Speaking up for others

February 14, 2021 | minutes read

Ever since I was little boy, if any of my friends were bullied or picked on, and I noticed they couldn’t defend themselves, I would speak up on their behalf. Speaking up for others has always come naturally for me and it’s habit that I still flex even as an adult. However, these days, I’m a tad more reluctant to take action; I’ve learned that sometimes its best to allow people the opportunity to fight their own battles. Knowing when to stay silent or speak up for others is not so black and white: it’s an art.

I’m constantly walking a fine line.

In fact, this blog post was sparked by another student in my OMSCS program, who posted a question on the online forum, which lead to a discussion I wasn’t sure I should engage. This particular student had asked for a one day extension for the first programming project, admitting that they vastly underestimated the complexity of the assignment. Then, another anonymous student chimed in, complaining that it would be “unfair” for the other students who actually “budgeted” their time. As soon as I read this anonymous person’s comment, I immediately felt annoyed and wanted to send a knee-jerk response but decided to step away from my keyboard since I didn’t want to type something I would regret.

Instead, here’s how I responded:

Piazza post – asking for a single day extension

And I’m glad I did respond. Because since voicing my opinion, a handful of other students started replying to the thread, taking a similar stance to mine.

In general, I’m motivated to speak up for others is because I fervently believe in the following quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

― Edmund Burke

I’m Matt Chung. I’m a software engineer, seasoned technology leader, and father currently based in Seattle and London. I love to share what I know. I write about topic developing scalable & fail-safe software running in the AWS cloud, digital organization as a mechanism for unlocking your creativity, and maximizing our full potentials with personal development habits.

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