The A to Z of English - Of Mr Rules and Mrs Defiance

THEY say the best things in life come free. Can freedom be one of them? Of late we have been slammed with reprimands time and again from the long arms of the law when netizens stretch and bend freedom for their personal gratification.

With too many no-go areas, can we now agree that even the basic freedom of expression comes not without a cost?

I get disordered in my mind and it has turned into fear of the unknown and I have since downgraded myself to being just an occasional blogger and a by-stander. Read all evils but do not post or forward evils.

Freedom is a bottomless pit and the end is not seen but only imagined; the better your imagination, the better you enjoy this commodity. So is freedom real then?Freedom has its limitations, both natural and man-made, sounds paradoxical? That is what I too thought, at least we are on the same page.

Coming to personal freedom, do we realise how much of our net worth as a person is compromised in the name of dos and don'ts that come dressed up as rules and regulations, at work place for example.

In addition to these we also have innumerable codes of conduct that everybody talks about but nobody is able to clearly define.

In the meantime, the legal fraternity is getting busy dealing with social media offenders posting remarks on matters which are not even of grave importance to their existence.

Being careless and carefree should not be taken out of context to mean absolute freedom; absoluteness and freedom are two incongruous concepts and never to be married.

Freedom is a multifaceted and a many-splendoured conception; also referred to as liberation, independence and a host of other close cousins that come with caveats.

A friend who is lucky to have a plum job complains that her freedom as a person is at stake. Her workplace dictates just about everything for her, from what time she has to hop out of bed, to what she wears to work and how she should conduct herself.

This, she considers a severe encroachment into her privacy as a person. I was all ears but I thought she was over-reacting.

I know of a friend who has discarded her stilettos for flats so that she could marathon her way to swipe in by 8am or she is damned. She is also monitored on how many times she leaves the office for pees and poos and whatever else. The toilet happens to be outside and she has to swipe in an out to answer the call.

And then there is the most abused term called dress-code. In the office, at corporate dinners etc, the formality ends at the word "formal" adorning the invitation, everything else is left to interpretation.

I, for one, get provoked by bad attitudes more than clothes and I think we should have people wear the right attitude at the right places.

Another friend of mine thinks switching jobs is fashionable and she lives in that inflated pride and ego that she is in demand.

She was telling me about how she had to subject her entire wardrobe for an overhaul in line with a memo from her new office. No more pants, no short (even knee length) skirts.

"I hated myself for the three years I was there as I appeared in work dressed in what might as well have been a pillow case with holes punched," she said angrily.

Can we have moderation employed in our daily lives so that we can live and not merely exist painstakingly fulfilling the scores of requirements, rules, regulation, etc.

And have you heard of this group of nano-sapiens who call themselves the free-thinkers? They reject religious dogmas and I used to wonder how do you reject something you don't know enough about?

William Shakespeare in his creations demonstrated that freedom was important for us to live richer and more expressive lives, as individuals as well as a society. His characters Hamlet and Juliet, Macbeth and Cleopatra, Falstaff and Rosalind and a host of other memorable creations of Shakespeare demonstrated that the freedom to be themselves, away from falsity and dictated existence resulted in a more fulfilling life.

In As You Like It Rosalind decides that she will break the shackle of being a good girl and an obedient daughter for these typecast deprived her the freedom to be herself. In banishment she sees the opportunity to see a whole new self.

We shall talk about Rosalind on another occasion.

There is a saying that man is free at the moment he wishes to be. Really?

The writer believes that the Malaysian education system will reach greater heights with a strong antidote to revolutionise just about everything. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com