Monday 29 October 2018

Whoops! Am I a cyberbully? It's a Syn (Media Literacy Council not very media-literate)

I think I may be a cyberbully.

At least that’s what the Media Literacy Council (MLC) has led me to believe.

Last Thursday, MLC posted on Facebook a series of illustrations for parents under the heading “Signs your child is a cyberbully”.

The first sign is “He/she quickly switches screens or closes programs when you walk by”.

Oh, no. That’s what I do whenever my wife walks by while I’m watching a Blackpink video.

The second sign is “Laughs excessively while using the computer”.

Oh, no. That’s what I do sometimes during a Blackpink video.

The third sign is “Get unusually upset if he/she cannot use the computer”.

Oh, no. That’s what happens to me when my wife bans me from using the computer because I watch too many Blackpink videos.

I’m a cyberbully!

But the council’s Facebook post was criticised for being “simplistic” and “disconnected from internet culture”.

One commenter wrote:
“For something called the media literacy council you guys aren’t very literate in new media hahaha. Confirm run by old uncles and aunties who pretend that they understand youths but don’t. Better ask ah boy or ah girl to teach you how to book on the facebooks and gram on the instagrams.”

A little history. The MLC was formed in 2012 by the Government to “actively develop public education programmes that will help the public navigate media, especially the Internet, safely and responsibly”.

But last week, instead of MLC educating the public about the Internet, it seemed the public was educating the MLC.

In response to the comments, the senior citizens of the council posted a mea culpa of sorts on Friday:
“WHOOPS! We’ve heard you. Our post meant to give generic examples to describe a cyber-bully, but we should have probably included some specific descriptions in the post. We’ll follow up on this asap!”

That wasn’t well received either.

Someone commented:
“Still reads like someone doesn’t want to fully admit how incorrect the post was, and tries to make it a ‘joke’ to save face.”
But more importantly, what I want to know is – am I a cyberbully or not?

Confession: The MLC post is not the only reason I think I may be a cyberbully.

Anyone remember Mr Cuthbert Syn? Probably not.

Three years ago, he became famous (or infamous) after a picture of him in a Reserved seat on the train went viral.

Asked to give up his seat to a woman carrying a baby, he refused and reportedly said: “It’s my choice and I’m tired after work.”

He later explained to The Straits Times: “I’m usually a shy person who will give up his seat to those in need. But I had worked late and was feeling tired and unwell last night.”

Vilified online, Mr Syn was also mocked for his weight and receding hairline.

So I wrote an article in The New Paper that said it was wrong to fat-shame and bald-shame the man.

That was in 2015.

Last year, I was taken aback to see an e-mail in my inbox with the subject line: “Letter of Demand - To remove article on website”.

It was from Mr Syn.

He wrote:
“I would want the article to be removed immediately. As this has caused me a lot of distress since 2015, especially when I am unwell due to a heart disease.

Under the Protection of Harassment Act (POHA), your article is an offence.

Legal action will be taken if the article is not removed.”
Wait, what?

In the first place, it had been two years since he went viral. No one is interested in reading about him any more. He was old news.

Second, my article was actually kinda defending him. And this was the thanks I got?

Third, even though my article can no longer be found online, other articles about him abound on the web, including The Straits Times report I mentioned earlier.

Last and not least, why bring up the Protection from (not “of”) Harassment Act? The 2014 law was designed to make cyberbullying a criminal offence.

Was I cyberbullying Mr Syn?

Or was he the one cyberbullying me by threatening legal action?

MLC is no help.

I wish my wife would let me use the computer so that I can Google for more information and definitely not watch any more Blackpink videos.

Fortunately, I still have my iPhone. Jisoo is so pretty, even on the smaller screen.

- Published in The New Paper, 29 October 2018

Wednesday 24 October 2018

NUS goes strawless (and to protest, someone on NUS Whispers claims to have bought 1,000 straws just to throw them away )

It's not just KFC and Burger King.

Last week, the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced to students and staff:
With effect from 17 October 2018, the drink stalls at the canteens, food courts and selected F&B outlets/restaurants will no longer be giving out plastic straws. This will be replaced with paper straws on demand. We encourage you to go straw-free or bring your own reusable straws to help us care for the environment. Paper straws will still be made available on demand if there is a need.
More than a week later, people on NUS Whispers are still divided on whether the plastic straw ban is a good idea:

One thousand camels' back broken?

Monday 22 October 2018

CSC Run By The Bay: I saw an otter

CSC stands for Civil Service Club.

