Friday, December 16, 2011

A Late Night Rant

First a guy called Aaron Tan posted an angry video of him threatening his girlfriend stealer on Youtube. Which subsequently became one of trending topics in Singapore.

Photo taken from http://alvinology.com/. View his video on Youtube

Then the Singaporean internet scene exploded with discussion about him. Many criticized him and even more made fun of him. Even Mr Brown made a parody of him. 

In a way, you could say that this Aaron Tan saga was a whole reflection of the Adelyn Hosehbo incident all over again. Some random wannabe famous fella posted something outrageous online and before he/she knows it, netizens soon start baying for his blood. Like Adelyn, he was called some pretty nasty names like "CB kia", "useless shit" and well, you get the idea. Typical day in the Singaporean internet scene.

And just when you thought this whole incident is gonna be soon forgotten like the rest of the fame seeking stories out there, it took a whole new level when another random dude going by the name FadedHolySoldier from the States decided to post another video flaming this guy after a Singaporean viewer of his sent him the Aaron Tan video. Not a very wise decision on hindsight.


In just a few tweets, the whole attention was suddenly shifted from Aaron Tan to this so called FadedHolySoldier. To sum it all up, people were pissed with him. Really pissed. Looking at the Youtube comments, many called him a racist for making such a sweeping statement about Asians and some even called him a Nigga. A prominent Twitter account even went so far to say that it's because of attitude like his that caused the 9-11 tragedy (the tweet has since been taken down due to concerns being raised over it, but I'll just post it just to give a rough picture of the overall reaction).

One of the many angry tweets in response to FadedHolySoldier
 
Heck, even DeeKosh made a video about it.



 While I would agree that FadedHolySoldier might have been a little busybody in posting about something that is unrelated to him (but keep in mind that a Singaporean viewer of his sent him the Aaron tan video), I think that the general reaction towards him is way overrated. It's one thing to try to correct someone's misconception and a totally different thing to label them in derogatory terms such as "nigga" or "racist". Using this incident as an explanation for the 9-11 tragedy is even worse. It makes us no different from Americans who said that the Japanese deserved the tsunami because they attacked Pearl Harbor.

For starters, FadedHolySoldier never explicitly criticized Singapore or Asians in particular. In his whole video, his main thrust was mainly about making fun of Aaron and saying how he deserved to have his girlfriend snatched away because of what he did. He did not say things like "All Singaporeans are like Aaron Tan" or any negative comments that were specifically pointed at Singapore or Asia in general.

FadedHolySoldier even mentioned that the comments that were rolling in to Aaron's video were hilarious and mind you, most of those comments were made by Singaporeans. For me, that sounded more like a compliment than an insult.

The only time when there's any indication that he might have sounded offensive was when he tried to pronounce Aaron Tan's name and how he briefly mentioned how all Asians spoke English like Aaron. That's all. And if you ask me, those three incidents were mostly trivial and certainly undeserving of the backlash and negative comments that most Singaporeans are throwing unto him. Added together, those 3 incidents comprised less than 20 seconds of the whole 4 minutes video.

Besides, why are we so angry at him anyway? After all, all that he's doing is what most of us have been doing all along, which is making fun of Aaron Tan, except maybe in a different way. So why the special attention? Why is he the target of all the flak but not other people who made fun of Aaron too like Mr Brown? Is it just because he's an American and deep in our mind, all Westerners are bad? Who are the ones who are prejudiced now?

I don't know. When I watched his video, I certainly did not got as pissed off as most people did. Only when I saw the comments and the tweets did I know that so many people were pissed at him. Although I was a little annoyed by the Asian comment but come on, aren't all of us guilty of stereotyping to a certain extent? How some of us responded to his video is a prime example. Besides, why can't the most of us take the whole issue in a light hearted manner? Calling him a "dog", "nigga" and "racist" is certainly an overreaction.

Making fun of the stereotypes

Besides, he's from the US. If you've been to websites like 9gag, you would know that well, Americans are just Americans. They're not the brightest people around but that doesn't mean we should all act all self righteous and start taking this whole issue as if it's an act of war and we need to preserve the national identity or something like that. Calling him in derogatory names is not gonna make him change his mindset to a better one. It's just gonna worsen the situation which is evident from his second video.
One of the many American posts from 9gag
Well, perhaps it's just me. Maybe I'm not "Asian" enough to understand the full impact of the insult he hurled at us. But in my opinion, if you really wanted to deal with people like FadedHolySoldier, one should have told him in a polite manner that perhaps his comment of how all Asians spoke broken English might have been inappropriate and ask whether he could change it. Calling him nigga or racist straight away without giving him the opportunity to change makes us no different from the names that we call him.

Oh well, I guess all of us just needed a punching bag after the SMRT line broke down and poor FadedHolySoldier just seemed to appear at the right time.

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