If there is anything that gets my nerves, it is that some people love to break rules, and yet they hope that they can get away scot-free. Some relish the moment of saying, “I was driving at 160 km/h and yet I was not given a ticket for speeding,” or “I just copied-and-pasted stuff from Wikipedia into my assignment and I still got 10 out of 10 for it!”
It is indeed time to reflect on a few matters here – why should we be happy about having succeeded in violating laws and breaking rules without being caught? Is it so difficult to abide by the law and follow rules? Is the credibility of the law and the rules just a matter of opinion of the people, or are they really useless, and if so, why are they still there?
We know perfectly well that there are repercussions of violating the law or breaking rules, and some of them can be severe. For instance, a mandatory death penalty is sentenced if the accused is found guilty of drug trafficking in Malaysia. A driver may be fined RM300 for speeding. A parent may deny their child from watching television for not obeying instructions. In any case, whenever one decides to challenge the authority by breaking the rules, the repercussions are never nice.
Yet, this does not seem to deter people from committing crimes and breaking rules which they deem “petty and unnecessary”. Some even go as far as asking how they can go around achieving their goals by breaking the rules and hoping to get away scot-free. There are also individuals who break the rules to achieve their goals because it is a faster and easier way to do so, without any regard of ethical repercussions. They also believe that it is foolish to follow the rules all the time.
However, what is so great in breaking rules? I do not view people who break rules as heroes; I think of them as cowards. Rather than staying in the light, these people who love to break rules are living in the dark. What benefits can one reap while committing such acts? These acts of cowardice put the individuals in unnecessary emotional and psychological stress, as well as in very unfavourable position should they be caught red-handed.
It is so appalling to note that youths today are asking questions like, “How can I get into the exam hall with my long hair without being caught?” I am certain our readers will agree that this kind of questions is not uncommon, and this simply means that at a point of time, our society indirectly (or directly) condones such behaviour. Our parents may even teach us that it does not pay to be an entirely law-abiding citizen, that there are some rules that need to be broken if you want to gain certain advantage.
So where does this all leave us? Should we break rules because it is “fun”, especially if you are not caught? However, if everyone starts breaking rules, then what will become of our society? Will this not send our nation into utter chaos? How will all this differ from a state of lawlessness then?
A person who abides by the law and refuses to break rules will often be seen as an individual who is trustworthy and honest. These are traits which, I believe, help maintain the stability of a nation. When crimes are rampant and rules are violated every now and then, this only breeds contempt and suspicion, which do more harm than good.
Nevertheless, there are those who believe that some rules are meant to be broken because they are so “stupid, petty, pathetic, unnecessary, burdensome” and the list goes on. Some would also argue that some rules merely reflect the paternalistic nature of the authorities or the lawmakers, and that as matured individuals, there are some rules that should be amended or revoked, especially those that concern how they should lead their lives. Well, we can set the debate of paternalism for a later time because whether you find a rule paternalistic is of no defence – if it is a rule that is enforced, then the onus is on you to abide by the rule or risk getting punished.
In no way am I suggesting that one should merely be silent about rules which seem petty and unnecessary. There are channels to voice out dissatisfaction about certain rules and propose that they be amended or revoked. But while this takes place, if the rules are still in effect, then you are in no position to just do as you like.
If abiding by the rules and the law does not kill you, I see no reason not to do so if it means giving people a good impression of who we are, as well as maintaining stability in the country, not to mention setting a good example to the next generation. I do not perceive law and rules as elements that harm us – more often than not, they are there for our safety and our general well-being.
I cannot say that I have never broken any rules because I am imperfect just as any other human being is. However, as young adults, we are able to tell what is right from wrong and what is lawful and unlawful. This is the point in life where we will be expected to show signs of integrity. While a ten-year-old child may be forgiven for stealing, an eighteen-year-old individual will not be pardoned so easily. Therefore, for the sake of upholding good values and developing good personality, I strive to be living within the boundaries that are required of me.
Therefore, my advice would always be to avoid breaking rules or violating the law. In many cases, the repercussions are not worth the acts.
Henry Yew can hardly escape getting caught for any wrong-doing, so he would rather be a good boy at all times.
Image taken from here