Last week, I read about something really disturbing. Well, three things to be exact.

Someone, without permission, took a picture of a random stranger on the BTS and posted it on her Facebook page with ridiculing comments about the person's make-up. Next, a person posted a picture of two kindergarten children (they are siblings) kissing, with a caption saying the girl was raed (overly keen) for someone her age. Another one is a photo of a teenage girl, properly dressed in her school uniform, carrying a keychain that might be a little bigger than usual. The original post talked about her large keychain, but several men -- or perhaps primates would be a better term given their lack of self-restraint and civilisation -- posted explicit sexual comments about the girl's bottom.

What did these people do to deserve that level of embarrassment? Nothing. Their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time and sharing the same space as some crazy, inconsiderate people who happened to have a phone that could take the pictures.

A photo is never just a photo when it's on Facebook or Instagram. People are urged to comment on it and naturally, we have nothing nice to say about random strangers. We feel free to attack them, thinking such comments will just evaporate into thin air. Well, they don't.

This reminds me of another story I came across the other day on Pantip. A woman went on a company trip and a colleague took a photo of her in her swimsuit at the pool without her consent. The person posted the pic on Facebook (the setting was public), and a bunch of haters came out, criticising the woman's body. Long story short, the inconsiderate colleague was mad that the woman posted this matter on Pantip and another colleague said the victim should apologise for offending such a senior colleague. Huh?

If I'm being completely neutral here, many of us have taken pictures of complete strangers. Sometimes we do so unavoidably, like when we're at a concert in a sea of people. Sometimes it's more deliberate -- if I suddenly ran into, say, Brad Pitt, I would probably take a few pictures too.

I don't really understand the modern generation's obsession with taking photos. Taking selfies can at least be understood as narcissism at play, but taking photos of strangers is quite a bizarre thing. Back when we had to pay B120 for a roll of film, we wouldn't have taken pictures of people we found odd just so we could laugh about them with our friends.

This ability to take pictures and videos anywhere and anytime has completely changed our behaviour. Ten years ago, if we went to a concert, we would have soaked up every single second by looking at the artist and singing along. Now, we hold up our phone and take pictures so we can brag about being at the concert on Facebook.

I hope this, like pagers, sticker booths and Hi5, is a trend that comes and goes. I can't imagine living in a world where I have to constantly be worrying about whether or why someone is taking a photo of me.

Wait, are you taking a photo of this article? Put that thing down.

Napamon Roongwitoo

Former Guru section Editor

Former Guru Editor. She writes various lifestyle articles and columns.

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