What Amy Cheong Taught Us About Ourselves

I woke to news that Amy Cheong launched an angry tirade against a Malay wedding. Her foul mouthed comments roped in the entire Malay population in Singapore. Needless to say, she received a near instant termination from employers NTUC and ended being Singapore’s shortest lived villain in recent history. However, her immature and insensitive actions highlighted certain aspects of us Singaporeans.

Amy Cheong: What Was She Thinking?

Amy Cheong: What Was She Thinking?

 

No One Really Grows Up

Amy Cheong is an assistant director, one with years of working experience managing teams and working in diverse environments. Yet, in these years of growing up and learning her trade, her burst of anger yielded an angsty, nearly teen-like character making one wonder – Did she ever grow up? The truth is, most of us rarely grow up. We simply learn how to mask our inner selves better.

 

The truth is, most of us rarely grow up. We simply learn how to mask our inner selves better.

 

A child speaks bluntly what he or she thinks. This bluntness is celebrated for innocence at best or forgiven for immaturity at worst. The same child winds through education, meets more people and learns societal rights and wrongs. After 20 years of training or so, the child is now considered an adult, ready to be made accountable for his / her actions where age is no longer a shield.

What does this say about us? Is learning to mask our actual thoughts and feelings the desired outcome of maturity? Or should it be an actual convicted growth to put away what is considered childish behavior?  I’m guessing the later is the desired outcome but more often than we like, it is only the former that occurs.

 

Social Media Naivety

We have not learnt what the internet is in Web 2.0. Compared to other countries, Singapore often comes off second best or slow in adapting to new media. Is it because our citizens are not kept shrouded from the real, aggressive and more critical forms of media? Is it because our national media is so conservative that it has not embraced elements of user participation? It is truly sad that our most popular Web 2.0 media is STOMP. But it also highlights that decades of hand holding is leaving Singaporeans slow and naive in adapting to a fast changing internet driven world.

 

Decades of hand holding is leaving Singaporeans slow and naive in adapting to a fast changing internet driven world.

 

Amy thought what she posted on Facebook was not public or at least she didn’t consider that. In Facebook, no matter how strictly you clamp down on your public view-ability  the point of weakness lies in your social circle. Screenshots of Amy’s post went viral within minutes. She deactivated her Facebook account not knowing that it does nothing. In fact, in many ways it could have made things worse.

Amy's Job Requirements: She was supposed to be well versed in Social Media

Amy’s Job Requirements: She was supposed to be well versed in Social Media

It is not just sad but shocking that Amy committed this because she her job requires her to be well trained in customer relations. This, by extension, requires her to be well versed in the ropes of handling all forms of media. Singaporeans are simply behind in adapting to new media. The naivety shown by Amy is not new. It doesn’t take much to profile Singaporeans online, we have not learnt that posting on the internet is similar to shouting out of our windows.

 

We have not learnt that posting on the internet is similar to shouting out of our windows.

 

The Internet Takes A Step Forward

Hopefully, Singaporeans will understand the true nature of the internet. You have to take responsibility for every action you take online, especially that on social media. The Internet is no longer a sea of un-identifiable users that requires no accountability. This is a step forward for the internet. A step forward for proper civil behavior that has shaped and moved the world forward in the past decades.

One can only hope that this incident taught us more lessons than the usual lines that PM LHL delivered on ChannelNewsAsia. Carry yourself on the internet the same way as you do in public. The moment you understand that the internet is a public corridor and not private den, the less mistakes you will make.



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