Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Steven Lim Phenomenon

 He has been around for almost half a decade now. He claims to be a professional singer and freelance actor in Singapore, with over 2100 models under his employment under his company Eyebrowser Trading & Marketing. He believes that he is one of Singapore's most famous celebrities, with over 4.8 million Youtube hits. He thinks he's famous, funny, handsome, good in singing and dancing and that people in Singapore loves him. He is none other than Steven Lim, one of Singapore's most controversial figures.

But how much do we know about this phenomenon called Steven Lim? Why is he famous and why despite all the negativity, he is still one of the most talked about people? Well, since I've noticed that Steven Lim generates quite an amount of search traffic in Singapore and that no one has really wrote about him in depth yet (Xiaxue btw, has a Wikipedia entry here), I think I'm gonna be the first one to try and write about this guy called Steven Lim.
 As you all may know through friends, Youtube, the media or other blog posts, Steven Lim is an attention seeker. He thrives in it and he is not hesitant to do whatever it takes to achieve fame, though his methods may sometimes be a little out of normal for the average person. Music videos, rantings on Youtube, standing on the streets asking for people to model for him and perhaps the most memorable one, attending Singapore Idol in his yellow underwear.

The number one question on the minds of many people: Why is someone like Steven Lim so famous despite the negativity, even after so many years? What sustains his fame?

 Like it or hate it, one of the top reasons behind Steven Lim's fame, aside from his outrageous antics, is us ourselves. It's the response that we give him that indirectly gives him fame at the same time. If all of us were to ignore what he is doing, meaning that we don't watch his video, we don't mention him in our tweets or statuses, we don't give comments, his fame would dissipate quicker than you could imagine. It's because that there's people talking about him about indirectly spreads awareness about him. A person that has never heard of Steven Lim before, when hearing his/her friend bitching about him would naturally be curious of who this guy is. He/she then would proceed to Google Steven Lim, watches the videos on Youtube and subsequently repeating the cycle when he/she rants about Steven Lim in his/her social media network. It's a vicious cycle.

 If you really do hate him and wishes that he would just fade into oblivion, the best way to deal with him is not to flame or degrade him, it is to ignore him. By responding to Steven Lim, be it in a positive or negative way, one is giving him the attention he seeks. Treat him as if he was invisible. And when all his actions garners no response, he would naturally stop acting in a despo way because he knows it's not gonna work. Psychologists call this the extinction method.

Ignorance is sometimes the best policy

However, not everyone thinks the same. People like me for example, enjoy poking fun at him and sometimes even use his name as a way to generate traffic. One thing that you've gotta admit is that he's influential alright, in fact even more than me, and he is still one of the top searches in Singapore now and then. His 2000+ followers in Facebook and Twitter is a good place to start. Besides, talking about Steven Lim is one of Singapore's favorite pastime and he is also a great source of confidence booster.

You might be curious of the underlying cause behind Steven Lim's actions. While his aim is clearly at fame, one can't help but wonder why does he engage in all these unconventional activities and be subjected to the huge amount of criticisms waiting him. As someone studying psychology myself, I am naturally intrigued too.

One explanation is that all his claims at fame, his belief that he is famous and talented, is caused by an underlying mental disorder, meaning that there is something going wrong up there. If I were to make a guess, I would narrow it down to either delusions of grandeur or narcissistic personality disorder (use Google to find out the meaning for both if you want to know more), meaning that he sincerely thinks that he is special as how he usually puts it. He is also not sensitive to criticisms and even if you do say it to him, he would deflect it away as you being jealous.

If you going by the first explanation, it's really quite sad when you think about it. Here is a guy who sincerely thinks he awesome but in reality things are not as rosy as it seems. His sheer belief in himself  may also create additional problems in his everyday life such as ridicule and discrimination. Solution? See a psychiatrist or psychologist.

An inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self. Familiar?

The alternative explanation, perhaps the scarier one, is that secretly, he knows what he is doing. He knows that by doing all sorts of crazy stuff, people would talk about him and this would indirectly generate traffic and fame for him. That is the reason why he purposely sings badly in his video about all the major happenings because he knows. And the more people hate him, the more he like it because on the internet, there's no such thing as positive or negative publicity, there's only publicity and he's banking on it. Solution to this explanation? Ignoring him is the best option out.

Like him or hate him, you cannot deny that Steven Lim is one quirky guy that is still generating discussion among Singaporeans today. And depending on how you look at him, you can choose to either ignore him or continue to flame him. One thing is certain though, as long as there's people talking about him, he's here to stay.


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