In Asia, it’s always something like this:
Person A: Hey, can I borrow “object”?
You: Sure! (hands over object)
Person B to Person A: Hey, can I look at that?
Person A: Sure! (hands over object)
Person C to Person B: Can I see?
And on it goes.
This happened to me that day. I had to put up my hand because the teacher asked the person with full marks on the last part of the paper to do so. And suddenly, this little old hermit was a celebrity (for approximately three minutes). Everyone wanted to take a look at my paper. The above conversation happened between me and some girl who hardly speaks to me.
Sure, I said, ignoring the wary feeling in my stomach and assuming the best out of everyone even though this bullsh** has happened to me countless times.
She looks at it. The boy beside her peers over and looks at it.
“Holy sh**, that’s some long scripture right there,” he says with a big grin. He pulls out his phone and starts snapping pictures of my paper.
Again, I assume the best of everyone and think that he’s just going to keep those pictures for himself. After a while, it occurs to me that he might post it on the class group chat. (Yes, class group chats are common in [this part of] Asia because the teacher enjoys reading foul language posted at 2am and occasionally joins in on all the ‘fun’.)
Sure enough, he did exactly that, captioning the pictures with “Holy scripture”. A slew of ‘wows’ from my classmates follow.
I tried not to be annoyed. I really did try. But as an artist, I’ve read plenty of articles about copyright issues and seen many artists get depressed about copied artwork. As a person, I’ve seen plenty of my friends as well as relatives claim credit for something that they have never done before.
Some people might be all, “Why are you getting so worked up? It’s just a test paper!” But this is a general rule that applies to everything. If you want something from someone, you ask for their permission. You don’t assume in your own mind what a person will say or do and have it your way. You respect others by asking and confirming even though you think you know the answer.
I responded in the group chat by saying, “You didn’t ask before sharing.” Unsurprisingly, no one replied. The next message after that came hours later and it was some guy asking the teacher what day the final paper is on. It’s always like that. And so it goes on…