Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the land of the self-righteous

Question: Where can you find the largest gathering of self-righteous people on Earth?
Answer: Singapore's online world


yep, right about the little red dot there


This morning, I was greeted by an SMS from a fellow hall mate regarding the incident that took place in one of NUS's hall of residence, Kent Ridge Hall, just recently, asking us to be careful of what we post up on the internet nowadays. To give you a rough summary, basically a group of students got together to celebrate the end of Rag day in NUS and not surprisingly, there was alcohol involved. Naturally, some of them got a little carried away from all the drinking and when you're drunk, naturally you'll start blabbering nonsense.

That's not the sucky part though, because for reasons that we may never know, some smart fella decided to video down the whole post-rag party thing and upload it online. Bad move there, because as soon as the video was up on Facebook, another fella (who I presumed to have been left out of the party and was feeling very bitter about it) ripped off the video, posted it on Youtube and shared it on Temasek Review, the Facebook page which was blasted by Xiaxue a long time ago, under the post named "The Face of Haters".


Temasek Review is at best "an extremist online publication" according to Xiaxue, and after what they did today, I sincerely agree with her


While I do think that it is never good to drink to the point of being drunk and that posting a photo or video of you being drunk online is the stupidest thing that you can possibly do, I was more sickened by the comments written by some of the Temasek Review readers and the whole action of Temasek Review themselves in choosing to over-blow the entire issue.


The original post that appeared on the Temasek Review (click for a clearer view)


There's a lot of things that I dislike in life, but nothing irks me more than a bunch of self-righteous people on the internet who has nothing better to do than to judge people through their keyboard. And since you guys love to judge people so much, allow me to judge you right straight back.

For starters, a lot of the comments lament about the fact that how students nowadays are consuming alcohol like crazy and how it spoils our Asian culture etc etc. It would seem that these bunch of people either have never passed through a stage called youth before or for their entire life remained enclosed in their house, memorizing all the religious texts or sutras, proud of their uptight nature. 

I'm sure that growing up, there's bound to be a stage where we're extra rebellious, perhaps a bit more adventurous and would prefer to have more fun instead. That's the whole point of being teenagers, right? And I'm sure that if you ask you to name out all the crazy things that you did when you're young, you could certainly come out with a few. Perhaps the activities that you did were not the same, but I'm sure that your parents would have raised an eyebrow back at you then.

So why are we holding these group of students responsible for their action? Why can't the internet just take the whole situation as it is, youths having fun? And it's not like the working adults or the uncles/aunties don't drink you know. Even at the normal food centre or bars (like those in Holland V) you can easily find people drinking alcohol while socializing, how come no one talks about that? Is is merely because those people up there are from NUS?

And then there's the comments attacking the racist jokes uttered by the guy. I mean hello, he was drunk. All of us know the fact that when people are drunk, they start saying things that they don't mean too. And even if he's racist, so what? I'm sure that no matter what kind of look that we try to put up in public, deep down inside, we are inherently racist to a certain degree. We stereotype people, that's how we were brought up by our parents, government and education system. I mean, if the system categorizes you according to your skin colour, it's unavoidable that you start thinking along that line right? 

We were taught from young that all of us are different, that we belong to different races and unless we erase that, a certain degree of racism is here to stay. And it's not like he's going around pushing for some extremist viewpoint like abolish rights for the minorities nor is he sharing his viewpoints to a large audience, it was merely jokes made under a drunk condition. And if my eyes did not fail me, I think I saw a Malay or Indian guy sitting next to him in the video. If that is the case, if his friend was not offended by his jokes, why are we getting so worked up on it?


the said video


To be honest, I think this whole issue is lame from the beginning. It's not like the writers of TR (Temasek Review) has never done anything crazy before when they're young and seriously, if you really want to go after NUS students drinking alcohol, I suggest you go after the whole school instead because what I can tell you is that the students in the video were definitely not the only ones who consume alcohol on campus. And bar foreign exchange students like those from the US and Europe from coming in too, because from what I know, they have a stronger drinking culture than us. You don't want them to be polluting the minds of the nations brightest right?

And if you're a loyal reader of Temasek Review, I suggest that you stop. Or unlike their page at least. Because from what I see, they're a bunch of people who will do everything for the sake of making their publications sell, including destroying the life of a student. After all, all of us make mistakes when we're young, it's a part of growing up and finding ourselves, and I personally think that Justin should not be solely held accountable for his actions. 

If you really want to stamp out this evil culture of drinking, I suggest that you close down every single shop that sells alcohol in Singapore and make it illegal to drink, just like how chewing gum is illegal. That way, you wouldn't have any problems regarding teens drinking, because alcohol is not available anywhere. But I'm sure that more than half of those angry commentators would prefer to blame Justin instead because they themselves drink too. Hypocrites, that you can say. The same goes for racism.

Like it or not, I think it's becoming more and more of a Singapore culture where there's this tendency for everyone to suddenly be dang self-righteous online. Where it would seem like they have never done anything wrong before and that they were given the divine authority to judge and criticize using their keyboard. I don't know whether it's the stress of living on the little red dot or they just feel that they have a need to prove something in life, and the closest that they can get it is through self-righteous comments.

But what I do know is that the online scene in Singapore is like a stage. When you post something online, is like walking up to that stage and when you walk up a stage, you have to be prepared to be criticized and judged. The only problem is that in the audience seats, we have a very critical audience. An audience that would enjoy finding the faults in you more than admiring your strengths. An audience that feels a need to validate their own self-worth while stepping on yours.

It's a cruel stage up there, that I can tell you. And before you hit the upload button, you might want to think of the audience you have.


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