Wee Shu-Min violated

Reproduced from The Straits Times.

Teen blogger counselled for her ‘elitist’ remarks
By Ken Kwek
24 October 2006

A TEENAGE blogger has found herself in the soup after comments she made in her online journal were criticised by many Internet users for being insensitive and elitist.

Raffles Junior College student Wee Shu Min, a daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim, sparked a heated debate on the Internet when she derided another blogger, Mr Derek Wee, for his views on the anxieties of Singapore workers.

Both Miss Wee’s father and the principal of RJC told The Straits Times yesterday that she had been counselled for using insensitive language.

Miss Wee, a second-year student on RJC’s Humanities Scholarship Programme, has since shut down her blog and apologised for her comments, though not directly to Mr Derek Wee.

Mr Wee, 35, a Singaporean who works for a multinational corporation, had written in his blog on Oct 12 that he was concerned about competition from foreign talent and the lack of job opportunities for older workers here.

He urged the Government to understand Singaporeans’ plight.

Last Thursday, Miss Wee responded to him on her blog, calling him old and unmotivated and said he was overly reliant on the Government.

In dismissing his views, she wrote:

‘Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?

‘There’s no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, ‘far too survival of the fittest’… If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable.’

She concluded by telling Mr Wee to ‘get out of my elite uncaring face’

Her attack was criticised by hundreds of Internet users, who accused her of being elitist, naive and insensitive to the lives of Singaporeans from humbler backgrounds.

Though she has shut down her blog, her entry has been replicated on many websites and the issue is hotly debated.

Technorati, a website that tracks the activity of blogs, yesterday listed ‘Wee Shu Min’ as its third most frequent search term.

Mr Wee Siew Kim said he stood by his daughter’s ‘basic point’, but added: ‘As a parent, I may not have inculcated the appropriate level of sensitivity, but she has learnt a lesson.’In his statement, RJC principal Winston Hodge said:

‘We are disappointed with Wee Shu Min’s comments on Mr Derek Wee’s posting on the Web. ‘We have counselled Shu Min and have conveyed to her the importance of sensitivity and empathy, qualities that she should have exercised in her response to Mr Wee.

‘We are confident that she has learnt from this experience and will be the wiser for it.’

A lesson learnt, says MP and dad Wee Siew Kim
Esteemed Mr Wee Siew Kim, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

“What she said did come across as insensitive. The language was stronger than what most people could take.

But she wrote in a private blog and I feel that her privacy has been violated. After all, they were the rantings of an 18-year-old among friends.

I think if you cut through the insensitivity of the language, her basic point is reasonable, that is, that a well-educated university graduate who works for a multinational company should not be bemoaning about the Government and get on with the challenges in life.

Nonetheless, I have counseled her to learn from it. Some people cannot take the brutal truth and that sort of language, so she ought to learn from it.

In our current desire to encourage more debated, especially through the Internet, our comments must be tempered with sensitivity.

I will not gag her, since she’s 18 and should be able to stand by what she says.

The new media of the Internet is such that if you don’t like what she has said, you have the right of rebuttal.

Hopefully, after the discussion, everyone will be the richer for it. As a parent, I may not have inculcated the appropriate level of sensitivity, but she has learnt a lesson, and it’s good that he has learnt it at such an early stage in life.”


Addendum 1: Some mole more photos of her here if anyone’s interested.

Addendum 2: I love it that you can just change the name field and agree with your own comments.

Addendum 3: More popular than Youtube. WOOT. Google should have bought her for $1.65 billion instead.