Monday, March 26, 2012

Fighting fire with a flamethrower

S'pore's vigilante justice triumphs as a Chinese scholar takes a whole bunch of penalties for a careless, emotional outburst online. In an instance of fighting a matchstick with a flamethrower, there are even a couple of [those whom I shall respectfully address as] commentators who argue that the penalties are not harsh enough, blah, blah.

While it is true that the scholar's online rant was 'improper, insensitive and disrespectful to the community' and did, indeed, '[stir] up considerable unease, distrust and ill-will within and beyond the university community', the latter bit was due in no small part to the overly sensitive, easily-provoked, thin-skinned nature of an insecure yet belligerently vocal community that will not stand for the slightest criticism.

(This is also likely to be the same community that criticizes its government for being unable to take criticism. Hence the community is but a reflection of its government, but anyway...)

It's a double standard that our active netizenry will take any opportunity to post all kinds of unflattering criticism at anything and anyone, but when someone dares to say something against us, the pitchforks and torches all come out to celebrate a good lynch party.

For a slight, we will extract vengeance to the full extent of whichever law we can bring to bear on the case. Because of a misplaced word we will take the opportunity to burn an effigy in protest of our sad, miserable, deprived existence, and to decry all the misfortunes we have been cursed with living on this tiny dot of an island. Too bad if our straw man also happens to be a real human being, albeit with a foul mouth and a quick posting finger.

Who cares about the ISA looking over our shoulders ready to detain us for inciting violence or causing inter-ethnic or religious tensions? The local neighbourhood watch is an even bigger threat to our freedom of online speech.

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