Not long ago, I was taking the MRT and the guy sitting next to me fell asleep.
As he leaned on me, I took a picture with my iPhone and posted it on Instagram and Facebook.
“Providing a shoulder for a sleeping fellow passenger on the train of life. #singaporean”I thought I was being so whimsical.
But when my wife saw it, she scolded me like hell. “How could you do that? It’s not nice,” she said.
Huh? What did I do wrong?
So I took a picture of the guy without his knowledge. Shrug.
A stranger falling asleep on you is something that happens to everyone who takes the train.
My wife has fallen asleep on the MRT many times. What if someone had taken a picture of her... oh, I see her problem.
It’s a privacy issue then, but I still didn’t see what the big deal was. I see people posting pictures of strangers doing funny things all the time.
My wife realised I didn’t know something about the picture I had posted. She told me to look at the picture again carefully. But I still couldn’t see it.
“He’s drooling,” she said.
I looked at the picture again and now saw a string of saliva hanging from the corner of the guy’s mouth.
Oh, why didn’t I see that earlier? That just made it a more interesting picture.
All the more reason I should’ve shared it. I still couldn’t see what my wife was so upset about.
She said that people might think I was making fun of the guy’s drooling and that just made me look like an “a-hole” (to use the self-censored term radio DJ Joe Augustin used last week to describe a blind woman).
Or at least a bigger “a-hole” than I already resembled.
My wife asked: “What if the guy found out about the photo?”
Yeah, right. That was about as likely as the MRT never getting disrupted again.
There was no way the guy in the picture would come to know about the picture.
That must be what Miss Jesslyn Tan thought too when she posted a picture of another man sleeping on the train two Saturdays ago.
Apparently referring to a hole in the shirt the man was wearing, Miss Tan captioned her photo: “Holey moley. Sibei trendy worzxxz.”
Unfortunately for her, the man in her picture did come to know about the picture. He told The New Paper in Mandarin: “I just don’t understand why a small hole on my shirt made people laugh so much.”
Okay, a few things.
Wouldn’t a better caption be “Holey shirt!”?
Actually, I’m not even sure if I can see the hole in his shirt in the picture. It could be just a shadow, which would kind of negate the whole point of the post.
If I were Miss Tan, I would’ve commented on how the man didn’t look elderly enough to be sitting in the reserved seat.
And he certainly didn’t look pregnant.
Also, what does “worzxxz” mean? Is it a mistyped word or another one of those Internet abbreviations none of us are hip enough to understand?
Regardless, Miss Tan’s Facebook post went viral after someone claiming to be the man’s daughter criticised Miss Tan for “laughing at others”.
The “daughter” wrote: “Not everyone is as lucky as you, making money off looks. We do not have the money to buy fancy clothes.”
But the man told TNP later that he is neither rich nor poor and the reason he doesn’t replace his holey shirts is that new shirts will get holes anyway due to the nature of his job.
Nonetheless, he is so embarrassed by all the publicity that he reportedly wants to quit his job at the Teochew porridge stall.
The irony is that if the “daughter” hadn’t criticised Miss Tan’s post, the photo probably wouldn’t have gone viral and there would’ve been no publicity to be embarrassed by.
Talk about misery city.
After getting flamed, Miss Tan has since removed the post and apologised, but others continued to pile on, making fun of her looks and calling her the next Anton Casey.
Mr Casey should have such great legs.
Miss Tan has been vilified as another rich person looking down on the poor, but I would like to point out that she was taking the MRT (assuming that she took the picture of the holey shirt man herself).
Perhaps her Ferrari was in the shop, but I suspect that being a mere former Miss Singapore Universe finalist like Miss Tan is a long way from being a former Miss Singapore Universe winner like Mr Casey’s wife, Bernice Wong.
I may have never been in a swimsuit competition, but I could’ve been cyber-lynched like Miss Tan because of my own picture of a sleeping man on the MRT posted on Facebook.
I hate it when my wife is right.
Luckily for me, my sleeping guy didn’t have a holey shirt.
So what’s a little drool?
I hope he doesn’t have a “daughter”.
My wife is making me delete the photo.
- Published in The New Paper, 23 March 2014