How young Singaporeans are using social media to call out issues like misogyny

While it's great to see more youths raising awareness about social issues, how far should we go when calling out someone online?

Winny Wint Htae

Published: 16 June 2020, 12:34 AM

Over the past few weeks, I noticed an increasing number of posts from my friends standing up for social issues.

When the #BlackLivesMatter movement took over social media two weeks ago, my friends were posting petitions and sharing Twitter threads about it to spread awareness.

Even before the movement gained traction, many youths were vocal about other social issues, sharing their opinions and starting their own conversations on social media.

While I think it is great to see more youths standing up for causes they are passionate about, it got me thinking: how can we best speak up and rally others for changes without going overboard?

Last weekend, many people made a stand against misogyny after netizens brought up comments made by podcast channel, OKLETSGO, hosted by former Mediacorp DJs, Dzar Ismail, 34, Raja Razie, 38, and Dyn Norahim, 38, in some of their previous episodes.

While some supported the channel’s approach towards controversial topics, most asked the hosts to acknowledge the hurtful comments they have made towards women.


Women felt encouraged by President Halimah Yacob to speak out for issues that matter. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/HOPEILY


Following President Halimah Yacob’s Facebook post on Jun 15, urging the podcast channel to “apologise to all women for their offensive, humiliating and misogynistic remarks”, OKLETSGO subsequently released a statement to apologise to their listeners who have been hurt by their content.

Most people who spoke up about the misogynistic comments were able to get their point across to OKLETSGO without going to extreme measures like doxxing the hosts.

Aside from misogyny, I also noticed my own friends posting about a Temasek Polytechnic student who was spewing violent hate speech on his Instagram a week ago.

His hate speech and remarks on burning down his school made some people, including his schoolmates, feel unsafe.


The interior architecture and design student even talked about “gunning down anyone that’s relatively brown or non-Chinese looking”. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/CHERYLTHEBEAR


After his social media posts went viral on Twitter, many youths came together to report him to his school. Some even made email templates to help others write their own reports.


Email templates for others to share feedback about the student were shared on Twitter. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/RYHANSAMADI


On Jun 8, the 19-year-old student was arrested after the matter was brought to the school’s attention.

While these two incidents have shown us the potential influence youths have in evoking changes through social media, I think there should be a limit to how far we can go.

In some of the recent social media posts that were related to these incidents, a handful of users got too riled up and used hate speech with each other. Some even committed doxxing by revealing personal particulars and spilling unnecessary tea about the other party.

I don’t agree with these methods and I believe there are better ways to handle such situations. You can still post threads with useful information to educate others, or share suggested email templates if you would like to report someone for their behaviour.

Before you hit that retweet button or start crafting your replies, take a moment to review the information you are about to spread online. Resorting to doxxing and hate speech might eventually backfire on your good intentions. You could even get arrested for the former, which is illegal in Singapore.

I think the best way to handle these situations is to educate or encourage others to join your cause online in a civil manner. We have the power to make a change with our words on social media, but it’s also important for us to be tactful in our actions.

As much as we expect issues to be resolved fast, there’s no guarantee that we will be able to stop the wildfire once things go out of hand.

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