I made sure I took a dump before writing this. So people can accuse me of many things but they cannot say I am being ‘anal-retentive’. ;)
Now, first things first. I have not read that blogpost, but concerned people around me have sent me questions regarding its contents, so I have a vague notion of what’s in that blogpost (and I do believe the writer had the good sense to consult a lawyer before uploading it so it would seem ‘milder’ as compared to blogposts uploaded years ago).
It is true that the doctor wrote down, verbatim, what I told her in the consultation room. And it is also true that while the rest of my affidavit submitted to court was typed out and printed, I had handwritten the ‘poor sleep, headaches, and loose stools’ portion as “symptoms” of my being harassed, and some say, ‘cyber-bullied’.
I knew that anyone who wanted to embarrass, insult, torment, or simply, mock me would pounce on that ‘loose stools’ bit.
And I have been proven right.
Has anyone wondered why I wrote down those symptoms with a pen instead of having it typed out and printed? ;)
So it would be impossible to miss.
*And by the way, I’ve already shared on Facebook and Twitter that if you want to send me toilet paper, I prefer the one with Hello Kitty print on it. Don’t be a ‘cheapo’ ok? :)
If you have been bullied in school before, you’ll know this: The bullying doesn’t stop even if you have already shown signs of distress.
For instance, the school bully taunts Little Amy and makes her cry. Does the bullying stop there? More often than not, it doesn’t. “Oh Amy Amy, why are you crying? You’re such a crybaby! Crybaby, crybaby, crybaby!”
In adulthood, what does this translate to?
If you hand over a medical document/report to describe what you are experiencing (because now your bully doesn’t see you crying in the playground), does he/she wave it about like a victory flag? I believe you have the answer.
Come to think of it, who has never experienced ‘loose stools’ before? A more commonly used term is ‘diarrhoea’. I had the pleasure of being hosted for dinner by my Malaysian blogger pal on Wednesday night. The delicious Thai food cooked by a real Thai chef in a restaurant in KL was SO spicy that we all had loose stools by Thursday morning. I can’t say that anyone complained, because the food tasted really good – we just couldn’t stomach the ‘heat’. LOL.
Hands up if you have never had diarrhoea or loose stools before in your entire life! :D
Now, I have already shared in an earlier blogpost that I am no saint, I made mistakes previously in calling my hater certain unflattering names, and I have apologized for it, but the person had requested that I remove that blogpost with the public apology. So, what to do?
I have also requested that Wendy remove her blogpost. Email sent last night. Will she do it?
I have never tried to be right all the time. I do only strive to be fair.
Even when I did that blogpost about how even the best bloggers lie, I made sure to state that I felt I also fail to be 100% honest 100% of the time. Because no one is capable of that. Can you be 100% honest all the time? No, so to be fair, I was not targeting any single blogger. I was stating that I, like all other bloggers, have encountered times when companies and agencies have asked us to remove the “advertorial” / “sponsored post” tag, or been asked to write about a product/service using keywords and phrases stated in the press release. In fact, I’ve been requested to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement recently to state that I cannot reveal details about one agency doing this, i.e. requesting that the blogposts don’t come with disclaimers.
Now, about kids and family members being dragged into blogger spats. I am definitely of the opinion that the innocent people not be brought into these things. And I fully respected the fact that a loving mother would want to celebrate her son’s birthday, and be there with him 100%. So, the day before the birthday, I stated publicly on my blog that I would not do anything to ruin their day if I did not hear from her. But I did hear from her. I received an email with a super-long Letter Of Demand from her lawyer (sent to me on the child’s birthday). It had excessively harsh terms, and even asked me to propose a sum of damages, which they would later want to negotiate too. In short, she wanted to sue me for “Defamation”.
It was not your typical cease-and-desist letter.
So I made the comment on my Instagram post that someone seems to care more about herself than about her child’s birthday. Simply because I had already stated I won’t say anything more about our spat, and that she could send me letters or emails or even make more comments about me on any other day. Why not just be full of love on your child’s birthday? Kids only turn age two ONCE.
Was my offer of an olive branch on a cute kid’s birthday fair? I think so. Would I want her to do such a thing for me if I have a kid and am celebrating his birthday today? Yes, I would.
You and I know that children, especially really young children, are innocent and should not be brought into any blogger spat.
Now, what about the adults at home?
Perhaps this deserves mention: I brought in the subject of her mother not because she had merely, or ‘accidentally’, hit the ‘Like’ button on her daughter’s less-than-kind comments about me. I am of the opinion that if a mother is strongly opposed to other bloggers commenting about her son, that this same mother should also be strongly opposed to her daughter’s caustic remarks about another blogger.
I believe someone old enough should also have the good sense to be fair enough, and not have double standards.
Don’t you think that’s only fair?
In any case, pardon me for not being clear enough in my affidavit about why the mother came into the picture. I am no lawyer, and have never had any legal training, and did not know I need a 37558345982391-word ‘Written Submission’ to go along with it. But now I do. ;) (*You don’t really need so many words but you get the idea. *wink* In any case, just hire a lawyer. Or if you need a template, email me and I might be able to send you one)
*As for the Protection Order (PO) + Lawyer fees, let me just state upfront that it’s no 5-figure sum. I spent approximately S$2,000 all-in, GST and all. If you need proof, email me and I can scan and send you the bills when I get back to Singapore.
If you have been harassed and need to get a protection order, here are some things to note:
1) Furnish proof of a threat of physical harm to you or your loved ones. I avoided naming imaginary stalkers or setting up hate sites just to bolster my case because I respect that whatever I submit in court has to be under oath, and you just don’t mess with such things. If you say someone is stalking you, and claim to have proof, then if he/she later shows proof of being overseas at that time, then well… you are sc***ed. And if you set up a hate site which people later trace back to you as the originator, double whammy.
