With the Wake Up, Singapore (WUSG) controversy coming to an end after WUSG’s apology and them getting POFMA-ed, there’s a new theory on the horizon.
That Terry Xu, who used to run The Online Citizen (TOC), is the one in charge of WUSG.
For those who are either too young (or too old) to remember what on earth TOC is, TOC was an alternative news website founded in 2006 by Remy Choo and Andrew Loh. However, they left TOC eventually and Terry Xu ended up as the only person running the website.
After a series of controversies and many anti-PAP sentiments, TOC shut down late last year after they failed to declare their sources of funding.
And now, there’s another incident surrounding Xu, long after the days of glory of TOC.
As seen by this Redditor, @typeyourname, there’s a theory that Xu is running WUSG, especially since all of WUSG’s initial founders have left the news site.
The Redditor, who posted in r/singapore, also drew parallels between TOC and the recent version of WUSG, claiming that Xu’s actions was him “swapping out ‘anti-papper’ for plain ol’ woke”.
He also pointed out the difference between WUSG’s posts in the past and those today, with the more recent posts being much more like a business seeking to rake in money from advertisers instead of being an actual news site.
Additionally, TODAYonline also reported, “A search on the national internet registry for Singapore shows that the Wake Up, Singapore domain name is registered under Mr Xu Yuanchen, who is better known as Mr Terry Xu.”
That is public domain, which means anyone can access it.
Apart from that, Mr Ariffin Sha, a legal trainee and former assistant secretary-general of Singapore People’s Party is “listed as the administrative contact”.
So basically, WUSG belongs to Terry Xu lah?
Well, if you thought real-life Singaporean dramas were so anticlimactic, you’re completely wrong.
Xu’s Response and New Discoveries
In response to the accusations that he has been running WUSG, Xu responded that he only helped to “register the site”, and that he doesn’t run it.
In the comments section, the Redditor who had originally posted the post regarding Terry Xu running WUSG came back with more proof, and a possible indication that Terry Xu actually doesn’t run WUSG.
Yup, more complicated than your grandmother’s favourite Taiwan drama.
Basically, @typeyourname on Reddit came up with another possibility afterwards, which is that Xu actually “might be used as a patsy”.
If you don’t know what a patsy means, basically someone suay who gets the blame put on them lah.
The TL;DR version of the story is that The Independent, another local alternative news site, runs WUSG.
But I know that’s not enough to explain everything, so keep reading, ok?
The Redditor explained this by analysing the advertisements on the website, which they did not see the first time due to the presence of adblockers on their device.
“Now, the reason why WUSG would start a website is for the sweet sweet ad revenue. You can’t randomly run ads on Instagram, but you can do that very easily on a website you own. Google makes that very easy with their AdSense product – you sign up for an account, get an ID and when people see and click your ads, you get paid,” they explained.
And of course, because @typeyourname was clearly invested in this issue by then, they actually took the effort to obtain the advertiser in the source code of WUSG’s website.
“Using this ID you can find other websites which use the same ID to identify common website owners,” he added.
After a bunch of going back and forth with the different IDs, @typeyourname was able to confirm that The Independent‘s name popped up twice, which, in their words, “more or less confirms their involvement in WUSG”.
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However, although this is so, the Redditor also noted that it “Still doesn’t explain why [Xu]’s the one that had to register it in the first place”.
“The Independent making ad money from the site doesn’t preclude Terry’s participation. It’s interesting to note that The Independent did the paperwork which TOC failed to do,” they concluded.
So basically Terry Xu might not be the one managing WUSG after all lah.
@typeyourname also likened the local alternate media scene to an “old boys’ club”, which is an… interesting allusion, regardless of whatever that’s happened.
In the comments section, many people were amazed at @typeyourname’s dedication to this case, because let’s face it, some of us can’t even be this dedicated to our diets and workout routines.
Others also acknowledged the shift in WUSG’s content focus in recent years, which may account for the fact that they had a change in admins running the page.
And of course, there were netizens who also brought up other possible theories as to why Xu may still be involved in WUSG in some way, and also mentioned how they were “laughing at the young crowd that the thinks WUSG is trusted and credible”.
Oh well. To find out who exactly runs WUSG, I guess all we can do is wait and see.
In the meantime, for Goody Feed, it’s run by this cat:
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Featured Image: Facebook (Wake Up, Singapore + Terry Xu)