Flag-off for the half marathon category in CSC Run By The Bay on Saturday was 5.15pm. Yes, it was sunny and a bit hot for a race.

I grabbed my first cup of H-Two-O after the 7km mark, which meant I had pretty much given up. I just wasn't feeling it.

I went to pee twice for the first time in a race.

Also, I saw an otter for the first time, near the Otters Crossing sign no less. I was surprised by how big the animal was. It was like a seal with legs.

Relive 'Csc run by the bay'

This was one of those races where I swore I would never sign up for another half marathon again. It was my second worse 21km performance ever.

Whatever form I had for the Army and Bintan half marathons is gone.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe it was the shoes. Maybe it's just my overall lack of fitness.

This was the second time I joined an evening half marathon and both times, I did miserably. So maybe I just don’t do well in night races.

At least I saw an otter.

Monday 15 October 2018

$1,500 bus stop bench? Ikea, Courts cheaper

Are you sitting down?

Apparently, a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500.

And it’s not even created by Banksy. (Or is it?)

I mean, that’s even more than the cash prize the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore winner gets, which is only $1,000.

The pageant organiser could just give her two thirds of a bus stop bench.

How do I know a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500?

Because The Straits Times reported last week that such a bench was stolen by Tan Ke Wei, who was sentenced to a seven-day short detention order for committing mischief and thereby causing damage or loss amounting to $500 and above.

Seat happens.

ST said the incident occurred in June last year near midnight when Tan was waiting for a bus.

Apparently, the bus took so long to arrive that Tan started “meddling” with the bolts that secured the bench and he managed to unscrew all eight with his fingers. He then wrapped the dismantled bench in a garbage bag and took a taxi home.

My question is, did he just conveniently happen to have a garbage bag with him?

Some people carry an umbrella in case it rains. I guess this fella carries a garbage bag in case he needs to wrap a bench he removed from a bus stop.

And did Tan take a taxi because he missed the last bus of the night, since it was already around midnight when he started unscrewing the bench?

The midnight surcharge must have cost him an arm and a leg, though probably not as much as the bench.

But why did he take the bench in the first place?

Tan reportedly “intended to renovate his new flat with a bus stop design concept”.

Wait. Did I miss an issue of Home & Decor?

Is public transport-themed interior design the latest thing along with plogging and flossing (the Fortnite dance, not cleaning between your teeth)?

Who doesn’t want to be reminded that they are too poor to afford a car even when they are at home?

After all, Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin said last month:
“When you talk to the young, it appears to me it is becoming very fashionable not to drive so much, maybe not to even own a car, and to take public transport more, to take the trains more and to take the buses more, even to walk and to cycle.”
Call me Mr Fashionable then.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind renovating my flat with an MRT platform design concept if I can get one of those giant ceiling fans.

You’ll need an ez-link card to enter my flat.

But the biggest question of all is, how can a bus stop bench cost $1,500?

And I thought the new iPhones were overpriced.

With that kind of money, the hawkers at Jurong West Hawker Centre could pay for 7,500 returned trays at 20 cents each.

It didn’t help that after the ST report came out, both Ikea and Courts posted ads on Facebook promoting benches costing noticeably less than $1,500.

As if to rub it in Tan’s face, Ikea touted its $159 Industriell bench as “No dismantling required” and Courts said its $179 Callum dining bench “comes with no detention”.

Kick a fella when he’s down, why dontcha? I think those ads are a form of cyber-bullying.

But judging by the pictures of their benches in those ads, I find the Ikea and Courts offerings don’t quite capture the special essence of a place where I would wait for a bus and contemplate the meaning of my car-lite existence, if any.

So as enticing as the lack of dismantling and detention may be, it seems that if I really want to authentically recreate the grim ambience of a bus stop in my home, only a $1,500 bench will do.

Perhaps I can win the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore contest one and a half times.

- Published in The New Paper, 15 October 2018


With regards to your article, I think the bigger concern we should be looking at is why are the taxpayers paying 1500 dollars for a bus bench?

Who is the company selling it? I’m sure if you do some proper digging, it will be all about ‘commission’ and lining certain people’s pocket.

Sent from Aedie's iPhone

Sunday 14 October 2018

Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run in the rain

Flag-off at a little past 7.30am for Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run (8km) this morning.

I jogged from home to the starting line, which added 3km to my distance..

It rained, which made the weather nice and cool for running. I don't mind getting wet because I get wet from sweat anyway.

I didn't know SPCA is in the area.

Relive 'Choa Chu Kang Big Farm Run'

EARLIER: Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run 2015