It is instructive to compare the sort of comments in the following 2 blog posts:
Post A: A half-joking post making fun of Singaporeans' HDB flats (More comments on Tomorrow.sg)
Post B: A half-joking post making fun of Malaysia in general and musing about why and how people from the 2 countries engage in this timeless game
The provocation or perceived provocation in both posts is the same: someone from one country making fun of the other.
It's been more than 6 full days since Post A was posted, and more than 2 full days since it was recommended on Tomorrow.sg, so enough time has passed to analyse the comments on each post, leaving aside the veracity of the original snipes at the other country in the first place.
Post A: Received not many comments, and those that were posted are placid. Some dryly noted that staid as a HDB flat might be, it beats slums and dingy huts. The mood was generally amiable, if a little annoyed at times.
Post B: Tons of flames insulting the blog owner and wishing various disasters to befall him, plus various threats to cut off Singapore's water supply. An outraged mood was palpable, with many roused to great anger.
Some comments not in the comments box:
1) "the ego in you bring up average shallow sinkie ,i know spr more than you as i am right in yr backyard and comparing apple with orange and claim yours is any beter is an act of self comfort-as good as mascubating"
2) "i feel totally disgusted by u.
I mean, maybe only a handful are like what u said, u CANT speculate ppl this way.
I seriously hope u get jailed for this entry.
And yes, i wont take ur side. =)"
3) "what would it be if malaysia cut its water supply to singapore? will u guys be drinking salt water instead?"
Possible ad-hoc statements to make to rescue the paradigm that Malaysians and Singaporeans respond the same way to the parlour game of bashing the other country:
- Too little time has passed; 2 days is quite long already, and anyway I'm leaving for Malaysia - irony of ironies - this evening and doubt much will have changed by the time I return on Sunday
- No sensible Malaysians visit(ed) my blog (the corollary of which is that no sensible Malaysians visit kennysia.com and
- Tomorrow.sg has less hits than 412 Precondition Failed and kennysia.com. Considering that Tomorrow.sg gets many hits a day (an average of 69,115 in October, 66,962 in September so doubtless more now), is a prime target for Singaporeans and has 652 readers on its RSS feed as of time of writing, whereas 412 Precondition Failed gets about 2,000 a day, I find this very unlikely.
- Although Singaporeans and Malaysians respond the same way to the parlor game, Malaysians are more vocal and willing to leave remarks, and Singaporeans are quiet, even online (seeing coffeeshops and taxi drivers though, not to mention online forums and blogs...)
All of which strike me as most unsatisfactory (on the level of Creation "Science").
Many of the Malaysians who posted showed themselves to be ignorant country bumpkins who are incapable of rational argument and tolerating those with different views from their own; they can't stand seeing an opinion they don't like, so they must ban it. The Singaporeans have so far proved (and will prove in the coming days) that they are not like that. Malaysians do seem particularly fond of ad hominem attacks, while most Singaporeans (those who bother commenting in the first place) at least address the issue in their rebuttals. And at least Singaporeans can take a joke, or don't turn into raving lunatics at half-jokes.
It is ironic that in defending the honour of their country, they just sadly proved my point. Irrational prejudice against all people of a certain group is contemptible, but rational prejudice against most people of a certain group certainly isn't; not all people rushing at you with parangs want to hack you open, but it's best to act as if they are (actually the person was practising his leaping parang kung-fu). Are we then prejudiced against people rushing at us with parangs? Not all people walking around your house at night trying to be quiet want to rob you, but it's best to act as if they are (actually the person dropped keys in your house is your uncle whom you didn't recognise in the dark, and didn't want to wake you up, being considerate). Are we then prejudiced against people walking around our houses at night? Shooting the parang-wielder and person walking around your house at night without challenging them first, of course, is unacceptable.
As a side note, I must say that it's interesting how some Singaporeans criticised me for allegedly damaging cross-strait relations and generally being obnoxious (I have my periods), but no Malaysians responded in similar manner on the other side.
Someone: no matter how seemly we may behave, our manner may still grate on the malaysians
see ah, we singaporeans are very snobby ah, if we act gracefully we are posing and acting high class ah
Someone else: you need to learn how to be more economical in your debates lah
so that you don't seem like a broken record
the more you stir the milo, the more it becomes well-stirred.
Me: really, it's been going on for decades
who am I to interfere with such a long-lived tradition?