Meet the admins manufacturing outrage at "Wake Up, Singapore"

Mar 27, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
Wake Up, Singapore (WUSG) - a Facebook page known for manufacturing outrage from fake news - has been caught napping.

Fresh from a correction order by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office for a separate false claim made by the page last month (Feb 13), WUSG is once again involved in another brouhahaha over yet another false claim.

Who is behind WUSG?

Wake Up, Singapore currently has 3 Singapore-based administrators and 1 Indonesian social media manager handling the grunt work of WUSG's social postings.

In 2013, WUSG was set up as an Instagram page by three individuals - Ariffin Sha, Sean Francis Han, and Benjamin Matchap.

Benjamin Matchap

Benjamin Matchap is currently a freelance photographer.

According to a 2016 post on WUSG facebook, and a declaration from Benjamin himself, he is no longer an administrator with WUSG.






Sean Francis Han

Sean Francis Han was the former editor-in-chief at WUSG. According to the page, they claimed Sean was no longer part of the team since 8 September 2021.

According to Fathership's sources, however, Sean still maintains considerable influence on WUSG's operations and is also one of the page's key personnel.




Sean was one of the activists who held a silent protest on the MRT by wearing blindfolds and holding up the book “1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 years on” in 2017.



Besides WUSG, Sean also writes for New Naratif.

Sean Francis Han was the former editor-in-chief at WUSG, he claimed to have left WUSG since 8 September 2021. He was

Ariffin Sha


Pictured:

Last on the list is WUSG's founder Ariffin Sha.

An aspiring legal office boy, the page claimed in 2014 that Ariffin left the group.







However, Fathership has sighted documents that allegedly point Ariffin as the mastermind behind the page's operations. These include running the website, pushing out articles and profiting from the page's ad revenue.

As of 2022, Ariffin is believed to still be the key personnel of WUSG despite the page claiming otherwise.

Workers' Party unofficial internet brigade

WUSG is a known internet brigade linked to members of the Workers' Party. Their modus operandi has been to espouse populist anti-government rhetoric so they can portray themselves as some hip anti-PAP renegade platform. The squad of goons- which is WP's answer to PAP's "Fabrications Against the PAP" IB page - has been particularly active throwing Raeesah Khan - a figure they were fanboys of previously - under the bus to protect the reputation of WP leaders.

Background

On March 23, a social media post uploaded by WUSG detailed an expectant mother's alleged first-hand account of miscarrying her child after waiting four hours at Kandang Kerbau Hospital's (KKH) urgent obstetrics and gynaecology centre.

They also published a document purporting to be a copy of the hospital bill, which stated that the hospital visit took place on Feb 28.

Two days later, the site published another social media post with screenshots of alleged calls from KKH to the patient, claiming that the hospital had been in contact with her on March 24.

The next day (Mar 25), KKH filed a police report over the allegations upon discovering that there were discrepancies between the story and the bill information, both of which were shared online.

On the same day, WUSG took down their posts and posted an apology. Included with their apology was a screenshot of messages from the woman where she apologised to the site and said that she sent the misinformation in the "heat of the moment".

On Sunday (Mar 27), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it instructed the POFMA office to issue a correction direction to WUSG for publishing the false account.

WUSG published the correction notices on Facebook and Instagram shortly after MOH issued its media release. The original posts have since been taken down.




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This commentator thinks MCI ad should not have featured poor Malays

May 12, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
A Hari Raya advertisement by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was 'cancelled' by certain netizens online for depicting lower income Malays according to reality.

"Message for Syawal", a two-and-a-half-minute video published last month (Apr 30) captures moments in the life of a low-income Malay family living in a rental flat.

Storyline


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"

The video, which is peppered with Malay proverbs, shows the family moving out of their rental flat to a new home several years later where they celebrate Hari Raya.

The father of the family works as a mover while the mother is a housewife.

Their young son, Syawal, skips school to earn extra income for his family before a teacher flags his absence from school to his parents.

The mother in the video later decides to return to work to alleviate her family’s financial difficulties while the father gets a new job.


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"



Why some netizens are outraged

The video sparked backlash online, with some viewers saying that it contained stereotypes about the Malay community.

The stereotypes:
  • The father works as a mover - commonly perceived to be a low-income job
  • The mother is jobless
  • The son plays truant
  • The family lives in a rental flat for low-income earners

Commentator implied that poor Malays shouldn't be portrayed in public to prevent stereotypes


Pictured: Screenshot from Homeground Asia video

A video commentary by The Homeground Asia went further by criticizing how the video propagates the narrative that Malays are poor and lazy, and that the ministry should have created a video that is more relatable to both the less fortunate and the more affluent Malays.

Adi Rahman, one of the interviewees in the video went further by making sweeping assumptions that the ministry lacked cultural intelligence and did not consult the community on the narrative.

Ironically, in talking about inclusivity, Adi implied that the realities of poor Malays should not be shown in public.

For example, his rationale suggested that the video contained characters (the mover, jobless mother and the son who skips school) that contribute to the problem of other races seeing the Malays in a stereotypical and reductive light.

In other words, show the good stuff but not the reality.

Adi even accused the ministry for not consulting the Malays in the vetting of the video narrative.

His accusations were without merit, however, when the Ministry said in a statement (Apr 30) that Malay-Muslim viewers - presumably a focus group - had seen the video prior to its release, and perceived the story to be heart-warming, although some expressed reservations.


Pictured: Adi Rahman - one of the commentators in Homeground Asia video



Stereotyping or masking reality?

The ministry said last month (Apr 30) the video was meant to show "a family’s journey of resilience in facing challenging circumstances and how mutual support and encouragement could nurture the process”.

Other netizens felt it was an overreaction and that low-income families shouldn't be dehumanized in a way that they are removed from the conversation. They felt that the video was a call-to-action for those from the underprivileged to strive for a better life through hard work and seeking help that's already available.

The only missed opportunity in the MCI video was perhaps the suggestion that Malays in low income families living in a rental flat could not celebrate Hari Raya unless they get a flat on their own.

But of course, like Homeground Asia, that is also a sweeping assumption.