Amy Cheong, perpetrator or victim of the social media?

13 Oct

In the local news lately is Ms Amy Cheong who could be facing police charges for her insensitive rant on her own personal Facebook account.

I shared in an earlier post that if our inner demons and monsters are not curbed, we may fall hard in that simple moment of weakness. Now Ms Amy Cheong would be able to relate to this as she saw her world crumble overnight in a moment of giving in to anger. She was sacked from her position of assistant director by her employer, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). Received numerous hurtful and cruel comments, including threats from strangers so much so that she left Singapore to avoid the tension. And she may possibly face police charges.

Perpetrator?

Her choice of words in her post are definitely unpleasant. She complained about an overly lengthy void deck Malay wedding held near her home and went on to mock the divorce rate of the community. For Multicultural Singapore, such words indeed should not be condoned. Period.

What interesting things can we draw from this though?

Remember the anger monster? One of its abilities is to make you lose focus on what the issue is about and instead attack the people related to the issue. In this case, Amy Cheong may have been bothered by the noise levels of the void deck wedding near her home. If her Facebook post had focused only on this issue, she would have received a more neutral feedback on her post. For instance, some people may empathise with her and express they are in a similar plight (e.g. void deck funeral rituals), while others may have console her that a wedding is a happy occasion and the event is only going to be for a few more days.

Unfortunately for her, she succumbed to the anger monster and against her better judgement, expressed her anger at the people (the Malay community) instead of the issue. If you attack people, they are not going to just sit there and let you hit them. They will retaliate! So now she pays a high price for the uncalled-for anger and racist comments.

Battle tip against the anger monster: Never attack the people related to the issue! Focus on the issue!

Victim?

What really strikes me from this incident though is how scary the social media is and how the information age has trained people to pass quick and harsh judgement on others.

From the chronological of events, Amy Cheong made the Facebook post late on 7 Oct, Sunday evening and yet by Monday, around 3 am, the first petition calling for her to be fired is up. And by 7 am, her post starts going viral on social media.

3 am in the morning? Shouldn’t these people be lying in the comfort of their bed and enjoying a goodnight sleep?

Calling for her to be fired? How do these people even know that she holds a high position in NTUC? Ain’t the Facebook rant intended for her friends?

Viral by 7 am? For me, I would probably be taking a dump as one of my early morning priorities.

Do not get me wrong. I totally agree we should not tolerate offensive racist comments. It is just the speed and aggressiveness of how the “punishment” is meted out by strangers in the name of redressing justice that is freakishly scary to me. The actions, anger and nasty comments by these strangers brings to mind a “modern day witch-hunt”. Picture an angry mob with pitchforks and torches threatening to burn the suspected witch alive. That is the true extent of the anger monster’s powers.

For people who have been stirred by the anger monster to join the witch-hunt, consider how well you know the perpetrator, the details related to the incident and the consequential impact of your actions. For all you know, Amy Cheong may be suffering from a medical condition – Misophonia where she is easily annoyed, or even enraged, by ordinary sounds. Perhaps she stays on a low floor and there are back to back events held in the void deck? Maybe she has a lousy week (e.g. her dog died) and listening to the overly happy songs is killing her? What if your pitchfork of nasty comment is the final stab that pushes her over the edge to depression? What if…?

Is the “punishment” fitting of the “crime”? Or is the perpetrator now a victim?

My take – Do not be part of the witch-hunt.

Lighter side of things

From this incident, I conclude that the anger monster not only resides in cars but is lurking in social media places too.

2nd battle tip against the anger monster: Always find the lighter side of things no matter the situation.

What lighter side of things did I find?

  • Fcuk technically is a French clothing brand name – French Connection. Free publicity for them?
  • KNS which stands for Kana sai is a Hokkien (dialect) expression which means like shit. It is sometimes used as swear words. Pretty cool that Amy Cheong, a Malaysian-born Australian, is able to assimilate into the Singapore culture and pick up some local Singlish swear words. No?
  • How about a business opportunity? I sense that there is a market for a Facebook editor software that checks for any expletives / racist / sexist and any other forms of negative comments before publishing the post. Well, the software may need some work but you get the idea.

Anyway to sum up the whole lengthy post – Don’t let the anger monster win! 

And that is how Rusty sees it! 🙂

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2 Responses to “Amy Cheong, perpetrator or victim of the social media?”

  1. realityburns October 20, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Hi rusty, you are funny. Would like to chat with u. Email me?

    • rusty October 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks for the kind comments! Not too sure how to reach you via email though. Didn’t see it on your blog.

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