1 March 2015

What am I doing in The Real Singapore?

So unreal.

I have to admit, I like The Real Singapore (TRS)... on Facebook.

Ooh, will someone make a police report against me for sedition?

TRS has been in the spotlight recently after The New Paper broke the news that two people believed to be behind the socio-political website were arrested under the Sedition Act for posting remarks online “that could promote ill will and hostility among the different races in Singapore” and are released on bail.

In the wake of the news, Yahoo Singapore reported that the arrests received “more cheers than jeers online”.

Too bad the same thing can’t be said for the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Oscar show last Sunday.

But one TRS fan tweeted support with the hashtag #RIPfreedomofspeech, even though the website appears to be carrying on as usual as if nothing has happened. So let’s hold off on the “freedom of speech” eulogies for now, shall we?

After all, this is the website that survived an online petition to shut it down last year. What’s a couple of police arrests? (Waves hand dismissively.)

The petition alleged:
“TRS has been posting articles which incite fear, hatred and xenophobia. On many occasions, it has also plagiarised work and altered content without the initial owner's explicit permission.”

The “inciting xenophobia” part is a bit ironic as Mr Brown pointed out on Twitter about the two arrested: “One of them is actually a foreigner. Quick, TRS! Say something xenophobic about FTs!”

So why do I “like” TRS on Facebook if it posts articles that “incite fear, hatred and xenophobia”?

Because it doesn't post only articles that “incite fear, hatred and xenophobia”.

For example, on Friday, TRS posted an article about how sleeping too much could raise the risk of stroke.

Sure, the article (copied and pasted from CBSNews.com) may incite fear of sleeping too much, but I found the article particularly pertinent because I really sleep a lot.

On the same day, TRS also shared the viral photo of The Dress That Broke The Internet because people couldn’t agree on what colour it is.

Even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared it on Facebook.

Like the PM, I say it’s white and gold, but since Mindef is making it more difficult to get the Gold Award in the new IPPT format, the dress could just be white and silver.

So you see, TRS isn't all about inciting fear, hatred and xenophobia. It also alerts me to the latest hooey that netizens are obsessing about.

Sure, I get the occasional obscenity-laden video of commuters fighting on public transport, but that's just a bonus.

Actually, I have a more personal reason for following TRS on Facebook.

Remember how the “Shut down TRS” online petition also alleged that TRS “plagiarised work” without the owner’s permission?

I am the owner of one such work.

Last November, TRS took one of my blog posts and reproduced the whole thing on its website.

It wasn’t exactly plagiarism since TRS did credit me as the author and provided a link to my blog, but TRS never asked for my permission.

I wasn’t sure how I felt or what to do about it.

On the one hand, I don’t want anyone to mistakenly think that I am a voluntary contributor to TRS.

On the other hand, I was flattered that TRS deemed my blog post worthy enough to reproduce without permission, even though my blog post about the inefficacy of online petitions didn't incite hatred for anything except perhaps online petitions.

Hey, maybe TRS reproduced my blog post because it’s no fan of online petitions too.

But do I really want to be associated with a website that even Mr Brown thinks is xenophobic?

On the other hand, according to SimilarWeb.com, TRS has an estimated 2.9 million monthly visits, which is 300 times more than what my blog gets.

Getting that kind of web traffic is like winning the Hong Bao Draw in blogger terms.

Not that my blog got any visits from the TRS link. But the potential readership!

(Even tnp.sg has only 1.2 million monthly visits, but straitstimes.com has 8.6 million.)

Maybe I should be more upset I’m not getting a piece of TRS’ ad revenue they’re supposedly bragging about.

In the end, I did nothing about TRS stealing my content — but I’m keeping an eye on the website to see if it does it again.

Is it too late for me to make a police report since people seem to be making police reports about all sorts of things nowadays?

Just let me take a nap first.

- Published in The New Paper, 1 March 2015

Dear S M Ong and TNP

Thank you for the article and a Return kind gesture to you
Saw S M Ong's handsome cartoon face on his page 'What am I doing here?'(Sunday/ TNP 1/3/2015) and got hooked to his debate on the color of his dress article (Big news as every Press and even TV News broadcast it!) though I of course , does not wear one (as a man).

As a contributor for your Forum 'Your Views' page throughout the years (You can check my TNP's account) I would like to thank TNP especially SM Ong for continue supporting 1 of my article on the 'Yellow Ribbon' Beauty Queen Boomz by suggesting to 'Tie that Yellow Ribbon round her' and thus, render my return support for his article in these 2 ways:

1. Although you state that you are not a contributor of TRS by choice but your quote of 'WHAT am I doing here?' (TNP 1/3/2015) has kindly supported the title of my 'World Heritage cum Arts Treasure' (WHAT) exhibition for SG 50. (Yes, Singaporean's are famous for asking What? What? and more What?) and would thus like to include you in my SMC (Social Media Consultancy). Don't worry, the police will not be looking for you as even the National Leaders have joined my club!

2. I am also very impressed that Ong can turn the perspective of physical White and Gold color into another mental perspective of Gold representing army's physical fitness award, which is hard to achieve and settle for Silver instead. We all know which Political Party 'White color' stands for and would like to confirm and double confirm that Gold color here stands for Singapore's 50th 'Gold-en jubilee' which is also part of my WHAT project. (So kindly don't change PM's wise choice color. We can also consider making it Singapore's official 'dress code' color for 2015. Ha!)

