Yes, I realize it happens everywhere on the planet. But it just seems so much more acute, embarrassing and outrageous when it happens here at home. There was the newspaper writer who plagiarized and apologized (actually several writers over the last several years), there was the Supreme Court justice accused of copying, the CEO whose speechwriters plagiarized segements of his commencement speech (but I might add, he immediately took responsibility for and resigned from his post on that educational institution’s board), the Department of Tourism that took stuff from this blog, and now a Senator who gave an emotional speech, only to be called out as reading material that was plagiarized from a U.S. blog.
Gosh, don’t people get it? Plagiarism is wrong. Anyone who attended a decent grade school education should be quite aware of that. And what’s with the pathetic excuses that everyone comes up with to JUSTIFY the plagiarism? Why not just take it on the chin and admit a mistake was made? Are we really so above the rest of the world that our morals are several stories way down in the basement with respect to intellectual property rights? Several dozen readers have emailed me to ask why I haven’t commented on this latest plagiarism issue. Honestly, it’s because I was just so sick to my stomach how frequently this kind of issue crops up, and not among unknown folks, but leaders of society in law, business, politics, journalism, etc. The thing is, the rest of the population, you and me included, obviously don’t express enough disbelief, disgust and disapproval for the powers that be to feel compelled to just stop doing it. It’s pathetic. JUST PATHETIC. And with several types of software out there to cross-check one’s document or speech against other previously published material, THERE IS SIMPLY NO EXCUSE THAT YOU COULD NOT HAVE CHECKED YOUR WORK BEFORE MAKING IT PUBLIC. Particularly if you are giving a speech that SOMEONE ELSE wrote on your behalf.
Even more disturbing than the act of plagiarizing itself, however, is the apparent Filipino penchant for blusteringly thinking they can weasel their way out of it… “they didn’t know, they didn’t think it was wrong, they thought it was public domain, they can’t question an elected official,” etc. BALONEY. If Senators who are tasked with helping to run the nation and lead by example can’t figure out what plagiarism is, then how are are the 90+% of all grade 6 public school students who scored LESS THAN 50% correct on all three of the Math, English and Science Proficiency Tests going to do when they reach an adulthood?
Frankly, this article by Analiza Perez-Amurao on Rappler.com says it all for me, and better than I could have ever written…