5 lessons We Can Learn From the Toa Payoh Incident


The recent Toa Payoh incident had its 15 mins of online fame, then rapidly faded from the public consciousness. Incidents like this happen frequently, and it’s obviously something bad, to be avoided or prevented.

But it still happens. All the time. Maybe it’s time to reflect and see what we can learn from this.

We have summarized 5 takeaways from this incident that you might want to keep in mind, regardless of how you feel about the turn of events.

1. Overzealous Righteousness

The moment somebody suggested the possible identity of the couple in the video bullying the old man, everyone pounced on them like virtual hyenas, condemning the wrongly identified innocents. A wrongly accused lady became the target of the online lynch mob, and it got so bad she had to file a police report.

Fortunately, she was largely left alone after the real culprits were outed, though some straggling keyboard warriors not privy to the most updated information still hounded her. It is probably quite prudent to take note of your own sense of righteousness lest innocents get hurt again.

2. Shortened Attention Span

The short-lived infamy of the real culprits reflected the extremely short attention span of the average netizen. In a span of a scant couple of days, the video was furiously shared on social media, wrong culprits were targeted, then investigations uncovered the actual couple.

Followed by an immediate loss of interest as the couple was arrested. It seems as if that’s the ideal conclusion, and there’s nothing left for anyone to pay attention to.

In fact, many simply went for the next incident, which in this case happens to be a man insulting a taxi driver. The online lynch mob is powerful but fickle.

3. Reassess “Chope” Culture

This altercation actually provoked a discussion of Singapore’s unique “chope” culture, where we leave little things behind on seats to represent reservation. This can range from a simple packet of tissues, to umbrellas or bags.

On the surface, the problem in the incident seems to question just how many seats can a “choping” item reserve, but the question we should be asking is if “choping” as a practise should even continue. Netizens were understandably conflicted on this.

Perhaps it is time to truly reflect and reassess what “choping” means to Singapore, and whether it should be rendered obsolete.

4. Citizen-Journalism

This incident is yet another example of the power of citizen-journalism. First exposed to the public consciousness through Stomp, Singapore’s very own citizen-journalism website, it is perhaps because of this that the general population grew aware of this incident.

In short, more people are watching and are able to watch, whenever anyone does anything out of the ordinary. It is a form of citizen-aided surveillance that defers to societal norms, which can be good or bad.

The good? It should act as deterrence against people being dicks.

5. Don’t Be an A**hole

Speaking of which, probably the most important lessons here is to not be an a**hole. Everyone is watching, and if somebody was filming when you’re being an a**hole (it is safe to assume that someone always is filming), very soon the whole country/world will know it.

Thought this shouldn’t be the reason, if you don’t wish to gain infamy overnight, you probably should pay more attention to how you treat everybody else.


Or, you know, just be nice.

Since you’re here, why not check out Goody Feed’s YouTube videos as well? They’re so Singaporean, I bet you’ll like them!

Featured Image: todayonline.com

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com


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