updated 30 Apr 2012, 07:04
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The New Paper
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Why go to such lengths to hate me?
by Tay Shi'an

THEY call her rude names, some so nasty they're unprintable.

They also work their Photoshop skills to uglify, disfigure and distort her photographs and their contexts.

Some create videos which they then upload on YouTube. Others create games to make fun of her, like where her face is superimposed as a target to be smashed or kicked.

It's got to a point where someone can even be accused of being 'famous' for uglifying her pictures.

Then there is the gossip, which they liberally spread.

Like how she's a liar, a loose woman.

Their target: Singapore celebrity blogger Dawn Yang.

Responding to queries from the US where she is studying at New York University (NYU), Miss Yang, 25, told The New Paper: 'These gossipers say things about me like 'Dawn is a slut, she has a loose *****, she is ugly, she is stupid, she is dung'.

'They come up with ludicrous, elaborate stories about me being raped, stealing boyfriends, faking my education in NYU, backstabbing my friends.'

And the talk is not about to ease off.

When news broke of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) doctor who had gone Awol (absent without official leave) and was found dead under a bridge in Melbourne last Tuesday, Internet forums were abuzz with talk of them being a couple.

Did she break his heart?

One picture even showed Miss Yang and Capt (Dr) Allan Ooi, 28, the SAF doctor, 'holidaying' in Hong Kong.

It is not known if the picture is genuine.

Capt Ooi's mother, however, said that the pair were only good friends, reported Shin Min Daily News yesterday.

And Miss Yang's manager, Mr Noel Davenash, said that while Miss Yang had told him that a friend had died, he did not know whether the friend she was referring to was Capt Ooi.

While Miss Yang herself did not respond to our queries about Capt Ooi, she said that the behaviour and antics of these bloggers and netizens have shocked and bewildered her.

She said she felt 'shock, outrage, disgust, hurt and sadness' when she first saw the doctored pictures.

The worst photo she has seen so far, she said, was one of her face with a superimposed shot of a male private part.

Said Miss Yang: 'That is not only disgustingly perverse, it is simply a most terrible, offensive and wrong act! Is it even legal?

'She did a rather good job of making it look realistic too. What if it circulates around and people take it to be real? I would be in hot water.'

It was a friend who told Miss Yang about these images, so she went to take a look.

But it is the hurtful words posted online that cause the most damage, said Miss Yang, who writes on Stomp, a Straits Times' citizen media website.

'How could a normal sane person not feel pained and aggrieved reading all this?

'Furthermore, other people who read this rubbish are going to have a doubtful impression of me, which is very hurtful too.

'Is their aim to destroy me as a person and my reputation?

'I know gossip is inherently part of the deal when you are a public personality. But there is a difference between nosy gossip, and serious character assassination and cyber-bullying.'


Miss Yang said the worst thing is when they drag her family and friends into it.

'It's hard to imagine how someone who hasn't even met you could go to such great lengths do such hate posts,' she said.

'It's funny and bewildering how they can seem to sit in front of their computer screens all day long too - they are in the forums 24/7!

'Wouldn't their time be better spent doing other valuable things?...

'I mean sure, 5 minutes to type a nasty comment I could understand, but the hours these people put into spreading hate and gossip is bordering on plain psycho scary to me.'

She added: 'Anonymity on the Internet is too helpful for those who hide behind it. I am sure these people would not dare to write the things they do if they had to do so with their real identities.'

As to why people create and post such wicked stuff about her, Miss Yang said: 'I think there is an element of the tall poppy syndrome (jealousy of success) at play here.'

She added: 'Also, I suspect a major driving force for these cyber bullies is to boost their ego. They take us to be their punching bags.

'I have read some of them gleefully say that they feel so good after flaming and bitching about me. Well, thank you, glad to be of service!'

Miss Yang caused an uproar last year when she revealed in her Stomp blog that she had received an indecent proposal from Edison Chen.

The notorious Hong Kong actor-singer had made bawdy propositions to her online, suggesting that they 'get a nice suite.. and get freeky (sic) all night and day'.

Miss Yang had said that when the pictures first leaked, she thanked God she was not foolish, naive or 'feeling frisky beyond control'.

But she described Edison as 'hard to resist', a 'pin-up idol with suave good looks (and a) hot bod' who 'can practically get any girl he wants, and he knows it'.

Miss Yang is not the only target of such flaming - fellow celebrity bloggers like Xiaxue and Kenny Sia, local TV celebrities, or simply teenagers who have incurred the wrath of their schoolmates, have also been targets.

Said Miss Yang: 'Fortunately I'm strong enough in myself to not fall into depression or have my self-worth shattered... but what about other girls?

'What if one of them cannot handle the cyber-bullying and kills herself?

'This has happened before in several reported cases around the world.'

Netizens will remember how Miss Yang had sent fellow blogger Xiaxue, whose real name is Miss Wendy Cheng, a lawyer's letter last year.

This was after Miss Cheng posted an entry on her blog calling her 'a consistent and persistent liar'.

Miss Yang letter asked for a public apology for the allegedly defamatory remarks, and to propose a settlement for damages.

The post was eventually taken down.

I won't play game

But this time around, Miss Yang said that she has no plans on taking any action against those who distorted her images so far.

She said that after that first glimpse, she has been avoiding such forums.

Said Miss Yang: 'I choose to stay away from these forums as far as possible, because for me ignorance is bliss.

'The sick and nasty motives behind those people are obvious, I don't believe in further indulging them.

'Why waste time letting people try to make you feel bad about yourself, when you can go on living the best life you can lead?

'Ultimately that is the best retort, and what they do not want you to have.'

Additional reporting by Elysa Chen

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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