Arguing politics online. It gets heated and the people get vicious. Just scan through the comments section on political websites or Facebook pages and you can see the ugly side of people very quickly.
But now, a Facebook page has the dubious honor of hitting a new low.
Fabrications About the PAP, a Facebook page started and run by Jason Chua Chin Seng, has resorted to cyber-bullying a netizen whose only crime seems to be saying what people don’t want to hear. For that, he had his profile picture and “offending” comment posted on the page.
“What’s the big deal?” some may ask. Pictures of people get put up all the time, and sometimes those pictures are doctored to ridicule the people. True. But most of the time the “victims” are either politicians, for whom hatred and opposition comes with the territory, or key leaders of a political group. Some run their own websites, where they or their supporters give as good as they get.
But a common netizen, civil and reasoned in his interactions, getting a whole topic thread to mocking him, rather than answering his points?
Mr Chia’s comment was in reply to his post by Jason Chua.
And Jason Chua, instead of answering Mr Chia’s comment (or ignoring it if he had no proper reply), chose to go on the offensive instead.
You would expect that such a low blow, cyber-bullying a young man who has been civil and reasonable in his interactions with that FB page, would have offended its own members. But instead, it drew over 80 likes within a couple of days.
People who liked that attack post include people from a wide range of backgrounds, including:
Calvin Cheng is especially worthy of note. He was previously a Nominated Member of Parliament and runs his own Facebook page, where he opines on politics and social issues. Someone of his background and standing actually approves of such a low blow by FAP. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
The cyber-bullying did not stop with this post. The comments were insulting too, to say the least. For example, here are comments making fun of his appearance.
The sheer irony: a young man who uses a proper profile pic is being mocked by someone who has NO profile pic, no other proof of identity, and could even be a clone account run by Jason Chua for all we know. As you can see from the above screenshot, the FAP supporters didn’t catch the irony. Maybe it was too subtle for them.
Another was insinuating that Mr Chia was unable to afford a pair of sunglasses, or tempted to shoplift them.
And of course there were those who just dismissed him as a youth because his profile pic looked young.
Notice, no answer to his points. Just only attack after attack, insult after insult.
People reveal their true colors when they encounter and interact with someone they see as being weaker, as being their inferior. In this case, the bullying tendencies of these people has come out to the forefront. And the herd instinct of the group has only made the vitriol much more intense.
Now you have to ask yourself: do YOU find this acceptable or not? If you say “NO!”, this is not the kind of behavior you want to support or endorse, here are some concrete action steps you can consider:
1) If you have ever “liked” the Facebook pages of FAP or Calvin Cheng, “unlike” them to show that you will not be a silent supporter of cyberbullying.
2) If you find the post offensive, report that post to Facebook as cyberbullying.
3) If you know any of the bullying horde personally, consider disassociating yourself from them. Bad company corrupts good character. These may not have tried to intimidate or bully you yet, but that may be simply because you do not seem weak enough a victim. We have already seen them lashing out at a netizen just because he appeared to be an easy target, and they had numbers on their side. You can never be sure if they won’t do the same to you if they have the opportunity!
You will also have to decide if you can trust such people for business or work-related dealings. I personally would not, because they have shown themselves able to take advantage of someone else’s lack of power and influence. But this is something you will have to decide for yourself.
4) Do not try to reason with these people and point out how wrong their actions were. An ancient proverb tells us that whoever corrects a mocker invites insult. You will only be insulted for your efforts. Don’t give them the attention they crave, and save yourself some grief!
What would the FAP supporters say?
They will often defend their acts by claiming that people from the other groups do the same thing. They attack, they mock and they insult those who disagree with them. Yes, I agree. But this here is a very clear example of online thuggery on a common netizen, just because those people perceive him as weak. If this offends you, then let us start from here. Click on the icon, make the report. Let us choose our friends and associates, not just based on political affiliation but also based on character. Let us distance ourselves from online bullies. We may not be able to clean up the entire Internet, but we can certainly start making our little corner of the Internet just that little bit better.
Let’s do it!
This commentary was written by Ng Chun Kiat. He’s a business consultant who specialises in marketing and business systems. His interests include political science, European history and American studies.