Whether consciously, drunkenly or uncharacteristically, it doesn’t take much to achieve Internet stardom these days – all you have to do is to act like an ass while out in public.
There’s an ever-present crowd lurking on the Internet with their pitchforks at the ready, so all it takes is for someone, somewhere, to capture an incriminating moment on their smartphones and immortalise it on Facebook, and there’s a high chance that you’ll secure your star on the Internet hall of fame.
Just ask the ten-dollars BMW driver, who continues to be the punchline online, even weeks after the notorious incident at a Caltex petrol station first made the news.
Here, The Pride looks at a few recent incidents to suss out just what it takes to achieve Internet fame, or infamy – depending on how you look at it.
When you take the idea of STOMP-ing too literally…
STOMP is the platform that gave citizen journalism to Singapore. Through it, Singaporeans learned they could be powerful by being in the right place, at the right time, if armed with a smartphone camera.
For one young chap, however, its meaning took a different turn when he chose to skip and jump on top of a car driven by a Grab Car driver at St James Power Station last week.
The 72-year-old driver slowed his car to a stop as the younger man began to run in his direction before leaping onto the bonnet and stomping on the windscreen of the car.
Afraid to antagonise the younger and sprightlier 26-year-old man, the elderly driver decided to drive off without much confrontation, after a short exchange where the man’s friends asked what more he wanted when they had already apologised.
It didn’t end there. The episode was captured on the car’s camera. The driver’s outraged son decided to take matters into his own hands and shared footage and screen shots of the incident on Facebook, imploring other users to help identify the perpetrator.
The post quickly went viral, with users expressing anger that the young man bullied the elderly driver who was working to make his own living, in a completely unprovoked attack.
In a twist that surely gave the latter the last laugh, the young stomper ultimately got much more than he bargained, as Chee Chu Siong was charged in court two days later for committing a rash act that could have put others in danger.
The moral of the story? Cars are not your personal parkour playground. And maybe also, learn to pick on someone your own size.
When you complain to the wrong department…
No one in their right mind likes to kena saman*.
But whereas most of us would (perhaps grudgingly) pay up the fines for our follies on the roads, one middle-aged man flew off the handle when he received a notice for a parking violation within his condominium.
According to the Sure Boh Singapore page where the video first appeared, he had been issued the ticket for parking on the premises without a car park label.
Launching into a tirade against a female security staff member at the condominium, he insisted that she find him a solution despite her explaining that she was simply following the rules of the management and that he would have to take his case up with them instead.
He refused to accept her explanation, and goes on a power trip to declare: “I’m the one who pay you money, yet you give me warning every time.” The staff member tries to reason with him, asking for his contact details so that her superiors could reach him. He appears to cooperate initially, but abruptly turns her down later, saying: “You go and find out since you took down my vehicle number. I’m not going to give you my telephone number.”
Difficult, erratic and condescending, it’s not a surprise that the brickbats ensued online.
One shudders to think of the drama that would follow should he receive a ticket from an actual saman auntie outside the relative safety of his home.
*get a summon
When you’re a customer with anger management issues…
When it comes to the service industry, we often hear it from both sides of the fence. Customers will say that service standards here are subpar, while service providers will grumble that Singapore patrons really believe that the customer is always right.
In March, an incident brought the latter scenario into the spotlight, when a man was caught on film berating McDonald’s service staff at an Hougang Mall outlet.
Apparently upset that the counter staff had asked him to make payment before he managed to finish making his order, he shouted at the service staff in a three-minute long rant, immune to the outlet’s supervisor who apologised profusely and tried her best to placate him.
Repeating his point over and over again, he threw out classic lines like, “is your service good like that?” and declared ominously: “I want to see what action (is taken) against her.”
And as one of the staff’s colleagues tries to explain that it was a misunderstanding, he lets out a few choice vulgarities, before taking cash out of his wallet and slamming it onto the counter. When the staff passes an ice cream over to his female companion, he grabs it from her and leaves it on the counter, saying: “I have money. I’m not going to eat this ice cream. I’m leaving it here.”
Now, when an ice cream cone is enough to trigger you to launch into a three-minute tirade despite multiple apologies from the service staff, you know you may have anger management issues.
Overwhelmingly, netizens agreed, with reactions ranging from bewilderment at the man’s outburst to derision at his arrogant behaviour.
Even McDonald’s sounded off in defence of its staff, telling The Straits Times: “We believe that under any circumstance, our employees – just like any human being – should be treated with respect, and do not deserve to be shouted at in the manner as portrayed in the video.”
When it’s now easier and much faster for people behaving badly to be named, shamed and judged by the Internet tribunal, sometimes, even saying sorry wouldn’t be good enough.
So it’s best to watch what you do and err on the side of caution and graciousness.
Unless you’re gunning for a bout of infamy.