Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) made headlines over the weekend when it suspended a student for taking a selfie during a graduation ceremony. The university said that the act was disrespectful, rude, and ignorant of Malay customs.
Muhammad Hasrul Haris Mohd Radzi, 21, from UiTM Lendu, Malacca took a selfie after receiving his diploma in photography from UiTM pro-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Arshad Ayub. Notably, the selfie was taken with Ayub; who does not appear to be visibly offended by the “disrespectful” act.
Hasrul defended his actions by saying that he was not aware that selfies were not allowed during the ceremony. He was not apologetic even when told that there was a ban on selfies, telling daily Harian Metro that he did not think that there was anything wrong with taking a picture to capture the moment after working hard for two and a half years. One would be hard pressed to disagree with him.
Deputy Chancellor Tan Sri Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar said that this is not the first student to be suspended for selfie taking. He added, “let them call me cruel, but I’d rather let a child die, than lose our customs (Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat)” when asked if the punishment was too harsh.
The taking of selfies during graduation ceremonies appears to be a controversial issue among universities and colleges across the world. UiTM is not the first to discipline students for the act, as American colleges have similarly banned the act; one going as far as to withhold diplomas from any students who take selfies onstage with the college president. On the other hand, British universities appear to be encouraging the act; with the University of Bath asking students to share their graduation selfies on social media.
Perhaps it isn’t too surprising that our local universities are taking a more traditional view of the graduation ceremony. Selfies can be rather self-indulgent at times. Although it is perhaps forgivable given the situation that these youngsters are being placed in. After all, there is massive pressure from society to obtain some sort of qualifications on paper, and most would want to commemorate the moment in a manner that reflects their generation.
[Source: Malay Mail Online]