This lately I'm seeing a fair number of posts on facebook about Edi Rejang, the man who's become famous because of the "Beer Incidence". I'm seeing all the good people just itching to punish Edi because he's a racist, and they are tired of his bullshit.
Edi has since admitted his mistake and apologized to the female beer promoter in the hypermarket. However, the story did not end there. The criticisms against him had intensified. What's more, he has been fired from his job. Way too many people are of the opinion that he deserved the punishment; he had it coming. There is no place in Malaysia for a racist like Edi.
Now this may come as a big surprise to some of you, but actually we have many, many people in Malaysia who're racist. They come from all walks of life including highly educated people, even political leaders. Yes, you better believe it! But not all of them have received the same punishment as Edi.
Whenever we see someone doing something bad, there is the tendency to punish; and the strange thing is that sometimes it seems like no amount of punishment will satisfy us. No amount of admitting to his mistake; no amount of apologies from him will be acceptable. All we want is to strike back really hard, because the wrongdoer needs to be taught a good lesson, you see.
I suspect that many of those who're punishing Edi are convinced that they have never made any mistake in life. But I hate to break it to them—none of us are immune from making mistakes. Sooner or later, we will make at least some mistakes, and those mistakes will one way or another, hurt other people, perhaps even our loved ones.
The err is human, the forgive is divine
The thing is that when we take on the role of the punisher, we try very hard to impose the worst kind of punishment that we can think of; and there is that peculiar reluctance to forgive.
Truth be told, because all of us are liable to make mistakes sometimes, all of us deserve a second chance. If we deserve any punishment, let it be quick, and then get over with it. Forgive and forget. I have always said that it takes a great courage to admit one's mistakes and apologize for them. But it takes an even greater courage to forgive others. How about we try to be brave, and forgive him for his mistake. After all, he has been punished; I think he gets the idea.
I know that many people are unwilling to forgive. They do not realize that one of these days, their turn will come to make mistakes, and they will be the ones seeking forgiveness from others.