1. On Monday, 24th June 2013, Andrew Loh (prominent blogger and founder of PublicHouse) unfriended me on Facebook. This is after I had shared a screen grab from his FB and offered my own views with regard to what he had written.
2. Between that same day and Wednesday, 26 June 2013, Ravi Philemon (prominent blogger and NSP member) unfriended and blocked me on Facebook. I had no FB interaction with Ravi recently, and I do not know why the unfriending and blocking took place.
3. Perhaps, both Andrew and Ravi share some form of “synergies”.
4. I wouldn’t have highlighted that both Andrew and Ravi had unfriended me if they are Tom, Dick, and Harry. Both Andrew and Ravi are rather prominent bloggers in the local cyberspace, and have been vocal publicly, championing the freedom of expression in the Internet and so on. And Ravi is even a member of NSP, and could be a candidate in the next GE.
5. What does all these show? Some people told me that because it is their private FB accounts, they are free to unfriend and block users. This is a weak argument. Like it or not, they are prominent in the public, and their actions can always be judged based on what they had said publicly. The argument will be more weighty when applied on those who do not champion for the freedom of expression and so on, isn’t it? Moreover, the posts made in these private FB accounts are public (where you see the “globe” under the name of the FB owner), until Andrew changed it yesterday or so. So there’s nothing much private to talk about if the posts are public in nature.
6. This is because, if one publicly champion the freedom of expression and so on, why is it that in the case of Andrew, he unfriended after I shared a screen grab from his FB and shared my views? For Ravi, there is a lack of expression on my part, and he initiated actions! I would prefer that if they champion the freedom of expression, they would allow me to share my views on their posts, and for any matter, unlike some unglamorous netizens, I never use vulgar, abusive or demeaning remarks against anyone (such as using the F letter word). So they couldn’t have initiated actions based on the premise that I am “rude” or that my words are “inappropriate”.
7. So why do they publicly champion the freedom of expression? Do they believe in the freedom of expression? Maybe yes, when they are dealing with and when they are criticizing the government, they would champion the freedom of expression. This is so that their criticisms of the government can be given airings. Maybe no, when netizens criticize their posts online, because they do not want criticisms of them to be given airings.
8. And does the reason why they champion the freedom of speech, and whether they believe in what they are championing important at all? I would like to think it is important for the public to see, and to keep calm and ponder if they display consistency in their public image (e.g. when they publicly raise issues) and in their private image (e.g how they conduct themselves on their FB and so on).
9. As for Ravi, I would think that this display of consistency would be more important, for he is a not only a prominent blogger, but also a member of a political party. I don’t rule out the possibility of him standing in future elections. And if he can’t even display the willingness to engage netizens in the virtual cyberspace despite championing the freedom of expression, voters may perhaps need to keep calm and ponder what will happen if he were to contest and were to win. Can he serve the residents wholeheartedly, even all those who did not vote for him?
10. Somebody had said to me that it is “common” for “seasoned people” not to engage people from “the other side” because there are many “cyber war fares and Internet brigades” around. Then perhaps people should again keep calm and ponder about how the “non engagement” reconcile with the “freedom of expression” some people had actively championed. In addition, by airing different views or even opposing views do not immediately cast somebody as being on “the other side”. To allege so is saying that people cannot have their own independent opinions on issues, and must be on “that particular side” to express “that particular view”.
11. Like it or not, the actions of a person will cast an impression on others, and this impression given is also affected by the stature of, and the image portrayed publicly by, that said person.