Excerpted from Adrian Tan's 2008 NTU Graduation Speech --
One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.
I like most of this excerpt.
I also think that it's possible to go against the grain and be popular at the same time. (think musicians). I think musicians who are honest and create something original tend to be popular because they are so rare. Case in point: Bon Iver. He has many fans now and certainly some haters. Though I've never encountered the haters.
Is popularity a sure sign of doing something wrong? I doubt it. Perhaps an indication.
"Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong."
I've been gone from your blog for too long, Sebastian. Glad to be back. :)
I've been struggling with this in a variety of ways. I want to say things that are true. I hold my tongue because I fear the reaction. I really can't keep living my life this way. It's funny how I can admit some things and not others. It's not like I keep my mouth shut in life in other areas. I don't understand why I feel so afraid. I don't know what I am afraid of losing.
Thank you. I like it when you say the right thing on the right day.
When bad people are alive, you can oppose them. But as soon as they are gone, they're not your enemies any more. They're just people who once were, but now are not. Memories.
The quote - there are no enemies in death - comes from "Lone Wolf and Cub," a favorite serious of mine. You can see me reviewing a bit of it at the entry "Rule an Empire, Fistful of Rice."
After some mortal enemies is vanquished, the protagonist gives them a respectful burial. When asked why, he explains that there are no enemies in death.
It's easy to get caught up in cheering for one side of history, but your feelings don't affect what's already happened. And strong feelings can easily blind you from figuring out what really happened.
It may not always be possible, but it would be good for you if you can become dispassionate in analyzing long dead eras.
Pilate finds Jesus innocent. He allows Jesus to be crucified only because of the accusers' constant badgering. In effect, he gives the people what they want instead of what is right. He even releases a man who is actually guilty of the things Jesus is accused of: insurrection and murder. Pilate just couldn't handle the pressure, and he didn't want to cause a riot.
How often do we give in to the pressure?
Sometimes, there are red flags in life that read, "Do the right thing!" An alarm goes off in our heads and we know what we should or shouldn't do, but we feel the splinters once we move against the grain. People start speaking against us. They pressure us to do what they want. They even use religious convictions to guilt us into their agendas. And what's the reward for caving in?