The Social Clapper

Eminent person X takes the dais to address the assembled guests

X: (utters a series of the usual pleasantries and awkward, shallow attempted jokes)

Crowd: (applause) hahaha!

X: I am very happy to be here and thankful for your hospitality.

Crowd: (applause)

X: We are opening this school today to celebrate education.

Crowd: (applause)

X: It is good to keep the streets clean and presentable.

Crowd: (applause)

X: And that is why we are going to increase your taxes by 50%.

Crowd: (applause) Wait….WHAAAAT?

That, my friends, is a disease that afflicts almost our entire society. It’s almost like there’s a virus, hidden deep within our collective being, whose chief symptom is the serial bringing together of one’s hands audibly so as to show ‘appreciation’ for the precious oxygen that Dignitary X had to forego for you to hear random ramblings on what is and what isn’t.

Social clapping is a filler, sound forced into those oh-so-predictable pauses after a sentence or two, just to cancel out the silence therein, and to give an illusion of utter understanding and fully donated attention. It is a device created by despots and larger-than-life figures to exalt their name and to shroud them in false magnificence.

It has been drilled into our skulls as children that we should always clap. Why? Because it is fitting and honourable to do so. Because if we do not, we are being disrespectful. Because if we do not, we are rebels who are against the agenda of dignitary X. A non-clapper is a protestor, an outcast, a shame to the society and one not worth associating with if you know what’s best for you.

This happened to occur when I was back in high school. Leadership changed hands, and the top man that came in decided that every single little deed deserves a hearty clap. In his occasionally wayward mind, almost every single sentence uttered MUST be given an icing of applause. And his idea of clapping was that it would be repeated till the volume produced by 800+ students satisfied his eardrums…. I’ll spare you the sordid details of my high-school life, but I note that that is when I refused to be a social clapper, out of protest.

I refused to put my hands together to massage anyone’s ego. I refused to clap to please.

I chose to clap to show appreciation, to acknowledge effort, to signify contentment, admiration and pleasure.

I refused to have someone tell me when and when not to clap. Yes, I was protesting.

But now, with time, I realize, it’s no longer a protest. It’s the norm: to have the freedom of choice and putting my mind to what is said, weighing it and deeming it worthy of appreciation or otherwise. It’s simply a decision to do or not to.

It’s a decision not to be sucked into the mediocrity and lies that are spewed at us by leadership all around, who seek nothing but gratification; a gratification that society, over time, has made all too available.

Majority of leaders, hence, are the type whose speeches are laden with unnecessarily inserted pauses, specifically anticipating the crowd’s almost mechanical routine.

Social clapping is no more than a robotic movement, reducing one into a machine that digests and absorbs endless rhetoric.

A social clapper is no better than a full-grown seal, seating on sandy beaches, clapping its fins at fellow seals.

A social clapper is the kind of person who forgets his place in a classical music recital, and starts clapping ferociously during a particularly lengthy rest, all for the music to pick up and carry on, leaving him behind in his awkwardness.

Social clapping is a DISEASE! A festering wound in almost all social gatherings that teaches us to conform and not put our own minds to what we are told. To ACCEPT AND MOVE ON!

No-one’s forcing you because you have a choice.

I choose not to clap for your convenience.


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