Yesterday was the ‘Christ the King’ Sunday, the last Sunday in the Church’s liturgical calendar.  That means next week is already the Advent period and in 5 weeks Christmas will come.  How time really flies.  I try to recall what I have done during this year: the ASCE paper, the ICOSSAR and KKCNN conference, submitting the Metropolis paper, and working on the multi-layered flow.

Yesterday I watched a movie with Chris. A Few Good Men. I have watched it twice before, but yesterday was the first time for Chris. When I watched it last time, I was impressed with the court-room scenes. After all, I once planned to be a lawyer. But yesterday, it was not the court-room debates that engaged my attention.  It was a short conversation that leaves a strong impression on me.  In the movie there were 2 US Marine officers accused of murder of their fellow officer.  The 2 arrested men performed a ‘Code Red’ , a hazing procedure where an underperformed officer is physically attacked by his fellows in order to compel him to perform better.  This hazing procedure was a common procedure and it was considered a good thing as it instills loyalty to one’s unit.  Unfortunately, when the 2 arrested officers performed the ‘Code Red’, it lead to the death of the hazed fellow. The cause of death was uncertain, but most probably it was due to the victim’s poor health. Now, a team consists of 3 lawyers was assigned to defend the 2 officers. One of the lawyers (Galloway) strongly believes that they are not guilty of murder because they were only obeying a ‘Code Red’ order from their commanders.  Another lawyer (Weinberg), however, thinks that obeying such an order is already wrong.  So this is their short conversation that impressed me (not the exact words):

Galloway: “Why do you hate them so much?” Them = the accused officers

Weinberg: “Because they attack a weakling. Why? Because he runs slower than them. Because he is weak. Why should people attack someone just because he is weaker?”

Now, that piece of conversation makes me want to stand up and give an applause. It makes me think of (well, you may call me childish or weak, I don’t care) the initiation process or ospek in HMS ITB. Why, I would like to know, you beat someone just because he / she cannot run fast? In A Few Good Men, at least the setting is a military unit, so maybe people do need to run fast there. But in a university, what, I would like to know, is the necessity of running fast or such physical fitness? Who, I would like to have an answer, authorize you to demand an unnatural subordination from your junior just because you enrolled to that university  1 or 2 years before them? What, I would like to ask, is the justification of showing such dislike to a person just because he /she choose not to be a part of such hazing procedure?

At the end of the movie, the 2 officers are found not guilty of murder. But they are found guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming a US Marine officer’, so they are dishonorably discharged from Marine. The younger officer asked confusedly to the older officer, “But what have we done wrong? We were just obeying order”. To those people who justify hazing, ospek, or whatever you call it simply by saying that they just follow a tradition, I would like to give the older officer’s answer: “Oh yes, we are guilty. We are Marine officer. We are supposed to fight for those who cannot defend themselves. We should have defended Willie (the victim)”. At this answer Weinberg, and I, smiled.

Well, I think that’s a long enough rant. I meant to write about my daily life but once I came to the topic of hazing I cannot resist the desire to rant. Once I even thought to write a paper on the ridiculousness and innecessity of hazing in academic institutions.