Well… Big Sister, if you prefer it that way 🙂
It was with much amusement that I saw a mini-saga being born out of a silly facebook status update made by one Amy Cheong (above), supposedly some Assistant Director with NTUC. Comments that followed on fb, on twitter, on hardware zone forums… etc. ranged from indignant ones to defensive ones to irrelevant ones (about the poster’s angmoh husband). While I don’t deny that I’m interested what follow-up actions NTUC are gonna take, personally, this is merely another (sensationalized) incident that further stresses the necessity of self-censorship.
Self-censorship vs Freedom of Speech.
Turn the clock back to more than a decade. This was heavily discussed in more than one of the modules I took in school (well… am a Mass Communication student afterall). Back then, I was 100% for freedom of speech, against any form of censorship. I used to think that if you self-censor, you are doing yourself a disservice by not getting your full views out. However, as I grew older and as I read about incidences as such, I started to see the importance of self-censorship to maintain social harmony.
Note: This does not include censorship in entertainment… I haven’t changed my stand against that cos I think it’s totally bullshit for a film to be cut just cos a certain group of people may find it offensive – it’s a MOVIE (or a video game / or a novel) ffs. Why so serious? 😛
People have to recognize that by posting a status update, by twitting (or is it twittering? Whatever!) or by publishing a blog post… etc. they are putting their thoughts into the public, and by doing so, there are real repercussions should a sensitive topic be mentioned. Stuff like race, religion, politics, sexuality… are highly volatile. People should really think carefully about what they have written, and how they have written it, before they hit the “post” button… or at least have the wisdom to make their posts private to friends only.
Somehow, this reminds much of a sexist status update a friend made on facebook – it ended up with me & another girl (whom I do not know) blasting him for it… lol poor guy was asleep when that took place and only saw the flood of comments when he woke the nxt morning ~ the update was just a joke he copied of somewhere else. My point is… YOU may think something is funny, but others won’t know you are joking nor even seen the humor in it. Irl, people will be able to determine this from your facial expressions, your body language and your tone of voice. On the internet, those cues are absent. Words are read for what they are – plain text.
Perhaps, just perhaps, all Amy Cheong intended to do was rant about the noise… and chances are, no one would bat an eyelid if that was merely what she did. However, going on to comment about how a void deck wedding is cheap and isn’t real, then further linking that to the rising rate of divorce was uncalled for. Pretty sure that is the part that got people pissed. Specifically stating that it was a “Malay wedding” was the nail in her coffin. Like it or not, Singapore is a racially diverse society – everyone of us, has the responsibility to “keep the peace”… and yes, even if that means self-censorship.
Food for thought.