06 April 2007

Inappropriate Behaviour On The Web? (1)

The Internet has pervaded our lives since the 1980s and has been with us for about 2 decades now. Ever since it was invented, there have been on-going discussions on whether it was a good or bad thing. I guess it can be both good and bad - it all depends on how the netizens use it. After all, the Internet is a tool and as with all tools, a bad workman shouldn't be blaming his tools.

It would not be far from the truth to say that the Internet is the greatest invention in the last 2 decades. It is a tool that has many good uses - communication (email, VOIP and video-conferencing), advertising, publishing, e-commerce, auctions, file-sharing (of music and videos), gaming, etc. On the other hand, the Internet has its ills - pornography, gambling, viruses, hacking, phishing, etc. Especially within the past few years, the Internet has gained even more uses, notably as a platform for blogging and discussion forums.

Recently there has been a lot of news about behaviour on the Web, in particular on blogs and discussions forums. Both of these media are public in nature unless the owners decide to make them private.

There were separate articles in the Straits Times of 4 Apr 2007 and the New Paper today about a heated discussion in mycarforum. What happened was that a guy by the nick of Dracon had started a thread in the forum on 21 Mar 2007. He raised a seemingly innocuous issue, i.e. he was undecided on whether the Volkswagen Golf GTI or the Subaru WRX STI-S was a better buy and asked forumers for advice. (Both models are powerful high-performance cars.)

The discussion started well, with fellow forumers offering opinions and suggestions. Then somewhere along the way, someone by the nick of Legendkiller pointed out that Dracon (his real name was reported to be "Regan Lee") was the person who was test driving a Mazda MX-5 on 29 Oct 2005. Mazda sales executive Angelia He Xueli was seated by his side. The car was involved in what looked like an accident caused by reckless driving. Ms He suffered a cardiac arrest probably due to extreme shock and also broke her neck. She didn't survive but ironically, the driver of the car walked away from the wreckage with nary a scratch.

Forumers were furious that his recklessness had claimed an innocent life and yet he ironically survived the crash. Perhaps what was even worse was that the driver did not show any repentance at all. As if to rub salt into the wound, the driver had not been officially charged in court yet as police were still investigating the case. The forumers also questioned why the police was taking so long to investigate the accident and why the driver was allowed to hold a valid driving license while under police investigation. They felt that the driver could cause potential harm to other road-users with his aggressive style of driving. The driver even had the cheek to shop around for yet another more powerful car. The forumers mobbed and flamed the driver terok terok (severely). Some people even called the driver an animal. (Hmm... why does that term ring so familiar?)

The above issue generated so much debate that by 5 Apr 2007 (about half a month after Dracon's post) there were already 665 posts on the thread which attracted possibly several tens of thousands of page views. Apparently, the moderator of the forum then decided to lock the thread to prevent the discussion from getting out of hand. The online attack spilled into other online forums such as Sammyboy.com, Hardwarezone and Singapore Bikes Forums.

Ever since the controversy started, Dracon disappeared without a trace from the forum. (Forumers suspected that Dracon came back a few days later with a new nick called Publicservice who wrote a thinly disguised post in support of the driver. Needless to say, Publicservice was flamed as well and disappeared too.) Legendkiller claimed to know the dead victim and said that he spent $1,000 in PI fees to track down the real identity of Dracon. He was quoted to have said that he was "very, very, very sure" Dracon was the alleged driver. Indeed, if Dracon was not the guilty party then why didn't he defend himself? Whether Dracon deserved the flaming by mycarforum's forumers is open for debate. Did the forumers go overboard or was Dracon "asking for it"? I will leave that for you to decide.

(For the background to the story together with photos of Ms He and the suspected driver, click here.)


Chris Sim said...

The internet, as they say, is the last frontier. It completely revolutionizes the way we work and communicate, and the way we seek entertainment. All sort of information (some truth, some half-truth and some totally untruth) are available at our finger tips. I like to think that the internet is one of the greatest tools of our time. Yet, there's no denial the negative impact it has on us. People get addicted to the internet. Some say the Internet is a big porno book. I'm concern about the easy access of smut to our kids. That's one reason why I restrict their access to the internet. Of course, other areas of concern are the pervasion of hatred against humanity in the internet - those who advocate bigotry, suicide and the worship of the devil.

But if you take away the internet today, I'd feel a big part of me missing ....

Anonymous said...

Looks like you visit the forums that I go to, why?

Lam Chun See said...

