thanks to cancel culture. It’s not about what crimes he committed, but about preserving morality in media. Just like this case, Mongolia needs to keep canceling people who perpetuate hatred and violence to protect those who are vulnerable to their influence. 

These days, moral values of Mongolian people are being tested. This is proven by shockingly cruel crimes, conflicts in everyday life between strangers and how we react to news. 

A few years ago, a photo on social media received over 5,000 shares. On the photo, two men were helping a stranger push his broken car to the side of the road. People complimented the men and were writing comments that read, “The Mongolian people are so kind to each other. We are strong when united.” A month ago, news that a police officer helped a father whose child was in bad health to get to hospital quickly went “viral”. Even official websites and televisions were reporting about the incident, interviewing the police officer. The public was treating him like a national hero. But the fact that we are so surprised by an act of kindness and common decency, especially by an authority figure, speaks volumes about what we now come to expect from each other. Undoubtedly, what the police officer did was a good thing. But should it surprise us to the core to witness kindness that we brand them a hero. It should be “normal” to help each other and it’s a shame to say that we should normalize kindness, since it implies it’s not. Perhaps it’s an indication that we have hit rock bottom. 

Restoring moral values is not a job exclusive to the government or higher organizations. People are nurtured and taught by art and by the artists and influencers. It’s their responsibility to “step ahead of society and lead the people’s mindset,” in the words of arts philosophers.

Khantushig B