It’s been a colourful week online! Thanks to two juicy scandals involving social influencers.
(I obsessed over both for days, so I wouldn’t be writing any random thoughts post this week)
For the benefit of those who do not know, Singaporeans were treated to two juicy social media scandals this week. Both cases involved social influencers. The first was that of a certain frozen dessert shop in town reacting most vehemently to an online review. The second was far more solemn and appalling. A popular Singaporean performer was accused of sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein style.
Links to the respective stories, so that I don’t have to elaborate further.
By the way, I said both scandals involved social influencers because the owner of the frozen dessert store is said to be one.
Anyway, comments! Oh, do I have so much to say about both scandals and all the personalities involved! But … I’d be decent and try to be cordial. I’d summarise by saying, I feel there’s much more involved than just one bad review in the case of the frozen dessert store. As for the sexual harassment one, I believe this would leave a dark mark on Singaporean society for a long time.
On the frozen dessert store. While the owner/managers have shown themselves to be quite clueless about business PR, it still baffles me as to why they responded to ONE online review so strongly. Businesses are flooded with negative online reviews, fair or unfair, true or fake, on a daily basis. That practically all manage to continue operating, isn’t it proof that reviews are not omnipotent, especially when it’s just ONE review?
And given how heavily said store relies on online marketing, that its poster boys and girls are all, erm, social influencers of sorts, I would have thought they’d understand this better than the rest of us. On top of knowing better than to respond so vehemently.
Vehemence that include liberally redefining the meaning of the word “threat,” and insisting on the new definition. Vehemence that includes slapping legal terms around like a stinky wet towel too.
Could it be the case then that they are not reacting to the review, but something else?
Some sort of, I don’t know, previous bad blood?
Someone on Facebook commented the whole thing is like a meow-meow fight between little girls. (Known as mei mei in SG). As everyone knows, meow-meow fights always involve all sorts of delicious undisclosed feuds and vendettas. Is this what’s happening here?
On the Eden Ang scandal, juicy as the details are, I feel this bear grave consequences for all of us in Singapore.
Grave consequences not because of the likelihood that many Harvey Weinsteins exist among us. Or that that any of us could be liberally accused of such sexual harassment, and achieve nationwide notoriety overnight, as long as popular social media personalities are the ones who spilled the beans. It’s because the police’s reputation got smeared during the accusations.
Put it this way. You bet the police is not going to forgive this slight. Their boss, the government, is even more unlikely to let this pass, especially with their current crusade against fake news. The fallout of this incident is thus the extreme possibility that the government would soon enact various regulations to prevent recurrences. For the common Singaporean, what is this going to translate into? What kind of new laws targeting social media are we going to get?
Would there soon be a law requiring people with a certain degree of social media influence to be REGISTERED? An agency for this purpose established overnight?
Would registration also involve some sort of hefty monetary deposit? Or complex paperwork? The requirements for endorsement, guarantors, what have you?
The possibilities are terrifying. But you can’t blame the government. Because they were indeed victimised by Dee Kosh’s initial broadcast.
From a broader perspective, there’s also the damage to the #metoo campaign this affair claims to be part of. For the record, I’m not against women speaking up against sexual harassment. In fact, I feel there should be some sort of special police outlet specifically for the reporting of such crimes. Given the revelations about Lilith*, the first victim, would (Singaporean) men accused of sexual harassment soon be energetically citing Eden Ang’s case as an example of how such accusations should not be trusted? Would Lilith end up being the poster girl for their defence?
I bet it’s going to be.
And so it’s terrible news for all of us, male and female. All because of one irresponsible rant by a social personality. Coupled with the ugliness of the frozen dessert store nonsense, no wonder some Singaporeans are now calling such personalities social “influenzas.” I hope the people involved in both incidences give a serious think about what they are doing, before they find their entire industry, and themselves, avoided like real sickness.
* Okay. I can’t resist. A girl who named herself after the mythological Queen of the Succubi claiming sexual harassment. Hmm.