The Internet Never Forgets:

A Personal Rant Goes Global

By Bridget Kow

The Hoffman Agency Singapore

Last month, we took a look at some of the most cringe-worthy social media fails from around the world and learned an important lesson: the Internet never forgets. Every bad word, emotional outburst, whisper of gossip and comment is permanently documented and searchable as long as you can access the Internet.

This week, we’ll be taking a look at a social media catastrophe that recently occurred here in Singapore: the Amy Cheong debacle.

This past October, Amy Cheong, an assistant director at a local labour union, posted xenophobic comments on her Facebook page – a move that cost her job. 

Amy Cheong screenshot - final - social media in singapore

For our international readers, void decks are large empty spaces located underneath apartment buildings in Singapore.

Her posts quickly gained eyeballs, and someone did a screen capture of the post and sent it to her employer (NTUC Union), which forced them to take action. 

Amy Cheong apology - social media in singapore

Although she attempted a public apology (through Facebook of course), her employer took less than half a day to make the decision to fire her. The media was quick to report this, and the public scrutiny was so severe that she chose to leave the country instead of dealing with the situation.

Even the Prime Minister of Singapore came out to publicly condemn her for her actions on his Facebook page. Separately, three ministers and another Minister of Parliament have also weighed in, criticising the racist remarks and praising the employer for their quick action against her.

Lee Hsien Loong FB post - social media in singapore

Prime Minister Lee’s Facebook comment about Amy Cheong

What we can learn from this:

Those living and working in Singapore need to be aware that this is a country that strives for racial harmony and equality. Therefore, anyone silly enough to post xenophobic remarks online (privately or publicly) should be aware that there may be harsh penalties to pay.

This example reinforces the fact that the Internet never forgets! What we post online can come back and haunt us. An angry rant, a slip of the tongue could get one fired or worse – put one behind bars.

We need to realise our personal opinions can be misconstrued online and will cast a bad light on us as well as affect our employer’s reputation. For that reason, guard what you say and apply the same judgement you use in your daily lives on your social media space.



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