The world beyond the news
We always hear horrible things about Pakistan in the news but rarely does the media ever shed light on the more normal side of everyday life over there. By nature, the media is very negative and it's a money-making industry that thrives on this. I've no doubt that there are still morally upright journalists out there but so many still get away with spreading lies and distorted facts.
I'm a firm believer of seeking knowledge; it's good to be aware of what's happening in this world but consuming too much of the news isn't healthy. We forget that people who write the news are humans just like us who can project their own prejudices onto what they report. In an ideal world, reporters would report the news objectively but it's not always possible. Read this: News is bad for you - and giving up reading it will make you happier.
“It seems that violence is the only lens through which ordinary people in Pakistan are viewed in the media. Even if it’s a story about a Pakistani rock band, it will be set in the context of a violent society. There’s nothing false about the perspective. Pakistan has a problem with violence. Violence is used to silence journalists, and judges, and moderate religious scholars. And it seems to be getting worse. Every time I see somebody on television speaking out in anger against extremism or corruption—I’ll say a prayer for them. And every time one of those people is murdered, those of us who aspire to be like them grow a little more afraid. So it’s not that the reports of violence are false. But they are only a small part of the truth. There’s so much other life being lived here. But there’s only so much space in international newspapers. And there’s so much news in the world. So only the most jarring stories make the cut.” (Karachi, Pakistan)
Don't get me wrong: educate yourself on what's happening around you. Don't be ignorant. Go to different sources for different opinions but don't get so immersed in the news until it makes you emotional, anxious and bitter. You're a better service to society when your thoughts are not motivated by negative sentiments.
I try very hard not to be a negative person and initiatives like HONY are refreshing. Not often do we hear stories about people leading normal lives with the same hopes and dreams like everyone else. Sometimes it's hard to believe that there could be good news out there but trust me, a lot of wonderful things are still taking place around the corner. If you look for good things; you'll find it.
News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can't act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is "learned helplessness". It's a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression. - (Excerpt from News Is Bad For You)
I admire Brandon Stanton, the man behind HONY. He goes around New York and across the globe to give people the chance to share their stories and he does a great job at evoking compassion in people. He shows the world that wherever people are from, we really are no different from each other. We all have our ambitions and struggles but more importantly, we have a story to tell.
Having HONY on my newsfeed brightens up my day because of all the relatable stories I get to read. I sure hope Stanton comes to Malaysia one day. On another note, check out Malaysia's version of HONY: Humans of Kuala Lumpur.