2) If the Respondent you are taking out a PO against does not have a public identity (i.e. is anonymous) then it gets tricky. But get a lawyer and he/she can help you work around it.
3) If the Respondent does not show up in court, you have a higher chance of getting that PO granted.
Now, my case: My Respondent sent a lawyer to represent her, I did not state that I was being stalked/had death threats made against me/have hate sites about me that constitute a serious harm to my well-being, PLUS my Respondent had removed all her comments made about me a few days before the Pre-Trial Conference. Also, her lawyer was instructed to send me her affidavit and written submission THE DAY BEFORE the PTC, “out of goodwill”.
So the judge and I agreed that there was no longer a need for a PO since my Respondent seemed very agreeable, and even undertook not to make any further comments about me after the PTC. And so I withdrew my application for the PO. Why pay more money and go for mediation, right? Since the judge already said it’s gonna be costly to go all the way and fight for a PO, and my Respondent seems, erm… friendly?
And now… you know what happened next.
The blogpost was uploaded yesterday and my Respondent even tagged me on Instagram (a first!) so that I would be notified that she had blogged about me. RIGHT BEFORE I took to the stage at the Malaysian Social Media Week for my presentation. One can easily check the agenda online and know what time I’ll take to the stage. ;) Tun Dr Mahathir spoke just before I did, and it was definitely a ‘peak in my career as a blogger’. Did my Respondent extend the same courtesy to me, the way I did for her child’s birthday?
It was definitely not ‘gentlemanly’ (or ‘ladylike’, if you want to be anal about gender), and in Singaporean terms, definitely ‘BUAY STEADY‘.
But is Life always fair? Nope. So I’ve learnt.
Why the title ‘Slaying The Dragon In Each Of Us’?
Because, to be fair, all of us have a “dragon” within us. As Tun Dr Mahathir shared with us in KL yesterday, social media presents us each with opportunities to have “absolute power” and we are largely free to “irritate” people online.
This is why I have publicly admitted and apologized for using the term “pineapple blogger” (and its variations), after my Facebook follower pointed it out. I believe the term is not vulgar but could still be offending to the party on the receiving end.
I think that’s fair.
Have I received any form of apology, other than what I thought was a sincere undertaking to not make anymore “insulting, threatening or abusive” comments about me after 15th April 2015’s Pre-Trial Conference?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it’s time we start to use social media responsibly. Also, I do hope for a better blogosphere.
I have learnt so much just these couple of days. And I have to thank my Malaysian blogger pal, Sock Peng, for giving me this opportunity to learn and grow. She is one of the top Mandarin bloggers in Malaysia and she often does things which make me (a Singaporean blogger) slightly puzzled.
1. When I came to Malaysia for a holiday earlier this year, she sent out a couple of emails and helped get me and my fiance sponsored accommodation. She doesn’t get paid to do this. This certainly goes beyond just taking your visitors from overseas out for dinner.
2. An advertiser contacted her regarding advertorials to promote a trendy range of bags, and she asked if I’d be keen to take on the assignment too, so people in Singapore could know about this brand which is famous in Taiwan but doesn’t have stores in Singapore (yet). And yes, I got the deal, and no, she doesn’t get paid to refer me.
3. She was involved in filming for a TV program about local food recently, and she even recommended other bloggers to the producer, and got these bloggers featured on the show too.
The way she helps support other bloggers is something I try to emulate. In fact, I had the pleasure of recommending Sock Peng to the organizers for Malaysia Social Media Week 2015 so she could join me as a fellow Speaker at this amazing event, and share about ‘Mandarin blogs’.
And I am happy to announce that she did a great job too. :)
Likewise, in Singapore, I have had the pleasure of recommending bloggers to advertisers for paid assignments. Bloggers like Alvin, Regina, Kirbie, Steven Lek and Steven Teo, Melvin, Dawn (her surname’s not Yang), Hong Peng, Joey, Rachel, etc., have received paid assignments due to my recommendations.
So I now have an announcement to make:
I no longer want to be a blogger. I want to be an author, a speaker, an anti-bullying activist. I’m not just a blogger.
I have been on both the receiving and giving ends of Bullying. Whether passive-aggressive or not, I have (and I do admit) retaliated in my own way. And if this should happen again, yes, I would urge netizens to call me out on that and say “Hey, this isn’t what an anti-bullying activist does!”
More importantly, I want to support bloggers. Because, to me, you don’t have to be in my ‘clique’ or inner circle before I’d recommend you to an advertiser of mine. If the advertiser wants to engage more bloggers but doesn’t want to take the route of paying a marketing agency for influencers, I’m always happy to link them up with bloggers I trust will do a good job of promoting their product or service.
To conclude this very long blogpost, let me just say that it’s been a great learning experience and I believe everything happens for a reason. If you ever feel like ‘shitting your pants’ in fear because a bully has come after you, you are welcome to chat with me. Honestly, I have been terrified before – ‘poking’ a dragon in the eye (or so that analogy goes) can have disastrous consequences even if you think you have brought enough ‘fire extinguishers’. Who knew what an application for a PO against a not-anonymous top-blogger-awarded-by-the-company-she-has-shares-in would bring about, since it was a first?
What have I learnt? There will always be Bullies, and there will always be Trolls. What matters most is not their attacks on you, but your response to them. Don’t let someone else’s ‘dragon’ awake the ‘dragon’ in you.
Heard about the Cherokee Legend about the ‘good wolf’ and the ‘bad wolf’? Well… I leave you with this:
One evening, an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’
The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’