The Independent Singapore (TISG) posted an article headlined “Alice Fong threatens to sue netizens who make disparaging comments about her”. When that headline popped up on my Facebook feed, I was livid! What’s wrong with that Alice Fong?! No sense of contrition at all!
Then I went to read the article.
Then I got even more livid. But this time, with TISG. Nothing in the article actually says anything about Alice Fong wanting to sue people who have said anything disparaging about her. What the article does say is this:
“She is now considering making police reports against netizens who have said bad things about her.”
TISG’s “article” was based on a translation of reports from the Chinese media. TISG translated it as this:
“(Alice Fong) said, “My conscience is clear. I continue to go to work. But with regard to the online CSI done by netizens and the threats they made, I am thinking of making a police report just in case. I am not concerned of other people’s views. Singapore has laws.”
Here is a shot of the pertinent section from the Chinese media:
First off, just based on what TISG’s article, there’s nothing to suggest that Alice Fong is threatening to sue anyone. She intends to make police reports. That’s very different from suing a person. TISG has a lawyer as their advisor. I’m sure they can go ask him.
Secondly, Alice Fong intends to make police reports against people who have posted threatening remarks (that’s what “恐吓留言” means…), not against people who have disparaged her or have said bad things about her. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, “disparage” means:
“Regard or represent as being of little worth:he never missed an opportunity to disparage his competitors”
So. TISG’s headline is incredibly misleading. Alice Fong didn’t threaten to sue anyone. She only stated her intention to make police reports against people who have posted threatening remarks. Which I think is reasonable. What she has done is abhorrent and deplorable. We should shame her.
But it’s a whole different thing altogether to threaten bodily harm on her. That is behaviour that we need to condemn too. Why? Because this is Singapore. Not Gotham City.