By Mutiah Fauzan

“Nothing is original anymore!” my sister said while she was flipping through a catalogue of fake bags while were standing in the middle of the biggest mall in Shanghai, China. “Who cares, right? Why spend a lot on something we can get cheaper?” Do not get me wrong, as a woman I love bags and shoes. We have a long history with those two fashion items that we love the most. But the idea of putting up with knock-offs make me feel inauthentic and cheap. I start to question why it is essential to recognize intellectual properties.
When I was in school, I remember there was no Mr. Google to ask questions with. Nowadays, when you want to know something, all you need to do is type your questions; not even in a complete sentence, just keywords, and everything is instantly there. I like the old days better. Answers are not instant, but it is fulfilling. Back in the day, when you have a question, you ponder, observe, think. So when you did not study during exams, we copied, it is instant results, you will pass the test, but not with flying colors.
Little did I know that small bad habit leads me to giant mistakes in life. I never really understood the subject. Like cheap inauthentic Louis Vuitton bag; it is not complete. My knowledge, just like that bag, did not last that long.
My sister was correct; there is nothing original anymore. Human progress makes things better. But if we copy, whether it is homework, exams, projects, or ideas, we should care when all we can produce is just a copy. Why should we care? First, it teaches you to be honest with yourself. It teaches you to look back and reflect to see what you did wrong and try to fix it. If you do this, as a human, you are evolving in a good way. The second reason is to learn to be humble. Everyone always has grand theories, but few of them remember the sources. Again, just like the cheap bag, it is not complete. If you don’t know the source, you don’t know the context. If you don’t know the context again, your knowledge is not complete. I remember one of famous Indonesian proverb that said: “Be like the rice stalk, as it is laden with ripening grains, it bows down.” The more you know things, the more grateful you are that you are standing on the shoulders of giants. Being humble and willing to unlearn and relearn what you know is the crucial ingredient to successful learning.
So before you hit that CTRL + C and CTRL + V on your work, ask yourself. Is it worth it? Are you or your parents spending money to learn to pass the test or make you learn? Are you ok to be a cheap inauthentic bag? Or do you hold values and are willing to learn and accept to evolve to be a better human being?