By KEVIN TAN
JUST last Friday, a group of youths gathered together at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus in Subang Jaya, Selangor, for an open forum for a discussion over a cup of teh tarik.
The Teh Tarik Sessions – which are organised by R.AGE and the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) – are a laid-back, casual and fun way for young people to share their opinions on current issues, and to brainstorm on solutions. Last week, the topic was based on our cover story of the week – the diffusion of responsibility.
The question posed to the students was whether they would take action during an emergency in the midst of a crowd. Are people aware of this phenomenon called diffusion of responsibility? Is it by nature or nurture that we often base our decisions on whether (or not) to bear responsibility and take the necessary action?
The forum, which lasted about two hours, was held to find out what young people’s opinions are on the issue, and how it can be tackled.
“The setting was very casual, which made it easy to talk. Everyone had a chance to share what they thought,” said American degree programme student Mistika Idris, 18.
Mistika shared that the forum has helped her see things from a wider perspective. “This forum gave me awareness of this issue, and helped me change my mindset. I got to hear other people’s opinions, too.”
Like Mistika, mass communication student Jared Pereira, 21, shared that the forum was encouraging and made him more aware of the decisions he can make when he sees someone in a distressing situation.
“I admit that I was also part of the bystander effect, and normally won’t take action when others are around me. But now, my mindset has changed. I now know that I can help, and I know the channels that I can use to help. Discussing solutions for this issue was enlightening and uplifting,” he said.
Vikram Ramachandran, 22, said there should be more forums like the Teh Tarik Sessions in schools and universities.
“There are not enough forums like this happening. They should take place on a monthly basis. Start getting it to schools and universities to let students share their opinions. Everyone has their own view on different things, so I believe everyone can contribute,” said Vikram, who is also a mass communication student.