Wednesday, November 21, 2012

i need to make studying my hobby

I'm bored from all the studying. And by "all the studying" I mean one chapter, wait, three quarters of a chapter out of the twelve chapters that I need to read for exam. And there's three other modules/subjects that I have not even touched yet.

Anyways, I got bored and I went on to Twitter, part of my routine to find some distractions from studying. It's been a while since there was any big incidents that got everybody talking at the same time in Singapore's Twitterverse since that Cecilia Sue and the Alvin + Vivian saga, and I was wondering when will the next big saga erupt. In steps @hellofrmSG.

Well, for all of you who have never heard of this Twitter account before, or has never been on Twitter in any way, @hellofrmSG is in it's creators words, a "rotation curation project", a very sophisticated term which basically means a public Twitter account where the person handling the account changes every week, in attempt to give a glimpse to its followers what the country of origin of that Twitter account is like. Or something like that. To get a rough idea of what rotation curation actually means and a brief history of it, you can visit http://rotationcuration.com/ or http://asiancorrespondent.com/86388/hellofrmsg-rotation-curation-hits-singapore.

To keep the story short, a girl named Kay took over the account this week on November 18th from the previous curator, the person managing the account, @junshenc, and immediately posted one Tweet that would later spark a furore among Singapore Twitter users. One could accuse the tweet as being the root cause of this saga. Said tweet is boxed in red:


some of the first few tweets from Kay after taking over


And later, the reaction:


some of the tweets that I found, the discussion is still ongoing, just Twitter search @hellofrmSG and you'll see


Perhaps the majority's view can be summed up by Mr Brown:


looking from the majority of tweets, i guess this is how a majority of Singaporeans are feeling


You know what I think? I think it's high time I start archiving and documenting all these outbursts whenever one pops up. I don't know if it's a uniquely Singaporean culture or if it's generalizable to other countries where Twitter is prevalent as well, but I do notice that there's a high tendency from the Singapore Twitterverse to stamp down and attack whoever that is presumed to be dissenting from the norm and whom is judged to be different, so to say. Like a bogeyman figure.

While I don't agree with how Kay dealt with the criticisms thrown to her in general, responding to personal attacks aggressively and blocking accounts that is criticizing you is considered a big no-no when it comes to social media, and that a better guideline and measures could have been put in place to avoid this incident but my general opinion is that the reaction to her tweets were completely blown out of proportion, just like the many incidents that came before it. The Cecilia Sue incident, the court case of the men who solicited the underage prostitute, the Hosehbo girl (anyone still remembers her?) and the list goes on.

But then again, I won't go around preaching my views,saying that everyone who responded should mind their business instead and stop acting so self-righteous. Instead, I find it interestingly peculiar that on and off, an incident like this would pop up and set the Twitterverse and even the forums and Facebook abuzz with the discussion. For a moment in time, you'll find everyone talking about the issue, seemingly united in their way of thinking.

A sociologist might argue that the act of condemning one person as a whole, in this case as Singaporeans who are proud of the Singlish identity, help solidifies group membership and binds us all together in an invisible relationship. The sociologist might add that such discussion offers a break from the daily routine of life, which is dead boring in nature, and offers a form of escape where the average person could be part of something greater, say the Singaporean identity. The same can be said for church memberships (damn those religious zealots), school affiliations or any community which we belong. The sociologist would then end off by concluding that perhaps the act of social judging, or whatever you call it, where a group of people come together to talk about someone (gossip on a wider scale, perhaps) serves a social function that glues the society together and keeps it working. Like how I'm using blogging to escape from the daily mundaneness of having to study.


judging others, now a favorite national past time


Sociology aside, the whole drama ended as soon as it started. Kay decided that handling such a public account was too much for her and decided to hand the Twitter account back to the creators. There were those that were hoping to see more drama but I guess for the majority of us, it's back to life as usual.


her picture was even removed


Moral of the story? Well, don't handle public accounts. Or always make politically correct statements. Wait, no matter what statements you make, there's bound to be people that will be happy with it. Just don't handle public accounts. Even saying some food is yucky can get you into hot soup.

"What? How dare you say hor fun is not nice?! You are disrespecting Singapore by saying that!"

Or you could just ignore those who are terribly self-righteous. I wonder how would I fare as the @hellofrmSG curator? I'm thinking all my tweets will be something like, "Hello from the handsomest guy from SG here! If you think there's another person who is more handsome than me, he's not from SG!" or "SG guys are all handsome looking. Mine is the best example".

Yep, puke all you want there. I'm gonna go back to the mundaneness of studying.


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