Will email you on WHAT project launch date and Happy Golden Jubilee Yr 2015 to TNP
Victor Yap
Principal Consultant of Social Media Consultancy
Retired Long service award Politician

25 February 2015

Another 'online spat': Glenn Ong versus... me?

I guess this has been a long time coming.

In respose to my column on Sunday about his 'online spat' with Nicholas Lee, Glenn Ong tweeted this today:

He also went on Instagram:

And tweeted:

Do I finally get to be in an 'online spat' with a local celebrity?

As Dolly from Under One Roof used to say, so exciting!

So I tweeted back to Glenn:

He replied:

I corrected him:

Understandable mistake. Glenn probably confused Say Say Say with Richie's Say You Say Me.

Then a sudden change of heart:

And just like that, Glenn's "online spat" with me was over.

Not exactly the thriller one had hoped.

EARLIER: Still a jerk? Glenn Ong versus Nicholas Lee (and VR Man)

22 February 2015

Still a jerk? Glenn Ong versus Nicholas Lee (and VR Man)

Glenn Ong again?

Yes, I’m aware that I wrote about the former radio DJ just last month.

Can I help it if last week, his second ex-wife Jamie Yeo revealed in a magazine interview that their 2009 break-up was her fault and that she was “really sorry”?

That is a game-changing revelation about Ong, who has provided this column with so much material since he announced his separation from Yeo on his radio show six years ago on Valentine's Day. How romantic.

Then, less than two weeks later, he announced he was dating another DJ, Jean Danker.

There was speculation that Ong was already “dating” Danker during his marriage to Yeo, leading to the split.

Since Ong already had one failed marriage with another DJ, the late Kate Reyes, where Yeo herself was alleged to be the third party, it was easy to jump to the conclusion that he was the bad guy.

Or “scum-worthy”, as radio DJ Joe Augustin put it in 2001 after Ong’s split with Reyes.

Augustin and Ong must have since kissed and made up as Augustin was Ong's last on-air partner before Ong quit MediaCorp last month to become a director at some consulting firm called Cirvis.

That's 50 Shades Of Glenn for ya.

But now Yeo has set the record straight — not about whether she was responsible for breaking up Ong’s first marriage, but about being responsible for breaking up his second marriage and her first.

In response to Yeo's bombshell, Ong, 45, told The New Paper last week:
“Maybe this will answer the questions of a lot of people who blamed me for the split. I bore the brunt of it for years, with netizens calling me a jerk and saying I had cheated on her and was the cause of it all.”
On behalf of all those netizens, I concede that they might have been wrong to say Ong cheated on Yeo - but the jury is still out on whether he is a jerk.

We need a character witness.

I know! Let's get Nicholas Lee.

The actor first came to fame in the 90s as a cast member of Singapore’s first sitcom, Under One Roof.

But today, he is probably better known for his recent online spat with Ong over another local show on Channel 5, a futuristic sci-fi drama called 2025.

It stars Lim Kay Tong, who coincidentally will also appear in another production with a year as the title, playing Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the upcoming movie, 1965.

How does Lim travel from 10 years in the future to 50 years in the past? In a hot tub time machine, of course.

So is 2025 any good?

Here is Glenn Ong’s Twitter review:

I have to disagree with him here.

VR Man was not funny.

Sure, the short clips of the 1998 series starring James Lye on YouTube are unintentionally hilarious.

But if you ever sit through a complete episode, you will realise it’s no laughing matter. You’ll wish for a hot tub time machine to get back the 60 minutes you wasted watching the show.

But I wasn’t the only who took umbrage at Ong’s tweet.

2025 happens to be produced by Nicholas Lee’s pornographically-named production company, XXX Studios.

In response to Ong dissing his show, Lee retorted: “Spends his entire career talking cock. Even after quitting still talks shit. Fuck Glenn Ong.”

I think it's safe to say Lee thinks Ong is a jerk.

I’m not sure whose side to take in this mini feud as I have been both a critic and a producer of criticised local shows.

Like Ong, I have been frustrated by how unwatchable local shows can be. We haters gonna hate.

On the other hand, I applaud Lee for standing up for his show and the people in his company who worked so hard to produce 2025, although he could’ve used fewer expletives.

As Lee told The Straits Times: “The show represents the collective efforts of over 200 Singaporeans over 14 months under very challenging circumstances.”

All this publicity could’ve even improved the show’s ratings last night.

You know who really should be angry with Ong? The people who worked so hard to produce VR Man all those years ago.

How dare Ong compare VR Man to 2025? What an insult to VR Man.

At least people are still talking about VR Man more than a decade later. You think anyone will even remember 2025 in 2025?

I’m going to be a jerk and say no.

Lim Kay Tong may be Mr Lee Kuan Yew, but he is no James Lye.

- Published in The New Paper, 22 February 2015


Why VR Man will outlive us all

Why I'm afraid to bump into Glenn Ong

UPDATE: Another 'online spat': Glenn Ong versus... me?


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