Malaysiakini Letter

Apologies are meaningless if it's just lip service

T K Chua  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Sometimes I don’t understand why politicians, preachers, high profile individuals and NGO leaders are always saying things “out of context”.

They must either be very inarticulate or very dumb. They must be speaking without thinking or without considering the situation or the environment they are in.

More than that, they must be very defiant and evil too. They intentionally say things to hurt and incite, and then use “out of context” as a pretext to protect themselves. This is especially so when certain individuals have repeatedly said hurtful things and then claimed out of context excuses to defend themselves. How many excuses do they want to use?

How could politicians, preachers and leaders with a large following always say things out of context?

Surely they know the “context” better than ordinary people. Surely they know the history, the sensitivities and the nuances better than others. If they do not know, then they shouldn’t be speaking to large audience, as simple as that.

I have an inkling that many of the out of context things were deliberately said to hurt, incite and appeal to a partisan crowd. It is a manifestation of their perverted inner thought or worldview. When challenged, they would use “out of context” excuses as an after-thought defence.

It is not difficult to discern whether things are said out of context. Let’s replay whatever that were said verbatim for everyone to hear, including the location and the atmosphere when the speeches were made.

To me, an out of context defence is not just for the speakers to improvise, but it is also for the audience to judge.

Another word is 'apology'. This word, too, is often cheapened and abused by politicians and speakers. They will say all kinds of unsavoury things and then pretend to apologise.

Rightly, apologies should come from a repentant or remorseful heart. Apologies are meaningless if extended as lip service. Apologies are even insulting if the same mistakes or same patterns of behaviour are repeated.

Again, apologies are not for those who committed wrongs to misuse or to wrangle their way out of the trouble. Apologies should be judged by those who are wronged and by their acceptance.

Why should some of the apologies be accepted as sincere when some of those who committed wrongs have demonstrated the same patterns of behaviour repeating over time?

If we use “out of context” and “apologies” too often, we cheapen the excuses and we demonstrate insincerity.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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