Wednesday 20 March 2013

My Joanne Peh break-up column is a triple threat online

This is interesting ... probably only to me and no one else.

My latest Joanne Peh column has been republished on three different SPH websites.

AsiaOne Showbiz

The Straits Times Communities Entertainment

AsiaOne Diva

This has never happened before.

I would like to think that it's because I wrote such a brilliant column, but it's more likely people just can't get enough of Joanne Peh and her break-up with Bobby Tonelli.

Hey, at least, they used my picture on AsiaOne Diva. It's the only one with some comments. They include:

It's a private matter. What is it to you Mr. Ong?


To split with someone is not a happy occasion, unlike somebody's spouse giving birth or change to a brand new car?

So why would the former want to announce her split in Instagram or tweet about it? That is something not worth celebrating, or to crow about, isn't it? Is the writer crazy or nuts?

And this is one beef (not horse meat) I have with my column being republished elsewhere outside of The New Paper on Sunday.

In the paper, my column is printed under the heading "Humour" (along with Neil Humphrey's column).

Many people have complained that my column shouldn't be classified under "Humour" because it's not humorous at all. I can't argue with that.

But the "Humour" heading is important because it's supposed to signal to readers that the article is not to be taken seriously.

(Other clues are the words "ACT BLUR" below my byline.)

Just like when you see an online news story attributed to New Nation or The Onion, you should know better than to share it on Facebook like it's real news without "lol" somewhere in your comments, like Chris Ho and former minister Lim Hwee Hua did.

So when my column is taken out of the The New Paper context and republished without the "Humour" label, people actually believe that I expect Joanne Peh to announce her break-up on Instagram. (I did expect her to mention it on Twitter though.)

I loathe the expressions "tongue in cheek" and "should be taken with a pinch of salt", but they apply here.

Sadly, even with the "Humour" heading in the paper, many readers of The New Paper still take me quite literally, resulting in some unhappy e-mails.

It's because of this fear of potential misunderstanding that the published Joanne Peh column is somewhat different from the uncut version on this blog.

Yes, even the three other online versions are adulterated.

Or maybe improved. I'm too close to tell.