Sorry ... not entirely related to your subject. Your photo of the mangled car reminds me of a sad incident. The other day, driving along Eng Neo Ave, I passed the accident scene where a young man was killed. Passed within feet of his body. Nowadays. people drive too fast.

Anonymous said...

not only fast but many drivers are also very impatient

regarding the controversy i think most people were responding emotionally which is natural

as for the internet, it is a great tool but I don't think it is really that essential

Victor said...

Chris - Regarding parental control, you can only do so much. When our children go out with friends, they can access the Internet at cyber cafes. (There are a number of them along East Coast Road which charges only $1.00 per hour of Internet access.) Then there are the LAN gaming centres where you can find a lot of teenagers playing endless violent games each day.

Give your son a notebook and he can bring it out and turn it into a pornographic library anytime. It all depends on him.

Victor said...

Alex G - Cannot meh? That only shows that we have the same interests lor.

Actually, that was my first visit to mycarforums. And it was only because the forum was mentioned in the Straits Times article. Singaporeans are kaypoh by nature.

Victor said...

Chun See - I feel sad that yet another person was involved in a fatal accident. May his soul rest in peace. Yes, I notice that nowadays there seems to be more "Appeal For Witnesses" signs which are put up by the Traffic Police for serious and fatal accidents.

Having said that, slowing down to look at a traffic accident is known as "rubber necking". I know it's human nature to be curious but be very careful when you do that because it can contribute to another accident.

Victor said...

Fr - Whether the Internet is essential or not depends on who you ask. Recently there was an earthquake which disrupted Internet service because some submarine cables snapped. Many people were affected by that incident.

Anonymous said...

Ha, sorry for the straightforward comment, at first I thought you saw my MCF decal and visited the forum. Have been visiting MCF since it first started donkey years back. Oh no, me having the same interest as Vic?? On no!

Anyway, IMOMHO, the richer and more famous seems to get away with the law easier than the typical folks-on-the-street.

IMOMHO= In my own most humble opinion.

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, the accident I mentioned happened at a bend in Eng Neo Ave. You know how narrow this road is? With a bus and a car taking up nearly 1.5 lanes, you don't want to slow down also cannot. Anyway, I always believe, that if you cannot resist the curiosity to look, then you'd better slow down, otherwise, you may cause another accident.

Chris, I think it is futile to try and control your son's internet access. Nowadays, even homework and projects require them not only to download but do research. For my son, I just make sure his computer is in a 'public' area. Thankfully, becos of his 6x/week kayaking trg, he is too tired to surf internet. Usually fast asleep by 10.30.

Victor said...

Chun See - You always have a good reason for your actions, don't you?

Alex G - Trying to impress upon us that you are young, are you? AFAIK the term should be written simply as IMHO, LOL.

AFAIK = "As far as I know"

LOL = "Lots of love" or "Laughing out loud", depending on who says it and to whom he/she says it to"

The Oriental Express said...

I dislike people who have to extend or enlarge their personalities behind the wheel!!!

Read about your blog today in the New Paper. Do visit me at http://ganchau.blogspot.com

Keep up your writing. Writing for mental health and a sure way to keep Mr. Arthur Alzheimer at bay.

Victor said...

Thanks Gan Chau for visiting my blog and commenting. I left a comment similar to the one below on your blog too. However you have comment moderation switched on. (Hmm... seems like most people I know who have this feature switched on are women, hehe. Wonder why.)

So I see that you are a property agent of the fairer sex, I suppose? The property market has improved quite a lot in the last 2 years. The activity should keep you very busy.

Good, now I have yet another avenue to turn to for my property transactions, not that I have a lot of properties to transact though.

Anonymous said...

I knew of another issue that caused an uproar in the blogosphere..

Does Michelle Quek ring any bells?

Victor said...

Etel, why do you think that I have put (1) in this post title?

Anonymous said...

ok.. waiting for your next blog! :D

Anonymous said...

Wow.. what a mess. Some kind of carelessness.... Everything's gone except the mazda engine

Victor said...

Talk About Cars! - Thanks for dropping by and talking about cars. I can't find a search facility on your blog. Do you talk about Renault cars? (I drive a Renault Scenic.)

Victor said...

Regan Lee got his just desserts today. He was sentenced to 7 months jail and disqualified from driving all vehicles for 10 years. His sentence may seem too light considering that he caused Angeline He's death by his rash driving. (The maximum jail sentence he could have received is 2 years.)